Today, we are fortunate to live in a world without intolerance and I am taking this opportunity to come out. When all the other boys at school wanted to play football outside, I’d be at home, trying on Starfleet uniforms in the mirror in secret and drawing epic space-battles. I’m a Trekkie and I’m proud. Therefore, expect an impartial review of the latest instalment in the Abramverse (as us connoisseurs call it), Star Trek Into Darkness. Set phasers to thrill.
The crew of the Enterprise, now firmly at the helm, returns to save the galaxy from impending doom! Starfleet is under threat with an enemy hiding within its ranks. Only Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) et al. can set and save the Federation as we know it. After four years in waiting, expect a widely liberal use of lens-flares and indelible space battles to ensue.
With the prequel having earned Abrams the ownership of the Star Trek franchise like a Starfleet captain’s pips, he has taken more liberties with the universe to explore. For the most part, this is done with distinction, whether it be intertextual references in the dialogue from its predecessors, or the inclusion of familiar characters. Those familiar with the Star Trek universe will particularly enjoy such moments as well as adorn a smug smile while they fly over the heads of others. It is also clear that the entourage are more comfortable in their reprising roles. Simon Pegg especially deserves high praise for his return as Scotty, having assimilated the mannerisms and traits of the original character yet still contributing something unique to the role. Needless to say, Benedict Cumberbatch masterfully performs as the elusive villain, John Harrison. Dark, sinister and ruthless, he carries the weight that drives the narrative ahead.
Klingons are indeed on the starboard bow. Their introduction to the newly-born franchise is exquisitely incorporated into the narrative. Moreover, the reimagining of the iconic Klingon appearance with a well-designed version of the infamous Bird of Prey to boot is exemplary as well as loyal to the source material. Unfortunately, their appearance is short-lived, much like any opportunity for solid development of the Abramsverse, and we are left begging for more.
However, I could not help but feel that I had just seen more of the same without much development upon the simplistic foundations of the previous film. Hopefully, STID is the second instalment of a series of Star Trek features. Not simply because I have an addiction to feed, but it also came across as the Iron Man 2 of a trilogy, with the structure resembling a long episode of a series. This isn’t necessarily a negative trait – character and universe development is replaced with beautiful high-octane thrills — but the heavy action occasionally undermines the narrative, making it difficult to spot the finale and causes it to suffer from an anti-climax.
Yet, for me, this sequel isn’t quite worthy of the title “Into Darkness.” Although stacking an impressive body count through the carnage, the overt action is so casual that the devastation witnessed never really sinks in. The moments conceived to provoke the audience with emotion are too fleeting and sometimes feel lacking. In fact, I would dare to claim that the first instalment was far darker with its infamous tear-jerking opening and planet genocide. This sequel is less Star Trek Into Darkness and more Star Trek Into Badassery.