%%
%%
%%
%%
%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Please add context to the entries before uncommenting them.
%%
%%
%%
%%
[[quoteright:274:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/star_trek_ii_the_wrath_of_khan.png]]
[[caption-width-right:274:[[{{Tagline}} "Beyond the darkness, beyond the human evolution, is Khan."]][[labelnote:*]]And yes, that's really his chest.[[/labelnote]]]]

->'''Khan:''' I've done far ''worse'' than kill you. I've ''hurt you''. And I wish to go on...''hurting'' you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left ''her''... marooned for all eternity, in the center of a dead planet. ''Buried alive''...! ''Buried alive''...!\\
'''Kirk: (trembling with rage).....KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!'''

''Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan'' is the second movie in the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' film series, released in 1982.

The plot features the charismatic genetically-engineered tyrant Khan Noonien Singh of the original ''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Star Trek]]'' episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed Space Seed]]", fifteen years after the events of the episode. Khan escapes his exile with [[ItsPersonal revenge]] against the man who sent him into exile, [[TheKirk Starfleet Captain James Tiberius Kirk]] as his main goal, and [[TakeOverTheWorld establishing a galactic]] [[TheEmpire Empire]] as his secondary goal, using a stolen [[{{Terraform}} compact terraforming device]] as a [[HostileTerraforming weapon to seal his victory]]. Meanwhile, ''Admiral'' Kirk has been [[ThePeterPrinciple promoted beyond his usefulness]] and is facing a mid-life crisis. It doesn't get any easier for him when a [[HotScientist young woman]] he once knew turns up [[LukeYouAreMyFather with her son]].

A rousing (and emotional) adventure movie and is even now considered one of the best examples of a SurprisinglyImprovedSequel, ''Star Trek II'' is considered by many fans and critics to be the best movie in the series, and it's the yardstick against which all other installments are measured. This is largely attributed to the efforts of two men:
* The writing of Creator/HarveBennett, an experienced film producer and screenwriter with a variety of television series and miniseries to his name, who actually [[ArchiveBinge screened all 79 episodes of the original Star Trek series in a projection room at Paramount]] before writing the script, [[ShownTheirWork correctly concluding]] that the premise was essentially "''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' [[RecycledINSPACE IN SPACE!]]".
* The direction of Creator/NicholasMeyer, who had previously penned the best-selling Franchise/SherlockHolmes novel ''Literature/TheSevenPercentSolution'' and directed the film ''Film/TimeAfterTime''. Meyer was introduced to Bennett later and completed the final drafts of the script, and also [[{{retool}} ordered a redesigned Starfleet uniform]] to emphasize the connection between Starfleet and the Navy.

Outside the world of ''Star Trek'', ''Wrath of Khan'' is notable for containing two big breaks. Creator/KirstieAlley made her acting debut in this film playing the young Vulcan [[NaiveNewcomer Saavik]], even getting the onscreen credit "[[AndStarring and introducing Kirstie Alley]]". This was also the first major motion picture to be scored by Music/JamesHorner, who would go on to do ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'', ''Film/TheRocketeer'', ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'', ''Film/{{Titanic 1997}}'', and ''Film/{{Avatar}}''. As Nicholas Meyer once put it, they hired James Horner to do ''Star Trek II'' because they couldn't afford Music/JerryGoldsmith, but by the time Meyer returned for ''Film/{{Star Trek VI|The Undiscovered Country}}'' they hired Cliff Eidelman because they couldn't afford James Horner. (Horner would succeed Goldsmith on [[Franchise/{{Alien}} another sci-fi franchise]], modifying one of his cues from this movie to great effect.)

No relation to the aborted ''Star Trek Phase II'' TV series, whose pilot became ''[[Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture Star Trek: The Motion Picture]]''. Also not to be confused with ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'', a (loose) remake of this film set in the AlternateTimeline created by Creator/JJAbrams for his cinematic franchise.

----
!!Tropes seen in ''The Wrath of Khan'' include:
* AbandonShip: Said by Saavik at the end of the Kobayashi Maru simulation. [[VeteranInstructor Admiral Kirk]] points out that [[SinkTheLifeboats Klingons don't take prisoners.]]
* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene:
** Kirk in the Genesis Cave, admitting how old he feels.
** Of course, [[spoiler: Spock's]] death.
* ActionPrologue: Which turns out to be an UnwinnableTrainingSimulation.
* ActivationSequence: After the ''Reliant'' is shot to pieces by the ''Enterprise'', Khan, [[TakingYouWithMe in a final act of spite]], begins activating the Genesis Device, a process that involves turning a series of cylinders on a control panel and then pushing them down to reveal the next one which starts a final countdown.
* AgelessBirthdayEpisode: At Creator/WilliamShatner's insistence, Kirk's exact age was left unstated onscreen. (In the series, he's the ripe old age of ''52,'' in a time when people live past ''137...'' meaning that Kirk has Progeria, perhaps a relapse from [[Recap/StarTrekS2E12TheDeadlyYears The Deadly Years]].)
* AlasPoorVillain: [[spoiler:Khan dies in the exploding ''Reliant'' after failing to kill Kirk]]. The audience is left to ponder what Khan would've been had he not let hate and power get control of him, not to mention how he could have been tamed if Kirk did something other than banish him and his people to a remote planet.
** When you think you're tough enough and smart enough to tame a planet with only a dozen or so disciples to back you, and you pointedly reiterate Satan's BadassBoast from ''Paradise Lost'', you owe it to your sense of integrity to take it like a man when the Hell that you proclaimed it better to rule than serve in Heaven actually turns out to be Hell and not Eden after all. Alas poor Khan for not being quite the superior being he thought he was.
* AllThereInTheManual: The film's [[DeletedScene deleted scenes]] and {{novelisation}} contains two major plot points that are not in the film (at least not the [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail original theatrical release]]): the first is that Saavik is half-Romulan, which explains her displaying emotion; the second is the establishment of a romance between Saavik and David Marcus, which is only lightly hinted at in the film and it's sequel.
* AmazingFreakingGrace: On ''bagpipes'' too, no less.
* AmbiguouslyBrown: Khan is an Indian being played by a [[FakeNationality Mexican actor]].
* AnAesop
** The overarching moral is shared with MobyDick, from which it drew a lot of inspiration: Revenge is a self-destructive course that will not only be your end, but the end of everybody and everything you care about.
** Kirk learns to be less [[HeroicSelfDeprecation hateful of himself]].
* AndStarring: Creator/RicardoMontalban as Khan, which is literally the billing in the opening credits, after all the other main cast is listed, "And Starring Creator/RicardoMontalban as Khan". This might be the only film using that specific credit (most of the examples on the Trope page are billed simply "And"), making this film the TropeNamer.
* AntagonistTitle: Khan is Captain Kirk's enemy.
* AppliedPhlebotinum: The "Genesis Device" is an inexplicable gadget that defies all known science of the era-- as well as logic, achieving a ''controlled reaction'' that transforms a planet-surface, with ''magnitudes'' more energy than any ''weapon.'' In fact, the first discussion Kirk and Spock have after watching Carol Marcus' video on the device is about its potential destructive capabilities if it were to be used ''as' a weapon. Naturally, it falls right into Khan's hands-- conveniently just at the same time as Kirk.
* ArcWords:
** "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." "Or the one."
** "You are my commanding officer. You are also my friend. I have been, and always shall be yours."
** "I don't believe in the no-win scenario" and "I don't like to lose" are used fairly interchangeably.
* ArtisticLicenseMusic: During [[spoiler:Spock's funeral]], Scotty plays "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. It is very obvious (especially if you are an actual piper) that Creator/JamesDoohan isn't actually playing them, but merely holding them and twiddling his fingers. Not that it breaks the drama in any way.
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: When Khan mentions his "Beloved Wife", he is referring to Marla [=McGivers=], a historian on the ''Enterprise'' during Kirk's Five Year Mission of galactic exploration. Anyone who watched "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed Space Seed]]" would see that he was only charming her to get her to help him take over the ship. However at the end of the show, it's seen that they love each other nonetheless, and the movie reveals it.
* AwesomenessByAnalysis: As usual, the entire ''Enterprise'' crew. Spock analyses Khan's attack patterns, Kirk analyses Khan's mental state to pull a gambit [[BatmanGambit based on his personality]], and discovers the scientists hiding on Regula One through his intuition. Using the ship's weapons, [[ImprobableAimingSkills Chekov]] pulls off a near perfect crippling salvo to Khan's ship while [[SpaceClouds in a sensor-clouding nebula]]...
* BackInTheSaddle: Kirk gets command of the ''Enterprise'' to investigate the Regula Station situation, but his rustiness gets the better of him when Khan uses ''Reliant'' for a surprise attack.
* BadassBoast:
** Khan taunting Kirk after thinking he's marooned him on Regula.
--->'''Khan:''' I've done far worse than kill you. I've ''hurt'' you, and I mean to go on ''hurting'' you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left ''her'': marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet. Buried alive. ''Buried alive...''
** Followed shortly by:
--->'''Kirk:''' I don't believe in the no-win scenario.
** And later on, after showing Khan he survived his attempt to maroon the ''Enterprise'' crew:
--->'''Kirk:''' We tried it once your way, Khan. Are you game for a rematch? ''[beat]'' Khan, I'm ''laughing'' at the "superior intellect."
* BatmanGambit:
** Khan makes Chekov tell Regula 1 that Kirk ordered him to use Genesis on Ceti Alpha VI, knowing that they'll have to contact him, getting him involved. The fact that Dr. Marcus was Kirk's old flame is a happy coincidence for Khan.
** Khan's opening volley on the ''Enterprise'' hinges on them believing ''Reliant'' to still be an ally despite its strange behavior. This only works because Kirk ignores regulations which would have defeated this strategy.
