5Takeaways from Star Trek: Into Darkness

I have always been more a Stars Wars fan than a Star Trek fan. I found Star Wars to be much more exciting while Star Trek was too talky talky. I think this might have been a function of Star Trek originally being a television show with a much lower budget.

On the other hand, Star Wars was much higher budget, being a movie series. The movies were so much exciting. But when J.J. Abrams took control of the franchise a couple of years ago with Star Trek, I finally got excited for the franchise. Abrams can direct action extremely well, and from Cloverfield, Super 8, and Mission Impossible 4, Abrams are very fun.

And with Abrams set to direct the new Star Wars series owned by Disney, the Star Trek series gives the audience a good insight into what Abrams may do with the galactic fairy tale.

Here are 5Takeaways from Star Trek: Into Darkness.

1. It doesn’t seem like a sequel.

When you enter Star Trek: Into Darkness your dropped right back into the action of Kirk and McCoy are running from a bunch of natives on a foreign planet. You have no idea where you are, but you’re literally thrown back into the action. Usually in sequels like this you are almost reintroduced to the characters as you haven’t seen them for some time. In this film it’s not so. Andy Greenwald from Grantland.com talked about how this film feels like a “getting the gang back together” film in a somewhat pejorative context. I would have to agree, but I don’t think this takes away from the film.

Instead this feeling enhances your enjoyment. You’re not forced to sit through pointless reintroduction of characters. The film takes off (see what I did there) and really doesn’t stop. There is no point where you’re not on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. And I think that since the film is cast so well (more on the later), you don’t need these re-introductions your allowed to see how the actors fill out their roles. If anything the film almost feels like the third film in a trilogy by how Kirk takes on leadership, while Spock finally understand his symbiotic relationship with Kirk.

2. The film is cast extremely well.

One of the reasons why the film doesn’t seem like a sequel is because the audience is so comfortable with the actors J.J. Abrams has assembled. Chris Pine is great Captain Kirk. He really makes the role his own, even though a majority of the film is him thwarting explosions and villains. When there is some downtime, he is not only funny, but honest to the role. Zachary Quinto as Spock is also excellent. It seems like it would be difficult to play a character that is supposed to have “no feelings,” but Quinto plays it off very well. And when he yells, “KHAAAAAAN.” Damn, that’s awesome.

The supporting characters fill the roles that they had mastered so well in the previous film. McCoy is great as the doctor who feel like just keeps saying, “I’m getting to old for this shit.” Simon Pegg as Scotty is hilarious. There is a scene where he is at a nightclub that makes you wish you could party with him. John Cho as Sulu is great as well.  Newcomer Alice Eve is also a breath of fresh air. Abrams could’ve gone with some hyped Hollywood starlet like Blake Lively, but doesn’t. A lot of these actors aren’t actually that famous. I think too many famous faces would dilute the “team aspect,” of the starship Enterprise.

3. Benedict Cumberbatch is a badass.

Benedict Cumberbatch is a British actor you may know from BBC series Sherlock. If you didn’t know him before Star Trek: Into Darkness, not only will you remember after you see the film, but he’s starring in films like August: Osage County and will play Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. Cumberbatch plays “Khan” or John Harrison, a warrior designed by Starfleet to be pretty much unstoppable. After bombing various Starfleet establishments, the Enterprise is sent on a mission to destroy him. Upon finding him, Kirk realizes that the 72 torpedoes they are carrying are actually filled with Khan’s comrades. The whole mission is a ploy for Khan to be reunited with his crew.

Cumberbatch is masterful in his performance. His quiet yet so creepy. And he is really able to pull of the “action villain thing.” There is one scene where he pretty much kills a pack of Klingons by himself. Like Kirk and the rest of the crew you actually feel sympathetic for Khan and his crew before you really understand what his plan is. By the end, you hate him just as much as Spock does when he yells, “KHHHHAAAAAAANN.” Cumberbatch is for sure the next great British acting export. He can play dramatic roles and can do roles like he did in Star Trek: Into Darkness.

4. J.J. Abrams may be the next Stephen Spielberg.

Ok, so I know about a month ago I called Joseph Kosinski, director of Oblivion the next Spielberg, but let me revise. I feel like Abrams could be considered a “modern Spielberg.” His films are just so fun, enjoyable and entertaining that the two legendary directors have similar skill sets. Both are able to make films that are action-packed but still can connect on a human level. This is very hard to do. Do you see Michael Bay making films that ordinary American’s can identify with? How about Jerry Bruckheimer? Steven Soderbergh is also successful at this type of filmmaking.

After watching Star Trek: Into Darkness, I am both and excited and nervous for what Abrams will do with Star Wars. In one respect I think that J.J. Abrams can do a great job in almost making the Stars Wars smaller, bringing it closer to one-on-one relationships. In the same respect, the Stars Wars world may be too big to deal with. I guess we’ll have to see. I’m very interested to see who is cast in the film.

5. It’s just a great film.

Even though Star Trek is based off a television series, it is so nice to see an original screenplay for a summer movie. The film is fresh and as I said before, fun, exciting and entertaining. GO SEE THIS MOVIE. I give it an A.

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