Today, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS hits store shelves.
If you read our Best Of The Year So Far, then you know that this is my favorite film of 2013.
It has laughs, incredible action, great call backs to the Trek Universe and once again, J.J. Abrams shows that he is one of the best directors working. I didn't think it was possible for INTO DARKNESS to surpass 2009's STAR TREK, but it came awfully close and was so good, I saw it twice.
When we rejoin Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and the rest of the USS Enterprise crew, they are attempting to stop a volcano from destroying a far flung planet. Kirk, as usual, is not exactly stewarding by the book and it could have dire consequences for the whole team. As in STAR TREK, the exciting opening sequence sets the tone for the film:
Kirk tends to fly by the seat of his pants, but at what cost?
As we get our answers, Abrams again concocts the perfect mixture of action, humor and heart. The jokes and references come fast and often. We get Spock one-liners, sight gags and witty banter, while the exposition is seamlessly integrated. The film moves quickly and never gets boring. If all movies could move at the pace of IRON MAN or STAR TREK, I'd live a happier life.
In addition to all of the favorites from the first film (including my homie, Keenser), we have a few newcomers that factor in heavily. First is John Harrison (played extraordinarily by Benedict Cumberbatch), who is a Starfleet officer gone rogue and committing acts of terrorism. By now, you probably know that Harrison is not exactly who/what he seems (gloriously, the secret was unspoiled for me), resulting in some great thrills. Cumberbatch blew me away and gave this movie what the 2009 TREK didn't have: a great villain.
The next newbie is scientist Carol Marcus (Alice Eve). She has deep ties to some of the powers that be and also has some sparks fly with our Captain. She fits right in with the rest of the witty characters and was a welcome addition to a series that really only has one other female character. I would have been satisfied with more adventures from the same old crew, but Cumberbatch and Eve both contributed well and I would hope/assume they are both back for the next installment.
In an age where almost everything is a sequel, Abrams has made the best one, two film combination in years. Think I'm being hyperbolic? THE GODFATHER PART II, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS were the last time that a second film in the series even came close topping the original. STAR TREK and STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS are top level work, on the grandest scale, that entertain from start to finish. Or more simply, the reason that I go to the movies.
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