‘STAR Trek Into Darkness’ (or STID) takes place in the alternate universe established in 2009’s ‘Star Trek’.
Upon disobeying the prime directive, Captain James T Kirk of the USS Enterprise (Chris Pine) is punished for his actions and stripped of command. Around the same time, a series of attacks occur against Starfleet, beginning with a suicide bombing in London.
Starfleet quickly discovers the mastermind behind the attacks - the mysterious John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). Harrison goes in hiding on the Klingon planet, Kronos. Risking a war with the Klingons, Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) follow him.
STID is full of surprises. During its two plus hours, there’s many a plot twist - its difficult to predict where it will go. Occasionally, it felt like a retread of 1982’s ‘Star Trek II’, to the point that iconic scenes have been directly taken from it. Additionally, some aspects of the story were far-fetched.
Like the last film, the biggest problem for me was Chris Pine’s Kirk. Arrogant and egotistical, he’s more James Dean than James Kirk. He and Uhura aren’t particularly interesting yet featured heavily, to the detriment of the strong supporting crew. Quinto is once again great as Spock, but this time was more emotive - on more than one occasion, he cries - something a Vulcan doesn’t do. Such a choice was illogical.
Contrarily, Benedict Cumberbatch is undoubtedly STID’s highlight. Second only to Ricardo Moltabán’s Khan, Cumberbatch’s John Harrison is the greatest villain of all 12 ‘Trek films. Cumberbatch is outstanding and has a real presence. Explaining his motives later on, his powerful performance actually gave me chills.
Overall, I did enjoy STID, which may be better than the last film. Setting the stage for a confirmed third movie, it promises a great finale to this trilogy.
By Kelan Headley