Twitter Plot Summary: The crew of the Enterprise return for another trip around the galaxy, taking in foes old and new. And old.
Five Point Summary:
1. Red planet, very white aliens. Very nice.
2. A lot of death.
3. Klingons! Awesome.
4. That’s a convenient place to leave a Tribble.
There was much promise in the rebooted Star Trek continuity, the possibility of doing brand new stories and not relying on the history of the TV and movie continuity that began in 1966. Into Darkness is a thoroughly enjoyable romp that maintains the sense of adventure that the 1960s Star Trek managed to convey, but it ties too closely into events that have been seen before and was not helped by such a ridiculous amount of secrecy leading to its release that fans were ultimately left disappointed in the choice of villain. With that said, Into Darkness does maintain pace with its predecessor and adheres strictly to the mantra of providing pure unadulterated entertainment to its audience.
Into Darkness has a story that holds up perfectly whilst you’re watching it, but doesn’t stand up to detailed scrutiny when you think about it afterwards. There are a number of plotting and logical inconsistencies that are liable to cause a Vulcan-esque raised eyebrow or two for anyone that cares at all about that sort of thing. It does itself no favours by heavily referencing Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – what happened to our bright new future of fresh and original stories? Otherwise though there is the now-expected amount of peril and narrative twists to keep the audience on its toes, and it revels in providing a bright and primary coloured universe in which its story can take place, albeit with a number of darker references for good measure.
There are at least a sizeable number of references and homages to the Star Trek universe, so fans are well served in this respect. Abrams returns to his use of excessive lens flare, albeit to a slightly smaller extent than previously (thankfully), and remains a dynamic presence behind the camera as it barely stays still for longer than a few moments.
No favours are done by including a brief but incredibly gratuitous shot of Alice Eve down to her underwear (for reasons of balance there should probably be a shot of Chris Pine in a similar state of undress), and there’s a moment where Uhura’s backside is given its own starring moment as she walks away from the shuttlecraft, but apart from these minor slips there’s nothing here that shouldn’t be there. There’s even the added bonus of seeing the Klingons at last, who have been redesigned to appear even more gritty and violent in their choice of attire and facial markings. The original Klingons – those with head ridges and not the ones with bushy eyebrows from the 1960s – look positively cuddly in comparison.
Its photon torpedoes may not quite hit their targets on every occasion, but it gets near enough the mark for it to not matter so much in the grand scheme of things. It may be narratively incoherent at times but Into Darkness once again demonstrates that being fun for the audience is more important than detailed plotting that requires a degree in advanced screenwriting to understand. Plus there’s the added bonus of marvelling at Pike’s ever-growing sideburns. Them’s impressive.