Other Media Review

Star Trek Into Darkness: A Review

B-

Title: Star Trek Into Darkness
Publication Info: 2013
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Star Trek Into Darkness posterThere are thousands of reviews of Star Trek Into Darkness out there, but I know you Bitches only have one burning question:  Is there smooching?

Well.  Of course James T. Kirk has a certain amount of casual sex, because he's James T. Kirk.  Fans of TOS (The Original Series) will be intrigued to note that a certain Dr. Carol Marcus shows up, and although there isn't time for more than light flirting in this movie, it looks like she'll be staying around.  Hmmmmm. 

The real romance is between Spock and Uhura.  It takes up maybe five minutes of screen time in a movie that is over two hours long – but these five minutes show how to do a grown-up romance between people who are flawed, but also intelligent and mature.  I'm not saying you should see this movie just to get your romance hit, but I am saying that the little romance we get is wonderful.

Spock leaning over Uhura's shoulder at her deskThe last Star Trek movie established Spock and Uhura as a couple.  Seriously, every romance writer should watch these two in action to see how it is done.  First of all, at the very beginning of the movie, Spock says something very Vulcan-ish, and Uhura shoots him this look of total love, humor, and acceptance.  There was more romance in this quick, wordless glance than in some entire romantic comedies.  Then, they have a fight because of a misunderstanding – not a stupid one, but one which is almost inevitable given their different backgrounds.  Then, guess what – they talk about it.  Granted, Uhura drags Kirk into it, which is just wrong, but Uhura deserves a little back up at that point.  They have an actual honest conversation, and then they make up because they understand each other better.  As a bonus, although they clearly adore each other, they are not so befuddled with lust that they can't do their jobs and avoid making out at work.  I love this couple so, so much.

Now for my more general notes about the movie:  I had a great time, and I will probably never see it again.  Trek is capable of being emotionally powerful and intellectually challenging.  This film is clearly trying to accomplish both ends, but I simply never believed that any of the main characters were actually in peril, and the political message about responding to terrorism was too heavy-handed to be effective.  The movie goes along nicely until about two-thirds of the way through the film, where it starts to rehash material from TOS and the plot falls apart.

It's a gorgeous movie, splendidly acted, often funny, and everyone gets to be a badass.  Aisha Hinds shows up on the bridge and I dearly hope we see more of her in the next movie, because she looks fit and healthy but also curvy and big-boned – a nice change from the usual Trek look.  She only had one line but she looked pretty badass just sitting around.  Zoe Saldana delivers the line “Then let me speak Klingon” in a way that made me a little dizzy, it was so very awesome.  Carol Marcus takes out a guy with an elbow hit, which my husband assures me is a good way to take someone out if you have a small frame and want to put a lot of power behind a blow, so points to the fight choreographer.  Alpha men weep openly and unashamedly.  The line, “This is Captain Sulu” is uttered.  I'm seriously considering marrying all of the characters at once – men, women, skinny and cerebral emotionally tortured villains – they're all great.  I just wish they had a better story.

Bottom line is that if you want to see challenging, thought-provoking science fiction, you're going to have to look elsewhere, but if you want to see sexy people saying awesome things and just generally have a good time, and you don't mind a plot that includes massive holes, you'll enjoy Star Trek Into Darkness. 


This movie is in theatres now, and you can find tickets at Movietickets.com and Fandango.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for focusing on what (at least to me, a big ST fan) is so great about the ST reboot – Spock and Uhura. The actors nailed it – differences in backgrounds that can lead to disagreements but resolved by being adults and working through problems without losing the loving. Also problems or the loving doesn’t get in the way of being professionals and making fellow Enterprise workers uncomfortable. The romance works for me enough to see the movie, regardless of plot holes. I wished I saw this type of romance in romance books, because too often (especially in contempories) the adults act like bratty teenagers. I am a fan of ST because of the characters.

    Most importantly, Zachary Quinto is HAWT, so I would see the movie even if I was not a fan of ST. Too bad he is gay.

  2. 2

    Yay, thanks for the review. I’m going to see this tonight.  I am SUCH a trekkie and I must admit that the Spock/Uhura romance was one of the biggest jaw droppers (in a good way) for me in the last movie.  I’m glad they’ve continued with this and decided to make it a long term thing. 

    And a lot of what you said (especially in that last paragraph) could have been applied to the first movie since the reboot.  Star Trek took an abrupt turn into new territory with the reboot to make it more commercially appealing, taking cues from the BSG reboot and other innovative Science Fiction series/films of late that are more fast paced and less linear in their storytelling.  A much lighter angle on the cerebral/analytic themes that ST used to take. This does not imply that the change is an unwelcome one.  Like every other long-standing franchise, Star Trek must change with the times.

