Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
The second film in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, helmed by director JJ Abrams (Super 8, Lost), is even more campy, all-guns-blazing, sci-fi fun than the first.
Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are back as Captain Kirk and Spock, two halves of the quintessential sci-fi bromance that heroically helm the Starship Enterprise as we know and love it. There are quips, raised eyebrows (or just weird eyebrows in Spock’s case), fundamental misunderstandings of human emotion by the half-Vulcan and staccato decision-making by the rookie captain.
Also returning are regular crew members Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Sulu (John Cho), with many of the film’s laughs provided by Dr Bones (Karl Urban), who spends most of the film growling and scowling in the face of Kirk’s reckless leadership skills, and the bumbling but steadfast Scotty (Simon Pegg), who’s accent only vaguely resembles Scottish.
The plot is of the twisty variety as a series of catastrophes (set in motion by Noel Clarke in a brief but significant cameo) plague Starfleet, all at the behest of the mysterious John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), apparently “one of their own”. After persuading Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) to let him pursue Harrison to an uninhabited part of the Klingon planet Qo’noS, Kirk et al head off undercover to retrieve Harrison and avenge the attacks. To go any further in explaining the plot would spoil several interesting reveals. Needless to say, newcomer Dr Carol Marcus (Alice Eve), daughter of the Admiral, has a role to play outside of fulfilling the gratuitous nudity aspect of the film.
Pine and Quinto have already proved themselves by perfectly stepping into the shoes left by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, and continue to do so in the second installment of Abrams’s Trek, while Cumberbatch is a perfect foil as the villain of the piece. He should be first choice for the evil-but-is-he character in all films from now on. There isn’t that much for Saldana to do other than emote at Quinto as a girlfriend who wishes her other half cared more and logic-ed less and speak a bit of Klingon, but the supporting cast do a good job in carrying the audience through a rollercoaster of a plot which, while signposted in a way that makes battleaxes appear subtle, can be confusing at times.
With enough elbow nudges and winks to please long-time fans, or anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Trek, a Klingon appearance (who are bound to form a large part of the franchise to come) and a lot of action-packed CGI, Star Trek Into The Darkness is pure, unadulterated fun.