Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Review

I don’t even know how I’d like to start off this entry. There’s just so much I want to say at once, and I have no idea how I’d like to go about it. Hang on, give me a second or two to think. In the meantime, here’s the poster that I think does the movie the best justice, out of all the ones that I’m aware are out.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) movie poster

Okay, here’s how I’ll start: I have not been taken so much by surprise by a film since Inception (2010), and it’s hard to believe that it’s only been three years since that movie, because I feel like it’s been a lot longer than that. If it were possible and if it wasn’t weird to do so, I could just kiss J.J. Abrams right now. This man has not only made a solid sequel, he has pulled off the rarity of the following: he created a sequel that’s arguably better than the original AND created something that I think lived up to and beyond the hype around it. I was in no way disappointed. It is most unusual for me to go into a movie and come out floored and angry that the blu-ray dvd is not available for my shelf right this minute. In addition, I walked in with very high expectations, and he just smashed them and raised the bar higher. I am desperate for another sequel, and if the rumors are true, there will be a third one coming in 2016. Another flipping three years, but I can wait. Oh yes I can wait, that is if J.J. Abrams stays on board and he makes something as amazing as this film. If Abrams jumps ship, the next person will have enormous shoes to fill, and the only people I can actually see up to the task is probably Christopher Nolan or Joss Whedon. Anyway, this is the longest intro I’ve allowed on this blog before the cut leading to the rest of the entry, but I think this film absolutely deserves it.

By the way, J.J. Abrams, if you’re reading this, I just want to say: I ******* love you and thank you SO MUCH for bringing back such positive feelings of nostalgia from my childhood. Trekkie FOR LIFE.

I was incredibly skeptical walking into this movie. Remember, I just watched Iron Man 3 (2013), and I hadn’t walked out of the film feeling as if I had been struck by lightning. With Star Trek Into Darkness, I absolutely did. In fact, I’m not sure if I said it before in this entry—and at the moment I’m not going to bother to check because I seriously want to write everything out before I forget—but I did say in at least one of my many spastic post-movie tweets that I haven’t grinned this hard or felt this boosted after a movie since Inception. Abrams has, just like Nolan did for me in 2010, renewed my faith once again in cinema. There is light at the end of the long, dreary tunnel.

This movie has proven to me several things:

  1. It is possible (thank the stars, no pun intended) for a sequel to be as good as, if not better than the original.
  2. Well-made 3D effects can be utilized outside of James Cameroon’s Avatar (2009).
  3. There are filmmakers out there that just stand out from the rest both in terms of imagination and talent. Seriously, wow.
  4. High expectations can be met and surpassed, and as a result, I personally feel like “that girl” that finally meets that guy that meets her (what other people would tell her) “high standards.” They exist. Never lower that bar. Of course, don’t raise it too high either or the disappointment will never end, but standards are absolutely okay.

If you’re thinking about watching this movie in IMAX 3D, I say yes. Absolutely see this in IMAX 3D. Granted, the sets, actors, and props do not pop out as much as Avatar did, but enough does stick out that it’s so worth it. Watch the other resolutions if you’re going to multiple viewings, as I will most definitely be. I already made room in my schedule to see this twice more at the very least, and soon. I may end up seeing this as much if not more than the time I went to see Inception numerous times while it was still on the big screen. Some may say that’s wasting money, but I say it’s supporting solid entertainment. I will support the living daylights out of anyone who can make me feel how I felt tonight from their creative work. Also, for films like this, the DVD will undoubtedly be great, but nothing will beat the theater experience for it.

Now that I’ve sung my high praises, I will take a step back and say this. I know people are going to disagree with me. It always happens. I know the nasty parodies will come, and I also know people will nitpick and knock on every little detail they can just to say there’s something wrong with it and that it doesn’t live up to the hype. Fine. There will always be naysayers to everything. However, I will stand strong in my opinion on this as I have with Inception. I loved it, there were scenes that touched my heart, and I even shed a few tears—not just for the emotional bits, but because I thought it was beautiful. I am the shy sort, so I never feel compelled to clap after a film. I didn’t even clap for Inception. Not to say I wasn’t moved, but I was able to contain any potential outburst. For this though, I did. I clapped my heart out. The recurring cast and addition of Benedict Cumberbatch was absolutely spot-on. We get to see more of characters like McCoy, Chekov, Sulu, and Scotty that do not seem forced, and it’s actually refreshing how much bigger their roles are in this installment.  Star Trek “purists” (of which I admit I am not one) I have no doubt will absolutely hate this film because it’s not the original Star Trek.  I find irony in this only because it’s a science fiction franchise, so shouldn’t its followers be open to progress, differences and change?  Then again, I’m a diehard fan of certain movies/series myself, so I can understand the sentiment.