** Exploited when Kirk tried to goad Khan into beaming down to Regula to dispose of him personally. He knew Khan wouldn't take him up on the offer as there was no advantage to the fight. Kirk counted on Khan continuing his pursuit of the ''Enterprise'', knowing that Khan would be certain he'd be able to come back to deal with Kirk in his own way at his leisure since, as far as Khan knew, Kirk had no way to get off of Regula.
** Kirk's plan to trick Khan into chasing the ''Enterprise'' into the Mutara Nebula (where both ships will have a mutual disadvantage and thus be equal), which works since Khan is [[VillainousBreakdown becoming unhinged]] and [[RevengeBeforeReason irrationally bent on revenge]]. Furthermore, this is all justified by Kirk's critical observation about Khan and his BerserkButton:
--->'''Kirk:''' I'll give him this: he's consistent!
* BestServedCold: "[[SpaceIsCold It is very cold in space...]]"
* BigBadWannabe: This is what Kirk reduces Khan to at the climax of the film. Khan spent the whole movie in SmugSnake mode, convinced that his superior intellect and ability would always ensure he came out on top. The problem is, his ''[[{{Pride}} pride]]'' is off the scale as well, and it will not let him walk away satisfied with a draw. Sure, he's probably smarter than Kirk, but he lets Kirk goad, embarrass, provoke, humilate, and enrage him into a fight where his intellect means nothing, because Kirk's experience ''is several orders of magnitude greater than his and experience is the deciding factor.'' Kirk doesn't ''have'' to be smarter. Even the most trusted member of Khan's crew literally begs him to just let things go and walk away, but he won't listen.
** Notably, Khan is completely aware of this, as evidenced by his literary references. He repeatedly compares the situation to ''Literature/MobyDick'', casting ''himself'' as Ahab. Also, his tendency to compare himself to Satan goes all the way back to "Space Seed."
--->'''Joachim''': Sir, may I speak? We are all with you, sir, but consider this: We are free. We have a ship and the means to go where we will. We have escaped permanent exile on Ceti Alpha Five. You have proved your superior intellect, and defeated the plans of Admiral Kirk. You do not need to defeat him again.\\
'''Khan''': He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him. I'll chase him round the moons of Nibia, and round the Antares maelstrom, and round ''Perdition's flames'' before I give him up! Prepare to alter course.
* BigWordShout: Kirk's enraged "'''''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRnSnfiUI54 KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!]]'''''" at the end of Khan's taunt about marooning him on Regula.
* BillionsOfButtons: After ''Enterprise'' has remotely ordered ''Reliant'' to lower her shields, Khan's OhCrap moment is punctuated by a rapidly panning POV shot of a bank of buttons of switches as he desperately tries to find the override before ''Enterprise'' can open fire.[[note]]Per the [[DeadpanSnarker subtitle commentary track]] in the Director's Cut, Khan won't find it; he's staring at the Helmsman's station.[[/note]] This highlights the fact that while Khan might be smarter than Kirk, Kirk has ''much'' more experience.
* BirthDeathJuxtaposition:
** In his eulogy, Kirk explicitly juxtaposes [[spoiler:Spock's]] death with the creation of life on the Genesis planet.
--->'''Kirk:''' And yet it should be noted, that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world, a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect.
** Near the end of the Nebula Battle: Khan's aide Joachim dies aboard the USS ''Reliant'', juxtaposed with Chekov rejoining the bridge crew on the USS ''Enterprise''.
* BittersweetEnding: Kirk escapes Khan, but [[spoiler:Spock dies]] repairing the ''Enterprise'' to make it happen. In a way, this means Khan succeeds in avenging himself upon Kirk, as [[spoiler:Spock's death]] is [[FateWorseThanDeath by far the worst injury he could have inflicted]] upon Kirk, besides actual physical harm.
* BottleEpisode: In order to conserve the budget, a majority of this movie's scenes were shot on the ''Enterprise'' bridge set (which was also redressed as the ''Reliant'' bridge) and StockFootage, space suits and uniforms from ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' were reused.
* BrainSlug: A particularly notorious and [[{{Squick}} gross]] example is seen both entering and leaving it's victim.
* BreakoutVillain: Before this film, Khan was just a VillainOfTheWeek for the show. Ever since this film, he's been arguably the most memorable and highly regarded individual villain in the entire franchise.
* TheBusCameBack: Oh boy, ''[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed did it ever]]''. Khan goes from ho-hum VillainOfTheWeek to one of ''Trek'''s most iconic {{Big Bad}}s.
* BusCrash: The actress who played [=Marla McGivers=], Khan's lover from "Space Seed", was not able to appear in the film, [[RealLifeWritesThePlot as she was suffering at this point from severe multiple sclerosis, forcing her to end her acting career]], so she was killed offscreen by the [[BrainSlug Ceti Eels]] to explain her absence (as well as give Khan some serious motivation for [[ItsPersonal wanting personal revenge]] against Kirk).
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: The rare variant from the villain's point of view. Part of the reason Khan is so pissed at Kirk is because when he was exiled Kirk promised to return and check on the colony's progress someday (in "Space Seed" Kirk said he'd "come back in 100 years"), but never did and forgot all about him. In the novelization, Khan also believes that Kirk was promoted to Admiral ''because'' Kirk exiled him (in "Space Seed", Khan was ''not'' exiled but granted the planet by Kirk after dropping all charges, to give Khan what he wanted-- i.e. "a new life, a new world to rule."). Touched on in the movie by the way Khan emphasizes ''Admiral'' after being corrected by Capt. Terrell.
* CallBack: Several of Kirk's lines.
** Kirk and Spock's exchange before he assumes command of the Enterprise contrasts the previous movie. Kirk used the emergency as an excuse to oust Decker and they spent most of the movie at each other's throats. This time, Kirk is reluctant to take command but Spock (now the Captain) insists.
** A callback to "[[Recap/StarTrekS3E19RequiemForMethuselah Requiem for Methuselah]]", where Spock had done a mind meld on Kirk, saying "[[LaserGuidedAmnesia Forget]]" in order to help ease his pain. Here he does a mind-meld with [=McCoy=] and instead says [[spoiler: "[[BrainUploading Remember.]]"]]
* TheCameo: Mr. Kyle, the Transporter Chief from ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', is the Communications Officer on the ''Reliant''--making him the only RedShirt known to have survived the five-year mission. (In fact, he even survived having been tossed aside by Khan in the transporter room in the [[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed original episode]].)
* CaptainObvious: When the ''Enterprise'' is trying to contact Regula One, Spock has this insightful comment, "There are two possibilities. They are unable to respond. They are unwilling to respond."
* CatScare: More like Rat Scare, but that's being picky. Bones is startled by a rat aboard Regula 1. While backing away from it, he bumps into a corpse hanging from the ceiling.
* CentralTheme: Regret, rejuvenation, sacrifice.
* CharacterAgedWithTheActor
** The film takes place 16 years after the last episode of the original series, and was made 13 years after said episode was made. Kirk's advancing age is a major theme of the film.
---> '''Kirk:''' There's a man out there I haven't seen in 15 years who's trying to kill me. You show me a son that'd be happy to help. My son! My life that could have been... and wasn't. How do I feel? Old. Worn out.
** On the other hand, Khan's followers (but not Khan himself) appear to be affected by ComicBookTime. None of them are played by the original actors from the television episode. There is speculation as to whether or not these are the same persons from "Space Seed", especially given the obvious difference between Joaquin ("Space Seed") and Joaquim (''Wrath of Khan''), who are said in Expanded Universe to be father and son, Joaquin having died in the intervening years. The relatively youthful appearance of Joaquim and the other Augments suggests that these are all the children of Khan's deceased original crew. The novelization and comic book of the movie, in contrast, posit that Khan has aged more rapidly than his followers due to TheChainsOfCommanding on what is essentially a DeathWorld.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: Spock, promoted to Captain and assigned as training instructor for a crew of cadets, has become more easygoing and patient than he was on the original series.
* ChekhovsGunman: [[JustForPun Punnily]], Chekov himself. The only member of the original crew to interact with Khan in the movie, he is tortured and manipulated by the latter to act against his former colleagues. It is therefore somewhat fitting that in the final showdown, it is he who [[spoiler:returns to the crew and fires the shots that fatally cripple Khan's ship]].
* TheChessmaster: Khan is remarkably intelligent and this is stated (and shown) many times throughout the film. His main flaw (besides {{Pride}}) is that he's not very good at [[IndyPloy thinking outside the box]], which happens to be Kirk's specialty.
* ColdbloodedTorture: What Khan does to the scientists on Regula I. It's [[UpToEleven even worse]] in the {{Novelization}}.
* ComicBookAdaptation: Due to the comic book rights being in limbo at the time (Creator/MarvelComics had cancelled its version a year earlier, and Creator/DCComics wouldn't launch its comic for nearly a year), this was the only original-crew film not to get a contemporary comic book adaptation. Fans had to wait nearly 30 years before IDW Publishing filled the void.
* ContinuityNod:
** As the movie is a sequel to "Space Seed," the entire film is one big one to that episode.
** The ''Enterprise'''s training cruise heads for the Gamma Hydra sector – the same location as the TOS episode [[Recap/StarTrekS2E12TheDeadlyYears "The Deadly Years"]]. In the TV episode, the aging of the command crew (and how to overcome it) drove the plot; here, it's subtext.
** After the first exchange, ''Reliant'' is forced to withdraw when Kirk's attack cripples their torpedo controls and warp drive, rendering them unable to return fire. It's established in ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' that the new phaser system channels power through the warp drive, therefore damage to that system cuts off power to the phasers.
