I took advantage of the early iTunes release of Star Trek: Into Darkness to re-watch it last night. I’d seen it in the theater, but my wife was watching it for the first time. I’ll admit that it was fun to know what was coming and to watch for her reaction, particularly to the derpier bits.
Into Darkness isn’t a great movie. It feels like it’s trying to tell a story, but is constantly being interrupted by the need to pander to long-time fans – here a casual reference to Nurse Chapel, here a re-purposed bit of dialog, look-its-a-tribble, check-out-the-new-klingons etc. It’s a “Big Dramatic Moments” movie where I never quite felt like I cared about the characters enough to give the Big Dramatic Moments sufficient impact, and some of the more blatant plot holes (how exactly did we get back to earth so fast, again?) are more obvious on the smaller screen.
Oh, and of course, it’s got a villain guaranteed to send fans into fits of rage.
It’s not quite “Phantom Menace” levels of missing what made the old films fun, but it’s still pretty bad. Sadly, the best thing about it may have been that it spawned the Best Wikipedia Edit War Ever.
On the other hand, I think it was a necessary movie, which is a weird way to think about a major film. It shoved so many clunky shout-outs and awkward recycles of classic scenes into two hours that it may – just may – have taught the fan base the perils of asking for things to come back, and hopefully it has opened the way for a third movie with less baggage.
Or, to be honest, a third movie where we see the entire crew for about five minutes at the beginning and for about five minutes again at the end, and everything in between is just the new Sulu and Scotty being amazing. I’d take that, too.