Star Trek Into Darkness Review: You’ll Never Want to Blink

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J.J. Abrams has created a breathless sequel that has just enough humor and likable characters to be considered light.

Star Trek Into Darkness hits the ground running. Literally, the opening scene is a foot chase. We catch up with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Dr. “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban) running from alien savages through a luscious forest underneath an active volcano. More of a cold open than relevant to the plot, the scene sets the stage once again for a fun filled romp in space with these classic characters.

Through the sequence we meet up with all the characters we fell in love with in the 2009 reboot. I was quickly reminded of one of the things I admired about the previous entry. The daring nature of how Abrams cast the crew of the Enterprise.

Chris Pine was practically unknown. Zachary Quinto had yet to make the leap to feature films. Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana were not household names. John Cho, Simon Pegg, and Anton Yelchin are comedians for the most part. It’s a ragtag group that makes for one of the most diverse and fun to watch casts in any big Hollywood franchise right now.

Going from the opening scene, we move to London, where the villain, who shall remain nameless for this review, attacks Starfleet archives in order to enact vengeance on the members who ruined his life in the past.

Benedict Cumberbatch puts down a terrifying, low British growl to bring to life the best villain we’ve seen on screen yet in 2013.

But the shocking amount of success that this sequel achieves must be attributed to Abrams. The director is both and artist and a geek, the perfect combination for a film like this. He makes few, if any mistakes in the storytelling, which is nothing short of masterful. There isn’t a second you won’t care about what is going on on screen.

That could be attributed to how much action is in Into Darkness, or perhaps how well the big set pieces are constructed. A volcano, deep space flying, and a crash landing are among the best special effects sequences seen in the last decade.

It could also be attributed to the sharpness of the script, going darker than its predecessor but never afraid to throw a few punchlines our way.

Or maybe it’s the root of the story, the friendship between Kirk and Spock, and how they compliment each other as big screen heroes that really struck a chord.

Call it how you see it, but the whole package is pretty darn impressive. You’ll find yourself laughing with and caring for the characters, making the action scenes have that much more weight. It is a dark film but never not a fun one.

In short, I loved the hell out of Star Trek Into Darkness. It’s the reason that summer blockbusters exist. Whether the characters and stories of this universe are new or old to you, there is plenty to enjoy in this film. As for Abrams, this is not the final frontier. Next he will tackle Star Wars Episode VII, and after this film, fans need not worry. The franchise is in more the capable hands. But fingers crossed that he comes back for the third Trek. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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