* ConspicuousCGI: Mainly conspicuous in that audiences in 1982 hadn't seen anything like it before. The sequence in the Project Genesis demonstration video was the very first full computer-animated scene in a film ''ever'', and it actually still looks pretty good after all these years. The computer displays of the ''Enterprise'' and ''Reliant'' were also computer generated vector graphics.
* CoolStarship: The ''Miranda''-class U.S.S. ''Reliant'' and of course the original Lady E. [[WebVideo/RedLetterMedia Rich Evans]] pointed out that Khan managed to seriously cripple the ''Enterprise'' with a ''weaker ship'', whose main job was scientific.
* CreatingLife: The science team at Regula seem very excited about the Genesis Device; one can only assume they [[GenreBlind never read]] ''[[Literature/{{Frankenstein}} Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus]]''.
* CriticalStaffingShortage: The ''Enterprise'' is on a cadet cruise, with only vital systems manned by the cadets and a few senior staff supervising, and none of the science labs, or other stuff Starfleet usually has, active. The ''Reliant'' is similarly under-manned, with only Khan's dwindling number of loyal followers. Space Station Regula 1 is also on short staff, with David noting that everyone is on leave.
* CruelMercy: Khan doesn't kill Kirk when he has the chance, but instead leaves him marooned in the Genesis Cave, thinking him completely impotent and helpless there.
* CrypticConversation: With an incredibly obvious code. [[spoiler:"By the book", yes--but only selectively so.]]
* CulturedBadass[=/=]WickedCultured: Apparently even in the 23rd century there will be villains that read and quote Herman Melville, though, admittedly, Khan is from the 20th century.
* CurseCutShort: From [=McCoy=]: "You green-blooded, ''inhuman''..."[[note]][=McCoy=] gets to complete the phrase in ''Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock'', finishing with a "son of a bitch."[[/note]]
* DamageControl: The ''Enterprise'' is [[GenreBlind taken by surprise]] in the initial attack, but [[GuileHero Kirk and Spock]] are able to turn the tables and deal some swift damage to ''Reliant''. Both ships are forced to withdraw and effect repairs before they can fight again. In the final battle, both ships are again crippled (the ''Reliant'' from the devastating volley the ''Enterprise'' just delivered, and the ''Enterprise'' still from lingering damage from the very first encounter), and it is only a HeroicSacrifice by [[spoiler:Spock]] that allows them to survive.
* DangerRoomColdOpen: The ''Kobayashi Maru'' scenario is an UnwinnableTrainingSimulation, but we don't find that out until it's over.
* DareToBeBadass: [=McCoy=] when he visits Kirk on his birthday, advising him to stop moping about his age and seek out a command. Spock concurs separately, saying that anything other than command of a starship is a waste of Kirk's talents.
* DarkestHour: [[AndIMustScream "Marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet... buried alive. Buried alive!"]] [[spoiler:As it turns out, [[{{Irony}} the planet isn't dead. They're not even marooned.]]]]
* DarkerAndEdgier: Than ''The Motion Picture'' and much more than the series. With all the graphic injuries on display, it very likely would have gotten a PG-13 rating a few years later. And indeed, it's the only ''Star Trek'' film with a 15 certificate in the UK. Even ''First Contact'' is only a 12.[[note]]To be fair, the 12 certificate was not established until mid-1989. All video releases since 2002 have been rated 12.[[/note]]
* DeadSidekick: Joachim and [[spoiler:Spock]], at the end.
* {{Deconstruction}}:
** The subtitle of this movie could just have easily been ''The Deconstruction of [[TheKirk Kirk]]''. Most of the core traits associated with Kirk and their probable consequences in RealLife are pulled apart and examined. The adventurer who faces a problem on a weekly basis, solves it and promptly [[ResetButton forgets it ever happened]] is suddenly brought face to face with one of those problems from a decade and a half before, and discovers the consequences of his thoughtlessness can be [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge measured by the body count]]. The suave lady-killer with a girl in every port has to revisit the fact that one of his conquests (and it's implied that it's the only one he ever truly loved) has resulted in [[LukeYouAreMyFather a son he never had a chance to get to know]] and who hates him. His tendency to play fast and loose with the rules leads to his ship being crippled and a score of dead cadets, all of which could and should have been avoided by simply raising the shields, and his trait of [[TakeAThirdOption finding novel solutions to intractable problems]] ends the life of [[spoiler:his best friend and trusted right hand]]. It also shows what happens when you take the dashing, devil-may-care heroic adventurer, let him get old and put him in a desk job: a full-blown mid-life crisis.
--->'''Bones:''' Dammit, Jim, what the hell's the matter with you? Other people have birthdays! Why are we treating yours like a ''funeral''?
** There were shades of this in the previous film, ''The Motion Picture'', where it was shown that Kirk was clearly unhappy when he was anything other than being the captain of the ''Enterprise'', and was shown to be more grumpy than usual when things didn't fall into place the way he wanted them to be. While lost in the shuffle of the previous film, these elements are explored more thoroughly here.
* DidYouDie: Kirk quips, "Aren't you dead?" to Spock after the ''Kobayashi Maru'' scenario.
* DiesWideOpen: Joachim.
* DisappearedDad: Kirk knew about David, but kept his distance because of Carol's wishes.
-->'''Kirk:''' Why didn't you tell him?\\
'''Carol:''' How can you ask me that? Were we together? Were we going to be? You had your world and I had mine. I wanted him in ''mine''... not chasing through the universe with his father.
* DivingSave: As Captain Terrell is about to fire at David Marcus (Kirk's son), Lieutenant Saavik rushes forward and pushes David out of the way. As a result, Terrell's phaser blast kills a RedShirt scientist, one of David's colleagues.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything
** The barren moon featured in the Genesis demonstration tape bears a distinct resemblance to ''Franchise/StarWars''' Death Star; especially since it is mostly in shadow and what is most visible is a big crater that looks for all the world like the Empire's planet-killer laser dish. (Probably a ShoutOut as well, since [[Creator/IndustrialLightAndMagic ILM]] did the effects for this film as well.)
** And after the simulated Genesis run it gets replaced with an awfully familiar Blue Marble.
* DoomsdayDevice: Ironically, Genesis, if it falls into the wrong hands.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: [[spoiler:Khan and Spock]] get one each, activating the Genesis device and saving the ''Enterprise'' respectively.
* EightiesHair: [[http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/twokhd/twokhd0421.jpg Khan and his followers]] look like the entourage of a hair metal group.
* EmotionalTorque: You're not going to find many films that attempt what this film does with a popular franchise and still be regarded as a masterpiece. People say that Nicholas Meyer giving Kirk reading glasses ''saved'' ''Franchise/StarTrek''. Why? Because it works so well.
* EnemyRisingBehind: The ''Enterprise'' does this to the ''Reliant'' in the Mutara Nebula.
* MrFanservice: Khan has a lot of [[EyeCandy really pretty boys]] in his crew. And he's not exactly hard on the eyes himself!
* EverybodysDeadDave:
** When the ''Enterprise'' crew explore the remains of the Regula space station.
** When ''Enterprise'' blows the nacelle off ''Reliant'', Khan is left as the only survivor.
* EvilGloating:
** Put the freaking VillainBall down and [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim just blow him to bits]], Khan!
--->'''Khan:''' I deprive your ship of power, and when I swing around I will deprive you of your life! But first I wanted you to know who it was who had beaten you.
** Although he does actually want to see if he can threaten them into giving him the Genesis information first--whether he intends to use it as a weapon or as a way to create a new planet for himself and his followers is not certain.
** Lampshaded by [[OnlySaneMan Joachim]], who advises both [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim shooting Kirk straight away]] when the ''Enterprise'' shields are down, as well as retreating once they have Genesis and the ''Reliant'' has suffered damage. Naturally, Khan ignores him both times.
** Plays very well into both of Khan's flaws, ''wrath'' and ''pride''. He can't let Kirk live, but at the same time Kirk has to ''know'' that Khan was the one who beat him... which is ultimately what grants Kirk victory.
* EvilOverlord: [[TheChessmaster Khan]]. He ruled roughly 1/3 of the Earth, but was overthrown and went into exile like UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte, in a fictional late 20th century.
* ExplosiveInstrumentation: Played with. The UnwinnableTrainingSimulation has the consoles explode harmlessly whenever the operator is supposed to "die".
* FaceDeathWithDignity:
** [[spoiler:Spock]] straightens his uniform before facing his captain and friend for the final time.
** [[spoiler:Khan]] didn't exactly go out like a slouch either.
* FailedASpotCheck: The crew of the ''Reliant'' failing to notice that they're on ''the wrong planet'', related to the fact that they failed to notice another planet ceasing to exist due to a [[EarthShatteringKaboom Ceti Alpha VI–Shattering Kaboom]].
* FakingTheDead: Spock supposedly dies at the beginning of the film. [[spoiler:This scene was concocted hastily by Nick Meyer after hearing that spoilers had leaked about Spock dying in the film. To preserve the wham factor of Spock dying, the ''Kobayashi Maru'' and its disastrous aftermath was added to fool viewers into thinking that this was the "Spock dies" moment the spoilers meant.]]
* FalseFlagOperation: Khan and his crew using the hijacked USS ''Reliant'' to sneak up on the unsuspecting USS ''Enterprise''.
* FamousFamousFictional: "Newton, Einstein, Surak."[[labelnote:Who?]]Surak is the Vulcan philosopher who convinced them to abandon their ProudWarriorRace tendencies--and bloody, catastrophic wars--and turn to dispassionate logic instead. Those who wanted to keep the old ways became the Romulans.[[/labelnote]]
* FatalFlaw:
** [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The wrath of Khan]]. Like [[Literature/MobyDick Ahab]] [[ShoutOut before him]], his all-consuming desire for revenge on Kirk ultimately gets in the way of his better judgement and ends up destroying him.
