Short Version: This is exactly all you see of this. Enjoy the $8 I just saved you. Fin.
It seems like only 11 days ago I wrote a review of Iron Man 3 because I did, so shut up and let my hatred of going out in public talk for a minute. Here’s a little movie etiquette: If you walk into a completely empty, giant stadium seating theater where there are literally only four people in it, DO NOT SIT DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF SOMEONE, GALLON OF POWERADE AND YOUR TEXTING DOUCHECANOE BUDDY. Also, don’t get up and eventually go to the very last row to talk the whole fucking time about, “Whoa, look how awesome all that space is.” This is why I’m okay with terrorism.
Now where was I? Oh, right, Lens Flare II: The Wrath of Lens Flare. Shall we?
Quick Note: There are basically three “spoilers” in Star Trek Into Darkness and I am going to address the “major” one because in all honesty, and this right here will give it away so heads up, it’s something that pretty much everyone suspected since this movie was announced (on top of being spoiled all over the place by now) and when it’s revealed, it means absolute jackshit in context. I’ll also ruin the spoiler at the end because it’s the most infuriating part of the movie, and I’m amazed Trekkies haven’t burnt J.J. Abrams alive for it yet. That said, I’ll give ample warning before both.
The Shit That Worked:
- ALICE EVE’S BEWWWWWWBBBBSSSSS!
Okay, I swear that’s out of my system.
- The cast. Abrams’ first Star Trek did a great job establishing this incarnation of the classic Enterprise crew and everyone plays their parts just as well this time around. Although Uhura’s part is reduced to mostly looking awesome in tight leather pants and a miniskirt, but this is the 60s, baby, yeah! Or the future and several decades removed from it in real life. Shut up.
- Know what else was in a miniskirt? ALICE EVE’S BEWW- I’ll stop.
- The special effects. Abrams’ first Star Trek looked fucking fantastic and so did this one. The man knows how and when to use CGI which bodes well for Episode VII. Visually at least.
- Angry Spock. I will forever give Zachary Quinto kudos for making the Vulcan Neck Pinch look fucking ruthless. This is also the only awesome thing that comes out of the bullshit, cheap-ass, you gotta be kidding me events of the third act which I’ll get to later. Just.. WHY?!
The Shit That Kind of Worked:
- Benedict Cumberbatch. Most reviews I’ve read so far from friends or critics cite his “John Harrison” as the best part of the movie, and I agree, the man acts his Cumberdick off making the best of what he’s given. As for what he’s given… SPOILER ALERT: So, first off, he’s Khan. GASP! Except here’s the thing: There was absolutely no need for him to be Khan. And when the characters find out he is Khan, it literally means jackshit to them, the story or the audience unless you’re a Trekkie. And even then there was really no need to make him be Khan. I guess I can see because he’s The Joker to Kirk’s Batman, but what made the first Star Trek movie great is it set up its own divergent timeline and could do anything it wanted. Instead we get a rehashed Khan who doesn’t even kill one of the main Enterprise crew and has to deliver a shit-ton of exposition explaining who the fuck he is in the first place while sounding exactly like Scar from The Lion King. “That’s right, Simba, captain your Enterprise to Mufasa!” (You’ll never watch this movie again without hearing Scar every time now. You’re welcome.) This also spirals into some horrible bullshit which, I swear to God, I’m going to get to. END SPOILER.
Brief Nerd Theory Aside: I was really hoping Benedict Cumberbatch would not be who he was, but would instead be Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son from the future hence her screaming bloody murder in the trailer. Turns out that was from watching Sherlock’s signature move, The I Crush Your Skull.
- Logic problems. Here are two that bothered me the most:
1. We see the movie demonstrate that beaming requires a somewhat close proximity to a ship and its target. Then we see Benedict Cumberbatch beam from planet to distant planet with a teleporter in a knapsack. Eh?
[Ed. Note 5.19.13 - I watched the first one today just to see how the two compare, and Christ, did Abrams and crew squander an assload of promise, but regardless, there is a scene where Scotty says he'd solved planet-to-planet beaming. So, Kirk out. - SW]
2. We see Robocop beam someone while the Enterprise’s shields are up, but then later we see Cumberbund not being able to do the same from the same exact ship until the shields are lowered.
One more thing, does Endust work on penises? Because I’m really building up a thick layer over here.
- Klingons! We finally see Klingons in this universe, albeit shortly and in a set piece that blatantly looks like a set piece. It looks like it was shot in a laser tag arena complete with shitty foam alien sculptures.
