The Enterprise is ambushed by a creature with a pathological hatred of The Federation and all it stands for, leaving Kirk and the crew stranded on an alien planet.
My initial reservations about the Star Trek reboot mainly centred around its broad humour and reliance on superficial flash; something I felt was rectified by the darker themes and harder edge of the first sequel, Into Darkness. Unfortunately Star Trek Beyond feels very much like a step backwards in this regard. The opening sequence which is played very much for laughs could easily be mistaken for an outtake from Galaxy Quest – which was in fact, rather funnier – and the breathless, comic strip action never pauses to give any of the central characters to breathe, never mind interact or share any meaningful dialogue. Idris Elba is wasted behind a spiny, prosthetic mask that would look at home in an episode of Babylon 5 and the CGI saturated effects make the entire film look like an extended video game cut scene. Thankfully the chemistry between its stars – especially Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto – keep the film watchable, but director Justin Lin seems only capable of aping JJ Abrams swirling camera work and visual trickery rather than his skill for telling a coherent story.
On the whole, Beyond feels like a sci-fi fan boy cartoon strip rewrite of Star Trek Insurrection, but with the more interesting and adult themes glaring in their absence.