** Kirk's hubris; his unshakable belief in his own ingenuity and command instincts. Therefore he's taken off guard by something that even raw cadet Saavik saw coming. And he arrogantly believes there's no such thing as a situation that he can't win. As his character develops throughout the film, he learns just how misguided he's been.
* FateWorseThanDeath:
** Creator/RicardoMontalban's monologue on the subject is just fantastic.
--->'''Khan:''' I've done far worse than ''kill'' you. I've ''hurt'' you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you, as you left me... as you left ''her''. Marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet... Buried alive... ''buried alive...''
** What Kirk suffers when Khan's last gambit with the Genesis Device forces [[spoiler:Spock to [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice himself]] to save the ship]]. "I've hurt you" indeed.
* FictionalDisability: Kirk has to wear antique reading glasses, because he's allergic to the drug that most people take to correct their vision.
* FixFic: A classic ''Franchise/StarTrek'' example, fixing an apparent continuity glitch--in the film, Khan and Chekhov recognize each other upon meeting. However, "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed Space Seed]]", the episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' in which Khan appears, is a first-season episode, and Creator/WalterKoenig did not join the cast of the show until the second season. The semi-official {{retcon}} (not explained in any of the shows or movies, but widely propagated by producers and actors in convention appearances) is that Chekov was on the ''Enterprise'' at that time, he just wasn't part of the bridge crew yet and thus didn't appear on screen. A very funny {{fanfic}} distributed in print ('zines, photocopies, etc.) not long after the movie came out expands on that, envisioning Khan and Chekov bumping into each other in the bathroom. Sillier versions have Khan vowing revenge on Chekhov for making him wait for the cubicle and/or using all the toilet paper (which is actually Walter Koenig's own joke).
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** To Spock, after the ''Kobayashi Maru'' scenario, where everyone but Saavik played dead:
--->'''Kirk:''' Aren't you dead?
** The movie is ''full'' of this. For example, Khan's chess set is a 2-D version (in the original series, Kirk was often seen playing 3-D chess), which points out Khan's difficulty in fighting in three dimensions (as a starship would), which helps lead to his defeat. Also, in Khan's quarters, you can see titles of books that Khan will draw inspiration from and frequently quote, including ''Literature/MobyDick''.
** Spock gives Kirk an antique copy of ''Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities''. Kirk quotes the iconic passage, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," asking Spock if he's trying to say something. Spock meant nothing by it, only saying that Kirk's birthday must be "the best of times." Naturally, what follows is "the worst of times."
** The closing lines of that book ("It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done before") also foreshadow the ending of the film, [[spoiler:as both works feature people who willingly sacrifice themselves so that others may live]].
** One of Bones's last lines foreshadows the plot of the next film:
--->'''Doctor [=McCoy=]:''' [[spoiler: He's not really dead. As long as we remember him.]]
* ForgottenPhlebotinum: This film introduces the Genesis device. The planet it creates disintegrates within a couple weeks, thus rendering it useless for its original purpose ({{terraform}}ing). But surely the heroes of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', and ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' might have found it useful as a handy-dandy instant [[SuperweaponSurprise Borg Cube Killer]]. This is [[AllThereInTheManual addressed in the novelizations]] of this movie and ''Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock.'' Vance Madison and Del March were actually the leading scientists on the project (and they can briefly be seen in the scene where they argue about what they should do; Vance is the quiet black man, and Del is the restless one with slightly shorter sleeves. Their roles were obviously pared down in editing to streamline the story and the project became "developed by Carol Marcus"), and Khan kills both of them when he raids Regula 1. By the end of ''Star Trek III'' the only person with any working knowledge is Carol, and she's vowed to keep it to herself, not that she could replicate the knowledge of Madison and March.
* GallowsHumor: After absorbing fatal amounts of radiation, [[spoiler:Spock tells Kirk that he never took the Kobayashi Maru, then asks, "What do you think of my solution?"]]
* GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke:
** Khan is a "product of late 20th century engineering" and the chief reason for TheFederation's [[NoTranshumanismAllowed policy against it.]]
** The Genesis Device is a literal genetic engineering (as well as {{Terraform}}ing) nuke.
* GenesisEffect: TropeNamer--the Genesis device turns a lifeless rock or cloud of gas into a living, breathing planet. And, if aimed at a living, breathing planet, it'll erase it entirely and create a brand-new living, breathing planet, making it also a potentially devastating weapon.
* TheGhost: Marla [=McGivers=]. Her death in the BackStory hangs over the entire film as the main motivation for Khan's tumble down the slippery slope of revenge.
* TheGlassesComeOff: Right before [[spoiler:the ''Enterprise'' takes out the ''Reliant'''s shields]]. [[TheKirk Kirk]] also tells Khan "I [[{{Pun}} see]] your point" as he does it.
* HamToHamCombat: Pretty damn literal example. And it's delicious. Creator/WilliamShatner and Creator/RicardoMontalban gloriously ham their way through the whole movie, taking big bites out of every piece of scenery they can along the way.
* HauntedHouse: The Regula space station after Khan has paid it a visit.
* TheHerosBirthday: Admiral Kirk's, which highlights his mid-life crisis.
* HeroicBSOD:
** Scotty, when his nephew is mortally wounded staying at his post after the ship suffers a surprise attack.
** Kirk, when [[spoiler:Spock dies]].
* HeroicBuild: Khan, and Creator/RicardoMontalban in RealLife.
* HeroicSacrifice:
** [[spoiler:Spock won't be coming home from this one.]] There are several examples of HeroicSacrifice in ''Franchise/StarTrek'', but this one is by far taken the most seriously and played the most straight. Even ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' takes this one seriously. That should tell you just how highly it's regarded.
** And again, Midshipman Preston:
--->'''Scotty:''' He stayed at his post... when the trainees ran...
* HeroicSelfDeprecation: According to Kirk, his own thinking that he can solve everything is the reason for Spock's death--except that Spock wouldn't be alive to ''teach'' him that lesson if Kirk ''hadn't'' been so confident in his ability to solve things in the past, and the fact that Spock's death had nothing to do with his action or inaction. In addition to the fact that he would oftentimes [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2237SaR75iw lapse into self doubt back then]]. By the end of the film, he learns to appreciate himself more.
* HeroicSuicide: While under Khan's MindControl, Captain Terrell is ordered to kill Admiral Kirk. Realizing he can't resist the order, he kills himself with his own phaser to save Kirk's life.
* HesBack: When Kirk appears on the ''Enterprise'' again after Khan attempts to maroon him on Regula.
-->'''Kirk:''' We tried it once your way, Khan. Are you game for a rematch?
* HesitationEqualsDishonesty: JustifiedTrope with Chekov reporting to the Genesis scientists. He's under mind control, and being fed lines.
* HideAndNoSeek: {{Lampshaded}} when Carol Marcus wants to have a private talk with Kirk without David or the others listening in.
-->'''Carol:''' David, why don't you show Dr [=McCoy=] and the Lieutenant our idea of food? ...\\
'''David:''' This is just to give us something to do, isn't it? Come on.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Khan, [[TooDumbToLive repeatedly]]. Despite his superior intellect, he fails to acknowledge that the crew of the ''Enterprise'' would be more familiar with how another Starfleet ship like ''Reliant'' works, especially after so many years (and the fact that Khan had never actually engaged in starship-to-starship combat before ''ever''!). Then he futilely blows himself up with the Genesis device, because he simply cannot imagine that anyone could possibly be smart enough to get the ''Enterprise's'' warp drive working again in time to escape the detonation. Had he listened to [[OnlySaneMan Joachim]] in the first place, he could have taken the ''Reliant'' and the Genesis device and [[TakeOverTheWorld carved out a nice empire for himself somewhere]]. Instead, every asset he gains is turned against Kirk, and ends up doing him far more harm than it does Kirk.
* HollywoodHacking: Actually handled fairly realistically. Khan wants Kirk to hand over all data regarding the Genesis Project, so he opens a network connection between ''Reliant'' and ''Enterprise''. Kirk and Spock take advantage of this to order ''Reliant''[='=]s computer to deactivate their [[{{DeflectorShields}} shields]], leaving her open to counterattack. It's even {{lampshade|Hanging}}d that it will only work if the supergenius who [[GrandTheftPrototype stole a starship]] didn't think to change the password on the computer.
* HolyBacklight: Kirk's entrance.
* HonorBeforeReason: Peter Preston stays at his post, saving a fellow engineer along the way.
* HostileTerraforming: Discussed. The Federation is trying to find a ''completely'' lifeless world to try the Genesis Device on so they avoid this, but it is quickly brought up that it would make a very effective weapon as the Genesis Device would overwrite any existing life present. [[FromBadToWorse Then Khan steals it]].
* HotBlooded:
** Khan suffers from this flaw. He's ''very'' intelligent, but he lets his {{Pride}} and desire for revenge get the better of him, causing him to make mistakes.
** Kirk and [[LikeFatherLikeSon David]].
** Saavik, by [[TheStoic Vulcan standards]], is prone to some quite emotional outbursts. She swears mildly and mutters under her breath about being in over their heads during the ''Kobayashi Maru'' sim, is visibly frustrated at her failure afterward, is quite bemused at human behaviour in general, and shows obvious, if subdued, grief at [[spoiler:Spock's]] death. In the {{novelization}} and the Franchise/StarTrekExpandedUniverse, this is explained by Saavik being half Vulcan and half Romulan.
* HotSubOnSubAction: The battle in the nebula is a spacefaring version of this, with the two ships groping around blindly until they catch a glimpse and fire off a few shots. Indeed, [[WordOfGod Nicolas Meyer]] mentions that in addition to ''HoratioHornblower'', he was also inspired by ''TheEnemyBelow''.