  3. 3
    Belham says:

    I watched this last night and loved, loved, loved every second of it. I suppose it’s not on the far end of the “challenging, thought-provoking sci-fi” spectrum, whatever that may be, but frankly, that’s now what I watch these movies for. I watch them for the genuinely compelling human element in them and the gorgeously intricate plot. How often do movies, especially futuristic ones, go out of their way to display a plethora of special effect and fail to tug a single heartstring? What’s so marvelous about the ST reboot is that, not only is it perfectly cast, you genuinely care about what happens to these characters. They’re flawed and spectacular and and rounded enough that they come alive and off the screen. There’s the perfect amount of humour and romance and action and first and foremost, it’s all kinds of FUN. Personally, it’s everything I ever wanted in my wildest dreams for a ST remake.

    I was amazed that this second movie could even compete with the first one, I genuinely thought they couldn’t possibly pull off the same level of awesomeness. I was wrong. In this one there was never a dull moment, it all sizzled and sparkled, and it held its momentum from the very first second to the end. The character chemistry is off the charts. And yes to the umpteenth power regarding Spock and Uhura. Be still my heart. That conversation they had after the fight is one of the most intelligently scripted dialogues I’ve come across. If the first movie made me a fan of this couple, this one made me an absolute devotee.

  4. 4
    Sugarless says:

    I’d say you’re pretty much spot on! I saw this last night and, while I’m not a fan of TOS, I’m culturally aware of enough Star Trek to have enjoyed the frequent nudge-nudge-wink-wink moments, I loved a lot of the dialogue, and, while I didn’t think about it at the time, you’re spot on with your analysis of Spock and Uhura. I had a great time watching it and a great time reading your review!

  5. 5
    Appomattoxco says:

    Saw it last night and agree on all points except I saw “the sledge hammer of morality” as just another shout-out to TOS. Star Trek always has had a heavy hand with this- it’s traditional.

  6. 6
    LovelloftheWolves says:

    All I can say is I loved every second of the film. The score. The Characters. Bennybatches wardrobe. And his voice, OMG. And yeah, the whole “lets not respond to terrorist attacks by launching all out war” was a bit heavy handed, but I’ve been watching a great deal of BSG recently, so I didn’t mind at all.

    Everything they set up in the beginning, paid off in the end.

    AND YEAH. SPOCK & UHURA FOREVER.

    I must add, I love that the filmakers answered the question that some detractors placed: how would a relationship between someone who suppresses emotion work with a human who’s all about emotion? That scene on the on the ship when they talk about it. BOOM. Obviously other complications may arise later (aherm Pon Farr) but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

  7. 7
    library addict says:

    Okay, the romance portion of this review has sold me.

    But I have yet to see the first one, so I just ordered it from Amazon. It was $5.55 for the two disk version, how could I not? I figure it will be worth watching just for Bruce Greenwood.

    I’m old enough that I seem to prefer the original version of many of the shows being remade (i.e. BSG, V, B&TB;). But I’ve liked many of the actors in this film in other roles so I’m willing to give it a chance. I’m a casual fan of the original series. I was more into TNG, DS9 (before they added the ship) and Voyager.

  8. 8
    HeatherS says:

    Nah, the real romance here was Spock and Kirk. Uhura and Carol are just their beards. I cried over this movie. I flailed like the fangirl I am over these two. They tug my heartstrings more than any other couple EVER. They bicker like an old married couple, but like an old married couple, they also deeply love each other – even their flaws. Star Trek has always been about Kirk and Spock. The new movie was wonderful, and I’m going back to see it again today. Seeing it last night prompted an immediate phone call to a fellow fangirl that last 40 minutes as I raved and expressed my adoration. It was worth waiting another year for – but if they take another 4 years to make the next one, I’m gonna go on a fan rampage. Kirk and Spock are my OTP – have been for nearly half my life. No other love story can compete with these two.

  9. 9
    HeatherS says:

    Also, I know I can look forward to some amazing fics on http://www.ksarchive.com in the following weeks. :)

  10. 10
    Holly says:

    Saw it last night and loved it.  Spock and Uhura were great, and I was so amused by the Kirk/Uhura convo about Spock.

    Did anyone else think that something might happen between Carol and Bones instead of Kirk?

  11. 11
    HeatherS says:

    I’d be very happy to foist Carol off on Bones, personally. My friend says I’m a purist – can’t stand anyone interfering with my beloved Kirk and Spock. They ARE a couple. Anybody notice that stinkeye Spock gives Carol when she plops herself down between him and Kirk on that shuttle? Made me LOL! :D

  12. 12
    Lynn Rae says:

    Ditto on all the above.
    I saw the film yesterday and some of the plot holes are still bothering me. I won’t post them here and be spoilerish, but some of them were amazingly irritating to me. Despite this, the movie satisfied my need for Sci-Fi and sexy folk admirably. And was it just me, or were all Benedict Cumberbatch’s coats simply lust-worthy? I wanted all his clothes!

