Despite its grim title, this sequel to J.J. Abrams really, really good, but not quite great reboot of the Star Trek franchise is going to be an absolute joyride for a lot of viewers. The writing has been knocked up a few notches; though Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) still remain at the films center, the rest of the crew has been given more to do this time; and most important, Into Darkness is truly a valentine to Star Trek fans, especially those who have been into it since the original TV show. The film is filled with little shout-outs to us. A couple of times the script just walks up and says hello to hardcore fans of the show and, to a lesser degree, the first films. Newcomers to the Star Trek universe wont realize whats going on, while certain references will give big smiles to those in the know.

The story takes place in 2259. No, thats not a star date, its the year. Some of it happens in San Francisco, some in London, some out in space, the final frontier. Spock is and always will be a stick-to-the-rules guy. Kirk is a freewheeling leader who does what needs to be done to get things done. Someone utters the words acting Captain Sulu.

Actually, theres so much going on in this movie, Im going to let loose with four lines of dialogue, totally out of context.

Were defenseless, sir!

Beam me out!

What are you doing with that Tribble? (I told you there were references.)

Dammit, Im a doctor, not a ... (Fill in the blank.)

Star Trek Into Darkness starts the way great action movies should start, with a lot of action. Kirk and Bones are literally on the run, Spock in a cool copper colored suit is busy putting his life on the line. Interplanetary rules are broken, souls are bared, fast banter is volleyed, and attitudes are very much on display, as are relationships. The romantic one between Spock and Uhura has become serious; swinging single Kirk is revealed to have a thing for alien females yes, thats plural (you can tell theyre aliens because they have tails!).

Star Trek has always been famous for making its stories the most important piece of the puzzle. Theres no exception here, and Into Darkness story really kicks into gear with the introduction of the villainous John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch, British TVs current Sherlock Holmes). Initially we dont know much about this guy except that hes responsible for what would generally be termed a terrorist attack on a major city, and that he is, according to the folks in Star Fleet, one of our own.

There are spectacular visuals to match the wild action, and there are moments of quiet, serious talk that nicely complement perfect segments of comic relief. Best of all, the writers have learned an important lesson from 2009s Star Trek. This time theyve made sure to stay away from anything resembling the time-space continuum business of that film that had even some of the most diehard fans wondering what the heck was going on.

Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.


Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof; directed by J.J. Abrams

With Chris Pike, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch

Rated PG-13