* INeverSaidItWasPoison: Chekov unintentionally reveals he and Terrell meant to beam down to Ceti Alpha VI.
-->'''Chekov:''' You lie! On Ceti Alpha V, there was life! A fair chance-\\
'''Khan:''' '''[[LargeHam THIS]]''' [[LargeHam is Ceti Alpha V!]]\\
''[some [[LargeHam hammy]] exposition later]''\\
'''Khan:''' You did not expect to find me. You thought this was Ceti Alpha VI. Ah... Why are you here?
* IdiotBall:
** When Carol calls Kirk to demand answers for why ''Reliant'' is trying to seize Genesis, she uses nothing but pronouns and vague statements ("they", "the order", etc.) which only serve to confuse Kirk, since he has no idea what she's talking about or any context. The signal is jammed eventually, but they converse long enough that Carol could have given some specific details if she only thought to do so. When Kirk subsequently runs into the ''Reliant'', which is mysteriously uncommunicative, he fails to connect the dots and associate the ship's odd behavior with Carol's earlier message about Genesis being taken.
** Acknowledged InUniverse when Kirk beats himself over his mistake that let Khan cripple the ship.
** Khan fails to recognize the incredibly simple code used by Kirk and Spock when discussing repair times.
** Carried by the Reliant crew as they mistake Ceti Alpha V for Ceti Alpha VI (imagine mistaking Earth for Mars), and by Chekov for not remembering that Khan was left on V.
* ImminentDangerClue: Chekov finds a buckle that says "Botany Bay" and instantly realizes they're on Khan's ship seconds before they're captured.
* IndyPloy: Kirk's quick thinking about hacking into ''Reliant'''s main computer using her command codes.
* InTheOriginalKlingon: "Do you know the old Klingon proverb that revenge is a dish best served cold? It is very cold... in ''spaaace''." (Who knew [[Literature/DangerousLiaisons Pierre Choderlos de Laclos]] was a Klingon?)
* InsufferableGenius: Khan.
* IntrinsicVow: Captain Terrell resists Khan's order to murder Admiral Kirk enough so that he can [[HeroicSuicide kill himself]] and save Kirk's life.
* IrrevocableOrder: Once the Genesis Device's countdown is started, it can't be stopped.
* IShallTauntYou: Kirk does it to Khan a couple of times.
** "I'm ''laughing'' at the 'superior intellect'." This was to infuriate Khan into making a mistake. It works.
** "...But like a poor marksman, you keep ''missing the target!''" Subverted in this case when Khan refuses to rise to the bait and decides to [[FateWorseThanDeath leave Kirk on the planetoid to rot]]. Khan might have taken the bait had Creator/RicardoMontalban's schedule allowed him to share production time with the rest of the cast. This is why Khan and his crew never interact with Kirk and his.
* ISurrenderSuckers: In the initial confrontation between the ''Enterprise'' and the ''Reliant'', Kirk pretends to accept Kahn's surrender demand. This is just a ploy to stall for time while his crew looks up the command codes for the ''Reliant''. Once found, he uses the codes to deactivate the ''Reliant'''s shields and force them to withdraw.
* ItHasBeenAnHonor: Implied and results in ManlyTears with "Do not grieve. It was... logical."
* ItsALongStory: Kirk's response to Carol asking him who Khan is. Considering they are trapped inside a moon, his son responds, "We appear to have plenty of time..."
* ItsWhatIDo: Same with ItHasBeenAnHonor.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Khan complains that no one ever bothered to check up on his crew after Kirk stranded them, so most of them died when Ceti Alpha VI exploded. As Chekov inadvertently reveals, the Federation didn't even realize the system was missing a planet or that Khan's crew were supposed to be on one of them. Since it's a small colony of dangerous megalomaniacs, created out of mercy, you'd think Kirk would have arranged for better oversight.
* JustThinkOfThePotential: The idiotically idealistic science team see Genesis simply as "instant terraforming, just add water", and consider it to be the ultimate salvation to problems of overpopulation and food supply. Plenty of other people (including [=McCoy=]) see an [[WeaponOfMassDestruction entirely different potential]]... one that doesn't even have the nasty side effects of other superweapons as it leaves verdant worlds behind in its wake[[note]]The subsequent film reveals that Genesis is actually useless as a terraforming tool, but nobody knew that during the events of this film with the possible exception of David[[/note]]. David at least seems [[FunctionalGenreSavvy aware]] of the Genesis Device's potential less-than-altruistic uses.
* KickedUpstairs: Kirk's promotion to Admiral (established in the previous film, though he briefly downgrades his rank voluntarily to captain for that mission) is explained. He accepted promotion willingly out of a feeling of being over the hill, and has to be talked into getting his command back by both Bones and Spock. (ExpandedUniverse and other media have suggested that Kirk voluntarily downgraded himself to captain for the duration of a second five-year mission with the Enterprise, however there is no actual indication of this on screen and certainly not in this movie, so as far as the film continuity is concerned, Kirk never lost the admiral ran he had at the start of StarTrekTheMotionPicture.)
* KillEmAll: In the opening ''Kobayashi Maru'' sequence, the TOS crew dies, except for Kirk, who is absent and unmentioned. Then a door opens, Kirk walks out of a cloud of light and smoke, everybody picks themselves up, and the viewers [[LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt realize they've been had.]]
%%* LampshadeHanging: Multiple examples.
* LargeHam: A double serving: Kirk and Khan in HamToHamCombat!
* ALessonInDefeat: Kirk learns that he can't always find a way to win when [[spoiler:Spock is forced to sacrifice his life to save the crew]].
* LikeFatherLikeSon: David. His EstablishingCharacterMoment has him attack Kirk under the [[MisplacedRetribution mistaken belief]] that Starfleet were the ones who tortured and executed their fellow scientists, showing that he's brash and hot-blooded. Remind anyone of someone we know, when he was younger?
* LittleNo: From [[LargeHam Kirk]], of all people, [[spoiler:when Spock dies]].
* LockAndLoadMontage: Commentary from the DVD's special features {{lampshade}} that much of this, particularly crewmen manually preparing the torpedo tubes and hand-loading them, makes absolutely no sense at all, but it [[RuleOfCool looks awesome]].
* LukeYouAreMyFather: Doesn't actually occur on screen, so the viewer is left unsure as to when David finds out who his father is. When David and Kirk first meet the former is extremely hostile to the latter, even going so far as to accuse Kirk of killing everyone at Regula. At the end of the movie, David and Kirk reconcile and he says he's proud to be Kirk's son. It's possible David knew all along and just refused to acknowledge it. The dialog makes it fairly clear that Kirk knows he's the father, but has obviously also never met David face to face before this film.
* MagicCountdown: Khan's "sixty seconds", since he's not going by exact times but is OK with delaying as long he perceives that Kirk really is complying and believes that he is about to get the Genesis info turned over to him (along with Kirk continually begging for more time on the grounds that battle damage has slowed the computer down), and Kirk's "We need warp speed in 3 minutes or we're all dead."
* ManHug: Kirk and David. Awwwk-waardd. [[note]] {{Justified|Trope}} in that this was a father and son who hadn't even heard of/seen each other until a day ago, and the latter hated the 'military type', until he saw he was wrong. Any way you cut it was going to be awkward. [[/note]]
* MathematiciansAnswer:
--> '''Saavik:''' May I ask how ''you'' dealt with the test?\\
'''Kirk:''' You may ''ask.''
** {{Lampshaded}} by Kirk after a confused look from Saavik: "Bit of a joke."
* MisaimedFandom: InUniverse. ''Literature/MobyDick'' is part of Khan's private library and he quotes Captain Ahab throughout the movie. Either Khan misses the point of the novel or [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation alternatively]], he understands the point of the novel completely and recognizes the parallels between himself and Ahab, but is so consumed by his rage that he doesn't care, or is just so arrogant that he believes that, unlike Ahab, he could slay his white whale without destroying himself and his crew. Also, it's possible that Khan knows he will die as a result of his actions, but he wants to [[TakingYouWithMe take Kirk with him.]] A "TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou" sort of thing.
* MobySchtick: From hell's heart Khan stabs at thee.
* MoralMyopia: Yeah, Khan, get really upset that Kirk hurt ''your'' crew on accident and forget that you hurt ''his'' crew ''on purpose'', right after they'd finished saving your hide. Chekov calls him on this, to no effect.
* MutualDisadvantage: Going into the Mutara Nebula means that both ships will be blind as Tiberian bats and without shields; the fact that ''Reliant'' is less damaged becomes practically negligible.
--> '''Spock:''' The odds will be even.
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg: A minor case when Kirk is about to beam to Regula I and Spock tells him to be careful, [=McCoy=] replies "''We'' will."
* MythologyGag: As noted above, how Kirk dealt with growing older was a major subplot of the movie. In the ''Kobayashi Maru'' test at the beginning, the simulated ''Enterprise'' was heading to the Gamma Hydra system; the TOS episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS2E12TheDeadlyYears The Deadly Years]]" (in which the ''Enterprise'' crew had to deal with rapid aging) took place there.
* NaiveNewcomer: Saavik quotes regulations by their number, only to be brushed off by Kirk. Subverted in that she had a pretty good point about the regulation regarding Federation vessels acting strangely.
* NeckLift: Khan does this to Chekov to show how badass he is, but he's really lifting him by a handle on the front of his spacesuit, not his neck.
* TheNeedsOfTheMany: The TropeNamer. This is essentially the reasoning why [[spoiler:Spock]] performed his HeroicSacrifice
* NeverGiveTheCaptainAStraightAnswer: [=McCoy=] not telling Captain Kirk that [[spoiler:Spock]] was dying from radiation poisoning. Justified in that he didn't want to rattle the whole crew in the middle of a life-or-death situation.