Of course, for those who say I’ve been blinded by emotion, I tap into, as Spock would say, my logical or “Vulcan” half. This movie wasn’t 100% perfect, but that’s to be expected with anything. There are plot holes, cheesy moments that might make some people cringe, and moments where people might roll their eyes and think that it was cliché, predictable, anti-climactic, and/or a little too much “movie logic” for their liking. As I said though, there will always be naysayers, and I could really care less when it comes to this film.  For those who think I am giving this film too much credit, let’s agree to disagree.  I respect your stance and I think I can understand where you are coming from, and I only ask that I be extended the same courtesy.

In my opinion, there were only two main parts in the movie that bothered me at all. The rest of the “issues” I found are quite minor in comparison, and they weren’t so glaring to me that it ruined the experience. It was more like “well, it would have been nice if they fleshed that out little more, but oh well, not the end of the world.” If those scenes had been developed, I could see a half hour to an hour more of footage for this film; something that I wouldn’t have minded, but I’m not upset they didn’t happen. Anyway, the main issues I had was with the beginning—because it was on the slow side of things and not nearly as epic as the 2009 opener, and Alice Eve’s Carol. I don’t know if it was her acting or just her character. Who knows, if there’s a Star Trek 3—which I so hope there is—she might grow on me like Uhura did in this film. I hadn’t cared for Uhura much in the 2009 version.

You know what? Just to put it out there, if they tried to do a spin-off reboot series (even a mini one) with this cast for television, I absolutely wouldn’t complain. I think it’s feasible; it would just take a lot of dedication and work.

Anyhow, now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, I am now going to take another step back and go through what would, on my more typical entries, happen where I talk about my experience, maybe walk through a few scenes of the movie, and any post-film thoughts. In other words, let’s start again from the beginning.

Now (time-zone technicality-speaking) this all took place yesterday. I started the day waking up two hours earlier than usual for work because I was so antsy to watch the movie today. I mean, I’ve waited four years for this film to come out. In fact, I hadn’t expected a sequel at all until last year—I actually hadn’t been very diligent in chasing down sequel roomers immediately after the 2009 version. It was a solid effort, and I didn’t think Abrams was going to work on another. Boy was I glad when I found out I was so wrong. I happened to find out by chance after I decided to re-watch the 2009 film in ’11, and then I suddenly decided to type the keywords “sequel to Star Trek 2009,” “rumors,” and “J.J. Abrams” into Google. The rest is history—I had been counting down ever since.

Somewhere in the midst of my waiting, I discovered (also completely by chance), Benedict Cumberbatch and the equally delightful Martin Freeman in BBC’s Sherlock series. I am so glad I stumbled upon it on one of my rainy day browsing sessions on Netflix stream and gave the series a chance. I look forward to the next season of that amazing show.

After work, I made it to the theater in record time—four hours prior to the show. Fitting, since it’s been four years since the ’09 film. I had dinner, got frozen yogurt at 16 Candles for dessert, and then I went to the theater and snagged my seat in my favorite place a full hour early. I am proud to say that I was the very first one inside the theater I attended for the fan sneak event. I also, for the very first time that I can remember, took five bathroom breaks prior to the first preview. I wanted to make completely certain that I would not be distracted even in the slightest by nature’s call during the movie.

During the previews, I was already on the edge of my seat. I was so nervous and my brain was swirling with questions—was I about to be disappointed? Would Benedict Cumberbatch actually not pull through? Would Uhura be a giant roadblock between the Kirk-Spock bromance?  There were so many other questions too, but thankfully I was not disappointed.  I really appreciated J.J. Abrams’ addition to a franchise that I’ve loved since growing up watching Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generaton, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise with my beloved grandfather as a little girl (God rest his wonderful soul).

Cumberbatch played his role as if he were Sherlock’s psychotic side out of control, unleashed, and in space. It was just fantastic. He really stole the show, especially with all the fight scenes he was involved in. Any time there was a fight scene going on and Cumberbatch was involved, it was amazing visually.

The bromance between Pine and Quinto was believable and just powerful. I don’t even want to say more than that. This is not a movie you want spoiled, nor do I wish to spoil it. I truly believe it’s that worth it.

