It’s been a four year wait with a lot of questions/concerns buzzing through fans’ busy little brains, but for Kirk/Spock shippers (including those who value them as platonic friends) we had one additional worry: With the introduction of Spock/Uhura, will the intimacy of Spock and Kirk’s relationship be diminished in some way? Downplayed? Transferred to Uhura?
At long last, we have our answer.
And that answer is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
The Setup: After a direct attack on Starfleet higher ups, your precious babies go on a mission to take down the man responsible.
The Film: If the first movie had seemingly insurmountable hurdles to leap over in terms of pleasing old fans while snagging new ones, the second one had to jump them all over again. So they did. Repeatedly. For two hours and twelve minutes.
The must-spotlight-an-entire-crew-without-trying-too-hard balancing act is, once again, deftly handled. There’s more emphasis on some than others, but no one is categorically ignored. And I need an amen for stepping up Uhura in particular. Frankly, I never thought she was purely ‘love interest fodder’ in the first one like most people did. Those naysayers/disappointed Uhura fans should be more than happy this time around. Girl is fabulous, relevant, and integral to the plot. A small amount of screen time dedicated to her understandable irritation at Spock does not, and should not, overshadow her greatness.
Then you have the highly anticipated, much hyped appearance of Benedict Cumberbatch as the main villain. Early reviews laud him as superb, and I have to friggin’ agree because holy shit is he menacing as fuck. Subtle, confident, incredibly powerful, his single-mindedness and ruthless tactics make him formidable enough to be daunting. Yes, even in the face of our Spectacular Array of Heroes. My only complaint with the entire movie is that I felt they ultimately pulled the punch his character could’ve had. Not by much, it may not even be noticeable, but something about it made me think this was more of a setup towards a great villain rather than the culmination. The good news is: if this is his setup then what in unholy hell could possibly be his payoff?
In terms of structure, there was literally never a dull moment. This thing will not let you go until the credits. Seriously. It is full tilt, fast paced, constantly developing movie gold. The beauty is cramming all of that dense greatness while simultaneously not overwhelming the viewer. Forget the passive, brainless action flick. In this film, you pay attention or get left in the dust. I’ve missed movies that demand attention like this, and I’m over the moon to find it here. Comedy, drama, shootouts, explosions, and (most importantly) a very tangible, emotional core is what puts STID on the upper echelon of the action/adventure genre.
The Slash: There will undoubtedly be at least a small following for Kirk/John. Of this I am certain. But we all know which ship is the star of the show here, and they are my babies. Where do I begin with my babies. The reboot followed a classic ‘hate turns to love’ storyline regarding Kirk and Spock’s relationship. As satisfying as it was, it did mean we got a movie where they wouldn’t even like or understand each other until the last thirty minutes. In the latest installment, their development goes so much further. The loyalty is there, the love is growing, the road to understanding is slowly starting to smooth out, the eye contact is ridiculous, and my girlfriend had to tell me not to squeeze her leg quite so hard. At the end of this development comes a heart-wrenching, agonizing resolution, cementing their bond once and for all time.
Where Star Trek takes them from enemies to friends, Into Darkness takes them from friends to Space Husbands.
The Verdict: I’m really two fans at heart, one of the old and one of the new. Both were tremendously satisfied. Do I have quibbles? Yes. It will forever bug me that Kirk is interpreted as an insatiable ladies man. Part of me will always wish this was a t.v. series so they had time to explore the sort of deep, philosophical questions TOS became known for. But you know, I’m over it. Every iteration takes and leaves things from the original, and they’ve taken more than they left. That’s all I ask, and the result is pretty damn wonderful.
Film Rating: 9.75/10
Slash Rating: 9/10