* NewMeat: Everyone on the ''Enterprise'' aside from the bridge crew is a trainee.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: ''Wrath of Khan'' is often praised for its fast-moving, intense space battles. This is unusual for ''Star Trek'' because all of the ship-to-ship combat in this movie is done ''without shields''--Kirk can't get the ''Enterprise''[='=]s shields up in time when Khan first attacks, and then hacks the ''Reliant''[='=]s computer to lower shields before retaliating; during the climax, conditions in the Mutara Nebula disable the shields of both ships. Conversely, ''Film/StarTrekInsurrection'' and ''Film/StarTrekNemesis'' have been criticized for having boring space battles, since they follow the normal style of ''Trek'' combat where ships gradually chip away at each other's shields before doing damage.
* NoKillLikeOverkill: Kirk vaporizes the brain slug with his phaser, when simply stepping on it probably would have worked. Then again, he's seriously pissed.
* NoManShouldHaveThisPower: Dr. [=McCoy=] immediately realizes that not only can Genesis create life on desolate worlds, it can easily [[ApocalypseHow eradicate life on hospitable worlds]] as a weapon of mass destruction. Spock initially believes [=McCoy=]'s overreacting, [[ProperlyParanoid until they find out Khan wants Genesis for himself]]. David Marcus also pointed out the same thing even before Khan got involved.
-->'''Spock:''' I do not dispute that in the wrong hands...
-->'''[=McCoy=]:''' "In the wrong hands"? Would you mind telling whose are the ''[[TooMuchForManToHandle right]]'' hands, my logical friend?
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Khan. An East Indian (sure) with a Mexican accent.
* NotImportantToThisEpisodeCamp: Until [[Film/StarTrek the reboot]], this was the only ''Star Trek'' film not to feature Klingon characters.
* NotSoDifferent: Carol admits this regarding Jim and David.
* NotSoStoic:
** Spock is clearly distraught when an anguished Scotty carries his badly burned, dying nephew to the bridge.
** Saavik is just about the most emotional Vulcan one will ever see. She gets visibly flustered and prickly when Kirk critiques her ''Kobayashi Maru'' test (and utters a "Damn!" ''during'' the test--highly uncharacteristic of Vulcans, as Spock {{lampshade|Hanging}}s in [[Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome later]] [[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry films]]). She also sheds a few tears during [[spoiler:Spock's funeral]]. A deleted scene points this out, with Spock offering a HandWave that she's half-Romulan. The novelization expands on this, describing Saavik as one of many half-Vulcan/half-Romulan children left to fend for themselves on a CrapsackWorld when the Romulan colony there was abandoned. She was never even exposed to Vulcan culture until adolescence, when Vulcans came to the planet and rescued her and her fellow half-breeds; therefore, she doesn't yet have the emotional mastery one would expect from a person who was raised with Surak's teachings from birth.
* NothingIsScarier: As mentioned above, the Battle in the Nebula at the end is not what you'd expect from two warships duking it out. It's slow, quiet, tense and ''very'' effective.
* OhCrap: Done several times.
** Chekov's reaction when he realizes what he and Terrell have stumbled upon.
--->"''Botany Bay''... '''''Botany Bay'''''?! Oh, ''no''! We've got to get out of here, ''now''!"
** Khan, when the ''Reliant'''s DeflectorShields go down.
---> "Where's the override? ''The override''?" [[note]]Not where you're looking, Khan.[[/note]]
** Most heartbreakingly, Kirk when he realizes what just happened to [[spoiler:Spock]].
* OnlyMostlyDead: Spock after the final battle.
* OnlySaneMan:
** Joachim seems to be the only one on Khan's crew rational enough to realize (and actually voice the opinion) that revenge against Kirk is silly, but unfortunately for him, Khan's too bent on his revenge.
** Lampshaded by Khan, who responds to Joachim's advice by quoting ''Literature/MobyDick'', specifically a speech showing Ahab's too obsessed to care about the consequences of his hunt. Khan acknowledges his desire for revenge is suicidal, and pushes himself anyway.
* OrchestralBombing: Music/JamesHorner is ''awesome''.
* OrificeInvasion: The worms that enter through the ear.
* OutGambitted: Khan thinks he's trapped Kirk on that planet, but Kirk used a coded message before to ensure his escape. Kirk takes that [[LargeHam extra step]] to convince Khan of the hoplessness of Kirk's situation as well.
* OutrunTheFireball: Or in this case, Outrun the Genesis Effect - the Genesis Effect works at light speed and just Warp 1 is faster than that.
* ParodyCommercial: Bones sarcastically enacts one in describing Genesis, to Spock's exasperation.
-->'''[=McCoy=]:''' [[TheBible According to myth, the Earth was created in six days]]. [[CreatingLifeIsBad Now watch out! Here comes Genesis! We'll do it for you in six minutes!]]
* PeekABooCorpse: Right after getting a [[CatScare Rat Scare]] while on Regula 1, [=McCoy=] turns around and finds himself face-to-face with a dead scientist, hung upside-down.
* PermissionToSpeakFreely: After the ''Kobayashi Maru''.
--> '''Saavik:''' Permission to speak candidly, sir.\\
'''Kirk:''' Granted.\\
'''Saavik:''' I don't believe this was a fair test of my command abilities.\\
'''Kirk:''' And why not?\\
'''Saavik:''' Because there was no way to win.\\
'''Kirk:''' A no-win situation is a possibility every commander may face. Has that never occurred to you?\\
'''Saavik:''' No, sir, it has not.
* PlotArchaeology: Khan has become such an iconic ''Star Trek'' villain that it's easy to forget that he was originally a one-episode character from the first season of the original series.
* PowerOfHate: Khan's rage and hatred give him the strength to launch one final TakingYouWithMe attack on Kirk and the Enterprise. As well as providing inspiration for some great last words (quoted from ''Literature/MobyDick'').
* PrecisionFStrike: Bones uses the curse "goddamn". This was the first time a word of this strength had been uttered in any Trek production, and the last until the sixth film.
** A behind-the-scenes example. Shortly after the first film was released, Harve Bennett was brought before a group of Paramount executives. Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner asked if he could make a better movie. Harve replied he could, and then Charles Bluhdorn replied "Can you make it for less than 45-fucking-million dollars?" Harve replied, "[[BadassBoast Where I come from, I could make five movies for that.]]"
* ProperlyParanoid: After watching the informational video on Genesis, [=McCoy=] immediately realizes that Genesis could also be used as [[HostileTerraforming a weapon of mass destruction]]. Spock thinks [=McCoy=]'s being his overemotional self. Then, they encounter [[TheSociopath Khan]], who wants Genesis for himself, and they become determined to prevent him from taking it.
* ProsceniumReveal: The entrance of Admiral Kirk ends the ''[[UnwinnableTrainingSimulation Kobayashi Maru]]'' test.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Khan. He is a Sikh after all.
* PublicSecretMessage:
** Spock tells Kirk on an open channel, "Admiral, if we go by the book, hours could seem like days". To anyone else, this might sound like a case of LawfulStupid, but Kirk, who'd been discussing regulations about coded messages with Spock earlier, knows that this means [[spoiler:to decode the next message, replace the word "days" with "hours"]].
** In RealLife, this counts as Roddenberry's second attempt to reconnect with his long lost UsefulNotes/WorldWarII buddy, Kim Noonien Singh.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis:
** A precursor to the [[Film/ThreeHundred former Trope Namer]] and so close to it, it almost counts as the TropeMaker to its TropeCodifier.
--->'''Khan:''' '''THIS.''' IS. CETI ALPHA ''FIVE!!!''
** After Kirk survives Khan's attempt to have Captain Terrell murder him in the Genesis Planet cave:
--->'''Khan:''' Kirk, you're ... still alive, old friend.\\
'''Kirk:''' ''Still! Old friend!''
** And later in the same conversation:
--->'''Kirk:''' Khan, you've got Genesis. But you don't have me! You were going to kill me, Khan. You're going to have to come down here. You're going to have to ''come. down. here.''
* PyrrhicVictory: Part of what makes Khan one of cinema's most respected villains is how much his actions cause Kirk to lose.
* RailingKill: It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it example, but during the ''Enterprise''[='=]s final attack on the ''Reliant'' an explosion in the latter ship's engineering section throws one of Khan's henchmen over the railings surrounding the warp core.
* RealityEnsues: David Marcus may be the son of James T. Kirk and he may be just as hot blooded as Kirk, but he clearly does not have his father's combat prowess, as Kirk disarms and overpowers him pretty easily after David ambushes him. [[spoiler:This would be taken to its logical, tragic conclusion]] in ''Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock''.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Khan's "prosthetic pecs"--no, Montalban just buffed himself up really well.
* RecycledInSpace: A 19th-century naval adventure ''IN SPACE''.
* RedAlert: The basis for the LockAndLoadMontage, complete with closeups on viewscreens flashing the RED ALERT message.
* RedRightHand: Khan never takes off his right glove, nor is it commented upon, but his removal of his left is a key part of his EstablishingCharacterMoment.
* RedShirt
** Subverted. [[DefiedTrope Screws with expectations by having every main character wearing red uniforms for most of the film]].
** A non-literal Redshirt is the member of the science station's crew who gets shot by a mind-controlled Terrell.
* RememberTheNewGuy:
** Khan meets Chekov and says he knows him because "I never forget a face." Which means that Chekov was on ship during "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed Space Seed]]," a first-season episode, despite the character not appearing on screen until the second season. Numerous explanations have been thrown about (he was on the ship, just not as bridge crew; Chekov was the officer in charge of delivering the supplies and food to Ceti Alpha V; an obvious joke about Chekov occupying a latrine Khan wanted to use), but ultimately it comes down to this trope.