The story paced itself wonderfully. The movie really builds up and never backpedals in terms of intensity. The second half is more powerful than the first half, and I also like to split the ending into two halves. The first half is fantastic, and the ending was phenomenal. It was the perfect cutoff that made me groan and want more right this minute, but it was also perfect in a sense that it didn’t feel at all final. It made me want to demand for a third movie, and then have Abrams consider going Joss Whedon on us and just turning it into a television series. Now wouldn’t that be something? Big screen actors riding off their momentum and going TV. I would stay loyal to and buy that series for sure.

Another fantastic thing that came out of this experience was the glow-in-the-dark poster that I received at the start of the film that I had not been expecting. I am glossing it, framing it, and should I ever meet Abrams in person, I am taking it to him to get it signed along with whatever DVD’s I own. On that note, after having seen this, I can’t remember the name of the person he showed the unfinished film to before they passed, but oh my GOODNESS I can only imagine how epic the raw footage must have been for that person. Seriously, I had given Abrams kudos then when I had heard about it, but now I give him the same and even more so now that I have seen it.

By the end, as I said, I clapped very hard and I left the theater with a huge grin on my face and in the best mood I’ve felt in a while. He’s really breathed life back into my creative spirit, and I only hope I can write and create something as amazing. Abrams really did a fantastic job in rebooting the series, and I bet Nimoy is very happy he’s been a part of both projects, even in just a cameo role. I know I would be, if I were him.

I am so mad this is not blu-ray ready right now. I really want to walk up to Mr. Abrams and be like the DVD. PLEASE sir!! And do feel fee to create some more while you’re at it!

For the first time on this blog, I am going to give two ratings for this movie. I am going to give my usual final verdict according to the “guidelines” I’ve set for my blog. The other is my own personal rating, how I feel about it. The score isn’t too different, but I thought I’d just do it anyway.



I’d give it more pluses, even. Anyway, I just threw in an extra one there for the sake of giving Mr. Abrams bonus props and a—once again—pretty please for more.

Drove home feeling very energized, and I thought it was perfect that my iPod playlist reached My Chemical Romance’s “Famous Last Words” song. My latest music addiction, and it was definitely the perfect “fight music” for the ride home after such a phenomenal movie.

I realize it will probably be a while before I see another movie that’s pumped me up as much as this one did, but boy do I hope more filmmakers kick things up into high gear.

Now I’m one of those people that’s admittedly more of a Trekkie and not one of those who crosses fandoms. I am more of a lightly casual Star Wars fan, but hey, seeing what Abrams has done with Star Trek, you can bet that I’ll be giving his interpretation of Star Wars a try. Who knows, he might make me more of a fan.

It was an absolute joy and pleasure to plug out this entry. It’s about 1am where I’m at, I’ve got work coming tomorrow, but honestly? I’m not even the least bit tired. I almost went to sleep on it, but I’m glad I decided to be stubborn and took care of this now, while everything is still mostly fresh. I think this would be a far tamer entry had I gone through with waiting until tomorrow. So glad I decided against it.

I conclude by saying thank you, J.J. Abrams. You, along with Nolan and NBC Chicago Fire‘s Derek Haas have kicked me out of my recent writer’s block slump and I am going to work harder than ever to create a (hopefully) strong, creative work myself! Until next time, then!

12 responses to “Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Review

  1. So, I remember the original STar Trek TV show with Mr. SHatner, AND the Next Generation show with Capt. baldy… and I have good memories of them both, but I’m not a HUGE STC fan… but now I am VERY curious!

      • While I admire Rae’s enthusiasm for the film – I was less than thrilled by the film. What I can tell you is two sides of the same coin –

        At times you will be absolutely stunned by how marvelously Kirk and Spock (Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto) not only resemble Shatner and Nimoy. And sound like the originals, but also how they react physically as they did so many years ago on TV.

        Ditto for Kal Urban as Bones.

        At the same time – this was distracting. Very distracting.

        Plusses for the New hardware, new costunes, great set designs, and thanks for the huge sums of money spent.

        Minus for Just 5 minutes of the Klingons. Only one Klingon spoke. A high council board room meeting lifted directly from Godfather 3, and a fight on top of a flying craft that was no different than Bond fightiing on top of a railroad car.

        Good executuion but the story didn’t resonate with me at all.

        Thanks for your enthusiasm, Rae.

