This second outing for the rebooted Starship Enterprise tries to cram in so much intrigue, epic villains, action, romance and comedy that it almost comes apart at the seams. Cue Scotty wailing “She cannae take it, Cap’n!”
What begins as a peek into the future (London, 2259 AD) and a terrorist outrage eventually comes to encapsulate the building blocks of the first film and the existing dynamics of the various established characters.
But despite attempts to expand on Kirk’s ego and hubris, Spock’s internal conflicts with the human half of his psyche and Uhura’s growing feelings for the untouchable Vulcan, Star Trek Into Darkness comes down to one thing only: its tremendous central villain.
Enter Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison, an individual with his own personal war to wage on Starfleet. But Harrison is a maniac with a conscience.
Not so the high-ranking admiral (Peter Weller) who intends to foment a war with the Klingons. Director JJ Abrams succeeds in delivering a stupendous sci-fi extravaganza overloaded with fx-driven action setpieces.
But eventually the gunplay and high-kicking fight sequences detract from what should be an intelligent consideration on the question of what makes a terrorist.
Weller’s militaristic patriot, Cumberbatch’s driven anti-hero, Chris Pine’s wayward and deeply flawed James T Kirk. All of them have the screen presence to count for more than one-dimensional stereotypes. And they each avoid such stigma – just.