** Another example is Doctor Carol Marcus, Kirk's old flame. They even a had a son together. [=McCoy=]'s aware of her, too (presumably from back in the day). And yet we're only hearing about her now, after all these years.[[note]]A popular fan theory is that the "little blonde lab technician" mentioned in [[Recap/StarTrekS1E3WhereNoManHasGoneBefore the second pilot episode]] of the series that Kirk "almost married" is Carol Marcus. This theory has received a ShrugOfGod.[[/note]]
* RepeatToConfirm: When Saavik is piloting the ''Enterprise'' out of Spacedock.
--> '''Saavik:''' Aft thrusters, Mr. Sulu.\\
'''Sulu:''' Aft thrusters.\\
'''Saavik:''' Ahead one-quarter impulse power.\\
'''Sulu:''' Ahead one-quarter impulse power.
* {{Retool}}: Director Nicholas Meyer made some changes, most notably making Starfleet like an actual navy and giving the crew uniforms which [[SpaceClothes looked less like a product of the 60's/70's]], sporting uniforms with a more classical and thus timeless look. So timeless, in fact, that they used those same uniforms for the rest of the ''TOS'' films and, in continuity, were used by Starfleet in some form up until 2350's, about 70 years after this film and 10 years before ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''.
* RevengeBeforeReason: Khan has this pointed out by his underlings, twice no less. They have a Federation starship, they can go ''anywhere''. Then they have Genesis ''and'' a Federation starship, so they can go anywhere and have a planet-killing bomb as insurance. Khan refuses to listen to this both times and proceeds with his plan of revenge. There's a reason he owns a copy of ''Moby Dick'' and routinely quotes Ahab.
-->'''Khan:''' He tasks me. He ''tasks'' me, and I shall ''have'' him. I'll chase him round the Moons of Nibia and round the Antares Maelstrom and round Perdition's flames '''''before I give him up'''''.
* RevengeMyopia: {{Lampshaded}}. After Khan explains his beef with Kirk, Chekov says, "Captain Kirk was your host. You repaid his [[SacredHospitality hospitality]] by trying to steal his ship and murder him!" Khan ignores the point. Neither does he consider that he owes his life to Kirk, on account of the fact that his ship almost certainly would have fallen victim to age sooner or later; a dozen of his fellow augments died from stasis malfunctions before the ''Enterprise'' even found them. Even their exile was an act of charity (even if it went horribly wrong); Kirk could have just dragged them all back to Earth for war crimes trials. But Khan has a NeverMyFault sort of mentality.
* RuleOfCool: The primary reason for the LockAndLoadMontage: There really isn't any ''reason'' why a 23rd century starship should require a dozen crewmembers performing manual labor to load a torpedo, but damn if it isn't ''awesome'' to watch. It's possible that the automated loading system was damaged in their first encounter with Khan so they had to resort to the human backup system, but this isn't stated in the film.
* RummageSaleReject: Khan and his followers wear clothing comprised from whatever they could cannibalize from the ''Botany Bay''.
* SacrificialLamb: Peter Preston is introduced in the Director's cut as Scotty's young nephew. He perishes in the line of duty during Khan's attack. Besides Saavik, he's the only trainee highlighted, and his death helps us view the deceased trainees as more than just RedShirts.
* SayMyName: '''''"KHAAAAAANNNNNN!!!"'''''
* ScareChord:
** Used with the PeekABooCorpse scene.
** The original soundtrack features a Scare Chord at the end of the track "Kirk's Explosive Reply", though it wasn't used in the movie itself.
* SceneryPorn: The cave inside the planetoid orbited by the Regula 1 station, and also the clouds of the Mutara Nebula.
* SealedEvilInACan: Khan Noonien Singh and his cryogenically frozen followers, when they're abandoned on Ceti Alpha V (which the crew of the ''Reliant'' mistake for Ceti Alpha VI after a natural disaster alters its orbit and destroys its environment).
* SealedGoodInACan: Khan attempts to do this, [[OutGambitted but Kirk has other plans.]]
* SelfDisposingVillain: Khan attempts to [[TakingYouWithMe take Kirk with him]]. It doesn't turn out as planned.
* SeparatedByTheWall: Spock inside the lethally radioactive chamber, with Kirk outside unable to do anything but exchange a few last words.
* SequelHook: So last minute, it isn't even reflected in the novelization of the movie: [[spoiler:Spock does not mind-meld with [=McCoy=], and his will specifically states ''he is not to be taken to Vulcan'']]. The novelization of ''Search for Spock'' simply {{retcon}}s in the former while attempting to justify the latter by saying Spock felt he was incompatible with the ritual.
* SequelReset: Kirk is back to being an Admiral again, only this time is one willingly out of a feeling of being too old to be captain, rather than being KickedUpstairs as TMP!Kirk was. It also reuses the BackInTheSaddle plot from the last one, but the results are much more tragic here.
* SeriesContinuityError: The most famous of which is Khan recognizing Chekov, even though the character wasn't in "Space Seed".
** When asked about this at conventions, Walter Koenig likes to tell a [[{{WordOfDante}} humorous story]] about how Chekov, then a lowly RedShirt, met Khan by using a restroom [[PottyEmergency Khan had much need of]]. Upon discovering that Chekov had [[ThisIsUnforgivable also depleted the toilet paper]], Khan cursed the poor ensign and declared he would [[CallForward never forget his face]].
** Koenig was joking, of course, but it's entirely possible that Chekov was a junior officer on the ''Enterprise'' at the time of "Space Seed", and only later got promoted to the bridge crew (and thus became an on-screen character). This is explicitly the case in the novelization: it describes Chekov having an encounter with Khan while still a junior officer assigned to the overnight watch on the bridge.
** The second season episode "Catspaw" features Chekov not at his usual navigator station but filling in at Spock's science station while Spock is off the ship. The stardates given in the episode (3018.2) place it before "Space Seed," (3141.9) providing on-screen evidence that Chekov was on the ship before Khan, but not yet assigned to the navigator post that would make him a regular fixture on the bridge. It should be noted, however, that it wasn't until Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration that stardate use was made consistently chronological (for example, there are a couple of StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries episodes with stardates ''higher'' than that of the first movie, yet clearly set before.
* ShabbyHeroesWellDressedVillains: Inverted. The crew of the Enterprise wear pristine uniforms while Khan and his men are [[RummageSaleReject rummage sale rejects.]]
* ShootTheShaggyDog: The whole point of "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed Space Seed]]" was that Kirk was giving the supermen a second chance to redeem themselves, allowing them to start their own colony on an uninhabited planet, with the intention to come back "in a hundred years" and see what kind of civilization would eventually develop from this "seed". Here we learn that in a mere fifteen years, it developed into a threat to the entire galaxy.
* ShoutOut:
** Multiple direct references to ''Literature/MobyDick'' and ''Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities'', the two books which represent Khan (irrationally obsessed with revenge) and Kirk (coming to terms with his own mortality).
** The concentric tubes of the Genesis control panel resemble the ones that Ripley uses to activate the self-destruct sequence in ''Film/{{Alien}}''.
** Two of the crates in the Genesis cave are marked for locations called [[Film/WhenWorldsCollide Bellus and Zyra]].
* ShownTheirWork:
** According to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe9qSLYK5q4 this short documentary]], the ILM team that put together the Genesis proposal scenes used the stars as actually seen from Epsilon Indi (a nearby K-class dwarf) as the background. The Sun is visible toward the end below the Genesis planet as an extra star in the Big Dipper.
** Harve Bennett, when given the reigns of the ''Star Trek'' franchise, had no experience whatsoever with it. So, one weekend he had a marathon session of watching each and every episode to bring himself up to date on the franchise. Keep in mind, he didn't watch it on videotape - he watched it on ''kinescope''.
* SkywardScream: A sort of BeamMeUpScotty, parodies always turn Kirk's "KHAAAAAANNNN!" into this. In the film itself it shows a level view of Kirk screaming into the communicator and then cuts to a shot of the planetoid's barren, cratered surface.
* SlobsVsSnobs: PlayedWith. Khan and his followers are the slobs, forced to scrounge together anything they could find after Ceti Alpha VI's destruction ruined Ceti Alpha V's environment. Kirk and Starfleet are the snobs, wearing clean, orderly uniforms, with the twist being the "snobs" are the heroes.
* SmallRoleBigImpact: Creator/RicardoMontalban once said that he almost passed on coming back for ''Wrath of Khan'' because, as it is written in the script, Khan is actually only onscreen for about fifteen total minutes over the course of the entire movie, and his actual spoken dialogue is pretty minimal as well when compared to the main characters. But then he realized, as he read the story, that Khan's ''impact'' on the other characters is present on ''every single page of the script'', and immediately agreed to reprise the role. (It's worth noting that Khan's name hadn't been put in the title yet.)
* SmartPeoplePlayChess: A chess set is one of the few creature comforts Khan and his followers had on Ceti Alpha V. This becomes a plot point later on. Khan may be TheChessmaster, but in the 23th century, they play ''three-dimensional chess''.
* SoapOperaRapidAgingSyndrome: Given the youthful appearance of Joaqim and the rest of Khan's followers (compared to Khan himself who clearly looks at least fifteen years older), there has been speculation that this group is actually not his original followers but their children, a concept used in the expanded universe novel "To Reign in Hell" by Greg Cox. [[note]]However, they clearly look more than fifteen years old. And even assuming that they began having children immediately after being exlied on Ceti Alpha V (which would be a foolhardy choice at best considering the initial work required to at least make the world livable), the oldest child born wouldn't be older than thirteen or fourteen.[[/note]] Conversely, the comics and novelization of the movie suggest that they are indeed Khan's original followers and that Khan himself has simply aged prematurely due to the immense stress of his situation (losing his wife and most of his crew while having to fight to keep the survivors alive for 15 years on a DeathWorld).
