When a rogue Federation agent launches a terrorist attack on the highest echelons of its hierarchy, the Enterprise is ordered into Klingon space to terminate him.
J. J. Abrams turns his revisionist hand to the most beloved of the Star Trek films and does so with some aplomb. Gone are the cheesy trappings of the era in which it was made to be replaced by a more hard-edged, contemporary feel that thankfully tempers some of the more overly juvenile absurdities of the first outing. The rather suspect re-imagining of the Klingons aside, the production design is immaculate and the sequence on the Klingon home world where Benedict Cumberbatch gets Matrix on their asses is gorgeous to look at and probably the best part of the film. Add a darker streak that brings shades of grey to the “Space Hippy Empire” that The Federation had become and some truly spectacular set pieces and the feel of the franchise becomes a little more layered and adult. The greater excesses of Chris Pine’s irritating, frat boy persona are toned down and the scene that switches Kirk and Spock’s roles from the original story lacks the emotional resonance of its inspiration, but aids the three way bonding between the pair and the audience immensely. The plot is a little generic and predictable, the tribble resurrection in particular feeling like a bit of a cheap trick but at least it spares us from The Search For Kirk.
Into Darkness isn’t perfect, but it’s the kind of rip-roaring boy’s own space adventure that they just don’t seem to make any more and I for one am glad to see its like return.