I’m spoiling everything, be warned. Star Trek: Into Darkness

I liked JJ Abrams first ST movie. I was primed for STAR TREK: Into Darkness. I was disappointed. Not all the way through, but by the end it had tanked. And it only gets worse when I think about it.
First, the plot: Kirk gets caught violating the Prime Directive (which apparently bans even averting planetary destruction) and reduced to First Office under Christopher Pike. When Benedict Cumberpatch arranges a terrorist attack on a records facility, the Captains and first officers gather for a confab and Kirk realizes this is standard operating procedure—and sure enough Cumberpatch strikes again. Pike dies, Kirk’s first action saves most of the others and Kirk’s back in charge of the Enterprise. Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) reveals the killer is hiding on the Klingon homeworld and sends the Enterprise to nuke him with photon torpedoes.
After Spock convinces Kirk they should bring him in for trial (infuriating one conservative), an away team goes down, gets almost killed by the Klingons until saved by Cumberpatch. He reveals himself to be Khan (yep the Khan) and surrenders to prevent firing the torpedoes—which it turns out contain his fellow genengineered superhumans in cryo.
Khan reveals Marcus thawed him out of cold sleep in the belief humanity had gotten too soft and a race of sociopaths could win the inevitable war Marcus hoped to provoke with the Klingons. Oh, and Marcus has built a dreadnought class starship, which now attacks the Enterprise. Khan and Kirk team up against Marcus (helped by his daughter Carol), then Khan turns on Kirk to free his people (after which he’ll begin a mass genocide against ordinary humans). In a role reversal of Wrath of Khan, Kirk dies restarting the Enterprise engines, Spock screams “KHAAAAAN” and then goes to hunt down Khan, who having failed to get his people back, plans to smash the dreadnought into Starfleet HQ. Bones discovers Khan’s healing-factor blood can revive Kirk, Spock captures Khan (who goes back into cold sleep with the others) and a resurrected Kirk warns us against militarism.
The minor problem in this is a shit-ton of plot-holes. Why does Khan hide out on the Klingon world? How is the Klingons are oblivious to federation starships on the very edge of contested space? How come Starfleet doesn’t notice starships dueling inside the solar system?
A bigger problem is the decision to remake Wrath of Khan at all.The whole point of launching a new timeline is to do something different: I had no problem with the use of Khan per se, but the blatant knocking off of key plot points from WoK was incredibly annoying, rather than amusing. And pointless: I could seriously contemplate Spock dying in the original (there was, after all, no guarantee we’d get an ST III) but Kirk in the new series? No way. And alt.Spock’s pain after two movies with Kirk pales compares to Kirk watching Spock die after they’ve known each other 20 years (plus Spock’s death in WoK tied into the theme of Kirk finally accepting Kobashi Maru—that sometimes he couldn’t save everyone).
And then there’s Cumberpatch. Fans have legitimately complained about taking a nonwhite guy (judging from the name) played by a Mexican actor and turning him into a white guy (there’s also complaints that Dr. Marcus has gone from the woman who built the Genesis device to the woman who gives us an underwear shot). It’s a valid point, but I admit I was more annoyed by his performance. He sneers, he talks down to people and that’s about it. Even when he talks about saving his people, there’s no real warmth. It’s not a very interesting performance (certainly less fun than Montalban’s swaggering ubermensch).
And while it’s a minor point by comparison, referencing the original Eugenics Wars was a bad idea. Because in this timeline they still took place in the 20th century and in case you haven’t noticed, that didn’t happen. That totally dragged me out of the film.
Maybe some people are right and in this series, all the even-numbered ones will suck.


Filed under Movies

3 responses to “I’m spoiling everything, be warned. Star Trek: Into Darkness

  1. Pingback: Star Trek—or is it Time Trek? Time-travel movies (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: It’s judgment day all over again: Terminator Genisys (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Cooks, confederates and Kirk: Movies viewed (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.