      • I’m not sure if you meant the last line of your comment to be sarcastic. Aside from that, yes, you make valid points in your cons list, however, as far as the Klingons, that didn’t bother me because I didn’t think they were meant to be as big a focus this time around. Perhaps in a third movie (if that ever happens), they might take more center stage, now that Khan’s shaken things up a bit. Assuming there will be a third movie, in that context, I don’t think this sequel was actually so bad as a transition.

        I also agree about the resemblances, and probably why I enjoyed it so much. Again, I am open-minded to reinterpretations, so that didn’t bother me at all. I think if their acting hadn’t been as true to the original, then I think I might have actually found that more of a problem.

        Depending on what you were expecting (if at all) before watching the film, as I said in my entry I can see why people wouldn’t like it. In that same vein, it wouldn’t surprise me if those same people disliked the previous installment as well.

        In my opinion, I have a feeling those who consider themselves true, hardcore Trek fans are not going to like this film, or any other film/TV interpretation for that matter because it’s always going to be lacking something. And I don’t mean that as a bad thing; I think that’s just the reality. So many different types of people in this world, differing opinions just comes with the territory. Yes, I also agree there are ideas here we’ve seen before in other films, but these days I feel like you can say that about pretty much every film. The one downside in putting stories on any kind of record, be it in word, film, or some other format, is that it’s all going to sound the same after a while. It is possible for multiple people to come up with the same or similar enough ideas. At that point, I think it’s more about how the story is told, though of course the story being told is also important, and I think Star Trek Into Darkness does it well enough here.

        Anyway, thank you for the thought-out reply, Mike. I always encourage those with differing opinions to speak up on this blog, as it can provide food for thought for other readers as well as myself. Hope to hear from you again on other entries.

  2. Rae, that last line was not intended to be sarcastic – apologies if it came out that way. From where I sit – I will always commend a heartfelt and sincere review. Even if I may disgaree with the conclusions or opinions. Reviewing a film is easy, but being credible is something else. What I meant – you put a lot of effort, and energy into this review – as well as enthusiasm, and that is why I thanked you.


    • Ah okay, I wasn’t sure because it came after all the cons you listed, haha. Anyway, regardless you made some good points worth thinking about. Do you have a review up for this movie yet? If you do, I’ll be sure to check it out.

  3. Sadly, I don’t think a TV show with this cast or universe will happen, because I think Paramount and CBS are squabbling over money and whatever else.Paramount owns the movies, and CBS owns the shows as far as I know. Sucks.

    It especially sucks, because I said the exact same thing to myself after watching Into Darkness: I want a show with THIS CAST.

    I guess I’m an anomaly, because Star Trek is near and dear to my heart (TOS and TNG mostly), and this was awesome. To your point about die-hard fans, I don’t think it’s a matter of being a fan of the old stuff so much as it is having a closed mind and just being plain old stubborn. If the only criticism you can offer is that it’s not the exact same thing that was made over 20 years ago, then I’m pretty sure your criticism is invalid.

    I felt pretty much like you did while going home. I was pumped up for a while. I really don’t like the ’09 Trek, so I was super happy that Abrams decided to make up for it.

    • Yeah, good point. There’s also the chance that the actors wouldn’t want to be on board for something long-term either.

      Haha, yeah, I’m with you there. On the one hand, I think some things are probably left untouched. On the other hand, if a decent reboot/remake can be done, I personally don’t see why not.

      I actually really enjoyed the ’09 Star Trek, which is why I was worried this one wouldn’t be as good. However, now I can easily say that I liked this release better than the first. Still like the ’09 movie, but I like this one twice as much. By the way, did you like the subtle parallels between the two? I’m not even sure if they were intentional, quite honestly. I thought that one scene where Kirk is making the climb, it reminded me a lot of the Hemsworth scene in the ’09 opening. And when Spock kicks major behind, it reminded me of the scene with the younger Spock fighting his bullies.

      My favorite scene had to be…how do I say this without spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it yet? I guess the climb and the conversation after with Spock. Hopefully you know what I mean? Hahaha. Anyway, have you reviewed this on your blog? If you have, I’ll be sure to check it out.

      • Well, when the climb and the conversation with Spock was happening, I was thinking of the movie it’s paying homage to. That’s what made it work especially well for me. I’m about to watch the ’09 one again, so I’ll look for those parallels.

        Yea, I reviewed it for a blog I contribute to.

        I’m going to try and enjoy the ’09 Trek as much as I can now that I have a better idea of where the characters are going.

  4. Pingback: Star Trek: Into Darkness Review: It… Has… TRIBBLES!!!!!!!! | Rorschach Reviews·

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