* SpaceClothes:
** Semi-averted. The badass maroon jacket and department-colored turtleneck combo is a million steps up from TMP's Starfleet pastel pajamas.
** Played straight with Khan and the other augments' wardrobe, as well as the Regula scientists' uniforms.
** Khan and his followers' clothes were supposed to look like they had been scavenged from whatever fabrics they could find, which is why their outfits are more RummageSaleReject than an actual uniform.
* SpaceClouds: The Mutara Nebula.
* SpaceIsAnOcean: More pronounced than ever before, as the movie is essentially a naval combat movie InSpace, but comes with a LampshadeHanging, as well as a famous aversion, where the main characters take advantage of the fact that the villain believes this trope, but they know better.
-->'''Spock:''' His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.
* SpaceMines: In the UnwinnableTrainingSimulation that starts off the movie, the ship the ''Enterprise'' needs to rescue was disabled by a gravitic mine.
* TheSpock: Naturally. Quite notable here, however, in what Spock's [[spoiler:HeroicSacrifice]] said about how this archetype should be written. That "cold Vulcan logic" that [=McCoy=] is always harping on Spock about applies to his [[spoiler:''own'' life]] as much as anyone else's... and he doesn't hesitate even for a moment when applying it.
* StockFootage:
** Much of the SceneryPorn of the ''Enterprise'' from ''The Motion Picture'' was reused to help stretch the budget, specifically several flybys and scenes involving the spacedock.
** The original teaser trailer features the ''STTMP'' blue '''Enterprise'' going into warp' effect shot. The warp shots made for ''STTWOK'' (and following movies) are more subdued.
** The Klingon ships in the ''Kobayashi Maru'' simulation are the same ones that attacked V'ger in the first movie. Of all the reused footage, this one makes the most sense, as we already saw that Starfleet had recorded footage of the V'ger incident.
* StockPhrase: In the Genesis Cave sequence, right after Kirk asks if there's anything to eat,
-->'''[=McCoy=]:''' How can you think of food at a time like this?![[note]]As Kirk replies, first order of business is ''survival'', Doc.[[/note]]
* TheStoic: We get a twofer with Spock and Saavik as the Vulcan officers. For bonus points, Spock's experience-tempered calmness contrasts with the younger Saavik's relative [[HotBlooded Hot-Bloodedness]]; Saavik gets visibly flustered and swears in frustration (if rather [[DeadpanSnarker deadpanned frustration]]) during the film's opening scene.
* StoryArc: This is the beginning of a storyline that continues into ''Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock'' and ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome''. Arguably beyond.
* TakeAThirdOption: {{Deconstructed}}. See AnAesop above.
* TakingYouWithMe: Khan, at the end, attempts to destroy Kirk and the ''Enterprise'' by detonating the Genesis device.
* TechnologyPorn: The Genesis effect is so spectacular, that it was seen fit to be reused it for two more movies, as a visual side to exposition and recapping of said device.
* TemptingFate: Mercifully subverted for the ''Enterprise''. When going over how they're going to disable ''Reliant'' using the prefix code, Spock feels it necessary to note that Khan might have changed it. Fortunately fate lets this one slide, else the movie would have ended there.
* ThemeMusicPowerUp: No less than ''three''.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: Kirk phasers a Ceti eel, vaporizing it, even though his foot would have worked equally well.
* TimeBomb: When Khan activates the Genesis device on the ''Reliant'', the ''Enterprise'' has four minutes to get away before it detonates, but it can't reach a safe distance unless the warp drive is repaired....
* ToThePain:
** The fate Khan thinks he's given Kirk.
** Before that, Khan goes into excruciating detail to Terrell and Chekov about what the Ceti eels do to their hosts.
--->'''Khan:''' You see, their young enter through the ears, and wrap themselves around the cerebral cortex. This makes the host very susceptible to... suggestion. Later, as they grow, follows madness... and death.
* {{Troll}}: Spock orders the inexperienced Saavik to take the ''Enterprise'' out of drydock, knowing it would make Kirk nervous to stand by and watch her.
* TryAndFollow: Kirk [[IShallTauntYou mocks]] Khan to goad him into following the ''Enterprise'' into a nebula, counting on Khan's {{Pride}} to override his better judgment, as the gambit is a very obvious trap.
* TwoDSpace: Both used (for filmmaking purposes) and inverted (for story purposes).
-->'''Spock:''' He's intelligent, but inexperienced. His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.
** The above was foreshadowed by showing Khan in possession of a two-dimensional chess set.
* TheUbermensch:
** Khan would like to think he is. In reality, he's [[SanitySlippage gone half-mad]] since being marooned on Ceti Alpha V.
** Even without that, Khan and his followers were part of a group of genetically enhanced children that ''did'' manage to seize control of over forty nations simultaneously, are superhumanly strong, and most likely with enhanced intellect to back that up. It's heavily implied that had Khan not been half-mad, he would have been an even greater threat.
* UnknownRival: Kirk knew about Khan, but had honestly believed that all issues between them had been settled fifteen years prior and hadn't spared much thought for the man since the last time they'd met. Which makes it rather surprising to him when Khan turns out to have been nursing a grudge for fourteen of those years and is now in a position to seek revenge.
* UpgradeVsPrototypeFight: This is often overlooked: in [[Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture the previous film,]] the ''U.S.S. Enterprise'' had just completed a massive refit using updated technology. The ship was entirely rebuilt, [[FlawedPrototype effectively making it a totally new ship.]] The ''U.S.S. Reliant'' is [[SuperiorSuccessor effectively an upgrade, using all of the same technology without the bugs of the old design.]] Even more, it has [[MoreDakka more guns, including a twin rear mounted photon torpedo, and a pair of oversized phaser cannons.]] It fits all of this in a space [[PintsizedPowerhouse less than half the size]] of the ''Enterprise''.
* UnwinnableTrainingSimulation: The ''Kobayashi Maru'' test. Kirk is the only Starfleet cadet ever to have beaten it, and his method was--by his own admission--as unorthodox as it was unauthorised.
* AVillainNamedKhan: Khan Noonien Singh is the BigBad.
* VillainousBreakdown: In response to Kirk's BatmanGambit.
-->'''Kirk''' (over comms, condescending): Khan. I'm ''laughing'' at the superior intellect.\\
'''Khan (simmering with rage):''' ...full impulse power.\\
'''Joachim:''' No, sir! You have Genesis, you can have anything you wa--\\
'''Khan:''' '''FULL POWER, ''DAMN YOU!'''''
* WalkingBackwards: While exploring the raided space station at Regula 1, [=McCoy=] gets a CatScare when a rat scuttles past behind him. Instead of turning and continuing forward, [=McCoy=] walks backward for a bit, and ends up backing straight into a PeekABooCorpse.
* WeaponOfMassDestruction: The Genesis Device, as a side effect of its primary purpose of {{Terraform}}ing. It instantly fills a world with new life--whether or not there's any life already on the world.
* WhamLine:
** In-universe as well as to the audience (at least, those who saw "Space Seed"), near the beginning:
---> '''Chekov:''' ''[reading ship's name on seatbelt]'' Botany Bay... ''[[OhCrap Botany Bay]]''... oh no...
** As with the above, there's another towards the end that serves to shock the characters and the audience:
---> '''Kirk:''' He'll die!\\
'''Scotty:''' Sir, he's dead already.
::: Reportedly this was to be [=McCoy=]'s line, but [=DeForest=] Kelley couldn't bring himself to say this variant of his CatchPhrase, so it was given to Scotty.
* WhamShot: Kirk hears the following from [=McCoy=]:
--> '''[=McCoy=]:''' ''[over comms]'' Jim... I think you better get down here.\\
'''Kirk:''' Bones?\\
'''[=McCoy=]:''' Better hurry. ''[Kirk looks to Spock in confusion, only to see an empty chair]''
** And the entire audience has an OhCrap, realizing, [[TearJerker yes, we're really going there.]]
* WhiteGloveTest: Captain Kirk does this in the engine room inspection.
* WholePlotReference: Loosely, to ''Literature/MobyDick'', from the perspective of the whale.
* WindowLove: Kirk and Spock, just before Spock dies.
* WithMyDyingBreathISummonYou: Khan does this before activating the Genesis device. It's not technically a summoning, but it follows pretty much the same form.
* TheXOfY: ''The Wrath of Khan.''
* XanatosSpeedChess: Kirk plays without a net. Don't look down.[[note]]Though, without Spock's mention of Khan's SpaceIsAnOcean tendency, he probably would have lost.[[/note]]
* YouExclamation: David upon seeing Kirk, before attacking him.
* YouSaidYouWouldLetThemGo: Done preemptively when Kirk asks Khan for proof that Khan will honor their deal to trade himself and Genesis for the lives of his crew. Khan bluntly points out that he hasn't and won't give any such assurances, as Kirk has no other choice (so far as Khan knows) than to hope Khan keeps his word.
* {{Zeerust}}:
** Khan's followers and their clothing, CRT displays plus physical buttons on the bridge console, and how David wears his sweater.
** The (apparently operational) 1970s UsefulNotes/CommodorePET in Kirk's apartment is actually part of his antiques collection, and thus doesn't technically count.[[note]]It should be noted that Creator/WilliamShatner was the promotional face of Commodore (particularly the VIC-20 ad campaign) in the early '80s, and would try to sneak CBM products into many projects in which he was involved...[[/note]]
** Moderately averted by the Genesis simulation. While it's clearly CGI, it still holds up as ''good'' CGI.
----