The Shit That Shat:
- The fire alarms going off 45 minutes into the movie causing Photo Boy and I to miss five-to-ten minutes by being the only ones who immediately got up and went out the fire exit out of fear of getting The Dark Knight Rises in the face. Everyone else? Completely unfazed and didn’t move. (Turns out painters set it off by accident. Though most likely to make me piss my pants and yell, “We’re all gonna die!”)
- Here’s the big one. SPOILER ALERT: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan is considered the crown jewel of the Star Trek films, so the last thing this movie wants to do, even while using Khan, is remind anyone who’s seen it how fucking definitive it was. Instead Into Darkness decides to not only flip the iconic Spock dying scene so now it’s Kirk dying as each others hands touch through the glass, which could’ve been ballsy as shit if they stuck to it, but then Spock hamfistedly yells “KHAAANNN!” and the entire movie gets cheapened to fuck when a deus ex machina you see coming a mile away is used to save Kirk. Which is yet again another summer blockbuster that could’ve done something bold by killing a major character (Which this one more so than others constantly hinted at happening.) but backs out at the last minute reminding you you’re watching a summer blockbuster. It’s like making love to a woman, and everything’s going perfect, then you ejaculate, realize it’s your cousin and, dammit, why does this keep happening?! Exactly like that. END SPOILER.
- At one point in the movie, out of fucking nowhere, new Spock literally just up and calls Old Spock and asks, “What’s up with Benedict Cumberbatch?” And he tells himself. Which doesn’t sound that bad until you realize up until this point the movie had shown what a goddamn stickler Spock is to protocol, the Prime Directive and presumably things like, oh I dunno, completely borking an entire timeline. Because why not deliver random, contradictory exposition via Phone-A-Friend? That’s quality screenwriting.
- Did I mention the banner pic is literally all you see of Alice Eve in her underwear? The banner pic is literally all you see of Alice Eve in her underwear.
Let’s dock this puppy and grab some drinks from Quark. As far as summer movies go, Iron Man 3 easily mopped the floor with Star Trek Into Darkness. But even though it wasn’t as good as the first one, and that goddamn fucking ending aside, it had its moments, looked goddamn amazing and was overally entertaining. Particularly if you know nothing of Star Trek lore which Photo Boy did not, so he enjoyed the shit out of it more than I did. (I’ll have him add his thoughts in the morning.) That said, if you are familiar with Trek, it still does a great job of using the Enteprise crew, diving into Starfleet minutiae and setting the stage for the ship to be more of an exploratory vessel, but you may want to walk right out of the theater as soon as you see a certain character’s dead hand go down. Just get up, never look back and if a third one is announced, it wasn’t, you’re drunk again and your mother and I have had it. You’re going to rehab.
On a scale from I to VII, this one’s The Voyage Home. (I’d say The Final Frontier, but fuck, that ending.)
The Shit Where I Make Photo Boy Talk About Nerd Stuff
Having never seen a single episode of the Star Trek series or any of the original movies, I’d like to jump in here and offer my thoughts until you gnash your teeth and repose your Romulan action figures to flip me off. My knowledge of this world comes only from what J.J. Abrams has told me about it, and the vague notion that when Ace Ventura said “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a poolman!”, it was a thing from some thing I was supposed to know.
So, here goes, first things first, the look of this thing. Abrams has learned from the master (Spielberg) how to blend practical and visual effects to create an entirely believable futuristic setting as long as you didn’t see a trailer for Elysium right before you watch his film. Wait. The acting, as with first film, was top notch except maybe for Peter Weller who probably gave notes like “What if I do this scene sitting down, maybe after a nice cheeseburger? It’ll be fine, everyone’ll go ‘Hey, isn’t that Robocop?’” Which I did, so, well played. The plot, the villain, and the pacing all totally worked for me because a.) I’m entirely not hung up on what did or didn’t happen in the original and b.) stuff blew up, faces got punched fucking hard (albeit with Indiana Jones whipcrack sound effects, ugh), ALICE EVE’S TITTIES, and my stupid brain wasn’t made to feel stupider even when they referenced all kinds of shit I know nothing about. Section 31? Yeah, I don’t know what that is but ooh, look, a crazy space jump scene!
Overall, Abrams does a great job taking complex story elements and dumbing them down for a general audience, while keeping a breakneck pace of action mixed with Alice Eve breasts and half-naked cat-girls. The real mystery is where will they take all of this in the third movie and not why did Fish and I hold hands and cry as we kicked through an exit door and fled like goddamn homemade Rambo was in the theater. Why would you even ask that? - Photo Boy