  13. 13
    Cate says:

    What’s not to love about this film – Whopping great plot holes aside ( OH – who cares ! It’s a film !!!)
      I LOVED the throwaway line from Carol Marcus to Kirk about her bestie Christine Chappell – Who – that himbo Kirk’s forgotten he shagged !

  14. 14
    BeckyS says:

    Let’s be honest for a moment. Star Trek was never very good at being challenging or intellectually stimulating. There were times when they tried, but it usually came out boring, heavy-handed, insulting, or downright judgmental. Mostly, though, it just shouts technobabble at us in the hopes that we don’t notice how idiotic the science is. In fact, the only Trek ever actually made ME think was Deep Space Nine, and it made me think by challenging the idea of the Star Trek utopia itself, and if or how it could ever work.

    But I digress. I LOVED this movie, and I will see it at least 2-3 more times. I thought it worked brilliantly as a character study, and had some intriguing role reversal. Kirk has at last grown up and learned how to think about consequences to behave responsibly, as a captain should, while Spock figured out how to stop analyzing everything just long enough to go with his gut instinct.

    I also found that all of the callbacks to, and borrowed plot-points from, the original series and old Trek films were a big part of what made the movie work so well for me.

  15. 15
    teshara says:

    SPOILERS

    No one is mentioning the Klingons? REALLY?!

    Oh. My. God. I want cute little space viking babies. HolycrapbejeezusSCHWING!

    That guy took off his helmet and I kind of blanked because I was stunned. I may have been told to stop giggling in the theater… twice.

    So, since I have no idea what was going on, I have made up a plot of my own.

    The Klingons decided the humans were so hot they initiated a mating ritual, then Ninja!Benidict came along and cock-blocked everyone so he could keep Kirk for himself.

    The End :D

  16. 16
    Sasha says:

    Plot holes: Sure
    Romance: Spock and Uhura deftly handled, fun and sweet
    Major emotional arcs: Kirk must grow up, Spock has to find a way to relate, their BFF relationship is solidified. 
    I was particularly taken with Kirk’s emotional journey in this movie.

    I really liked it, but I told my husband that 2009 ST was gonna be almost impossible to live up to because the first one was just So Frickin’ Cool visually and with the reimagination and realignment with the alternate universe. 

    Still awesome!

  17. 17
    imthered says:

    I thought it was a decent movie that tried a little too hard to be like what had come before(review at http://thearmchaircritic.blogspot.com/2013/05/star-trek-into-darkness.html ) .  The Spock-Uhura pairing is new, and so far it’s worked well: There’s a lot of respect and feeling, yet they manage to stay professional—and she’s willing to tell him off when he needs it.

    As an aside, I did find it gratituous that when introducing Dr. Carol Marcus to this universe they manage to flash the intelligent, moral, and independent woman stripped down to her underwear.  While Alice Eve is certainly attractive, this felt more appropriate for MAXIM than the rebooted Trek universe.  (This was also one of the first 10 Google Images results for the movie, so I guess it worked for others.)

  18. 18
    Stephanie says:

    I have heard a lot of bashing of this movie because it lacks the philosophy of the original, but it wasn`t until we get around to Next Generation that we have Picard pontificating about our moral place in the universe every five minutes (TNG is not always my cup of tea).  I love this movie because it`s about all the things that help make a really good romance novel work for me – friendship, loyalty, the ability to form lifelong attachments in more ways than the straight Hero/Heroine formula.  Spock/Kirk/Uhura/Scotty/Bones/Sulu/Chekov – each and every one of them will lay down their lives for each other, without question, because it is what makes them heroes and what will keep me coming back every time.  I also love the Spock/Uhura dynamic and really hope that Bones finally gets some with Carol Marcus – fans of the original series will know that McCoy was insanely unlucky in love.  Mantrap anyone?
    children67 (i really, really hope not!)

  19. 19
    Evamaria says:

    Oh, I LOVELOVELOVE this movie – and this comes from a long-time TOS fan. I also very much enjoyed the first one (more than I thought – and oh, Spock Prime match-making forever!), but I was constantly side-tracked trying to make all the changes make sense – which they don’t, they just don’t. Nero’s encounter with the Kelvin simply can’t have changed EVERYONE’s lives that much.

    But anyways, bygones etc. – in this one I could just sit back and take the characters for what they are NOW. For example I love how it’s Kirk in this universe who has the closer relationship with Pike, or how he’s further in his friendship with Spock (see Spock Prime match-making above). And of course Uhura and Spock, who I truly love this time around – because they have a proper relationship AND Uhura gets to be more than “Spock’s girlfriend” (which annoyed me after the big reveal in the first movie).

    Anyways, I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you. :)

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