YMMV: Star Trek Into Darkness


  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Admiral Marcus as a Well-Intentioned Extremist. He figured that the exploration-focused Starfleet would not be able to win a war against the Klingons, a war he thought was inevitable (and may or may not actually be). He was only doing what he thought was necessary to ensure the Federation's survival. It's not even really that much of an Alternative Character Interpretation - the guy just ends up tapping the Moral Event Horizon when he opts to try and murder Kirk and the entire crew merely for having Khan in their custody, along with other acts.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The Villain Episode comic book tie in reveals that Khan had plastic surgery done so he appeared to be white, as opposed to Indian, his natural heritage.
    • Kirk getting reprimanded for his actions towards the beginning also qualifies. Turns out that when you're a cocky, inexperienced captain of a starship who keeps breaking the rules, you eventually get removed from command.
    • Due to the disastrous handling of the extras for the Blu Ray release, Paramount is now offering a new box set, which includes the IMAX scenes in the film and loads of special features. It also includes the 2009 film with all of the goodies from the 3 disc set as well. They are also working on offering a discount for owners of original Into Darkness discs as well.
  • Awesome Music: Well, all of it, but special mention goes to the ultimate Tear Jerker, "Buying the Space Farm".
  • Base Breaker: James T. Kirk. While most will agree he had good character development over the course of the two movies, many more will debate whether said development is enough to actually make him a credible Captain. By the conclusion, a lot were arguing that it would've made more sense for Spock to be Captain instead.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Often brought up by critics discussing the film's flaws. Carol Marcus is in her underwear for only one short clip which only lasts a few seconds: she changes clothes, Kirk peeks, we see. Blatant Fanservice that could have been left on the cutting room floor without affecting the plot at all? Yes, no doubt. But, based on what critics say, one would think she did nothing but run around in her underwear for the entire film.
  • Better on DVD: Kirk's Character Arc works best when watching the two films back-to-back. into Darkness makes several Call Backs to Kirk's previous conflict with Spock, especially when it comes to his coming to terms with his own mortality during a "No-Win Scenario." A lot of this got missed, especially considering there was a 4-year gap between the release of both films.
  • Broken Base:
    • Was Khan's casting worth it to see Benedict Cumberbatch's acting talent, or was it pointless whitewashing of a famous person of color role?note  Does the casting of a white actor in the role of Khan really warrant the cries of "OMGRACISM" or are people just overreacting?
    • Is the film essentially a remake of previous Star Trek films or merely an homage?
    • Was Kirk's Disney Death believable (setting aside how unlikely it is they would kill off a main character in the first place) or wasn't it?
  • Cargo Ship: Kirk and the Enterprise, of course.
  • Contested Sequel: There's a lot of debate amongst the fandom over this film borrowing elements from the older Star Trek films, Khan being the main villain and now white, and Kirk's 5-minute death.
  • Critical Dissonance: Into Darkness is currently sitting at an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus from the critics being that it is a very good, but not as good followup to the first film. Fan reactions have been mixed: some agreed; some thought it was an Even Better Sequel; and one Star Trek convention voted it the worst Trek film of all time. Yes, even more than Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: John Harrison, natch. Some people actually hoped that Harrison would pull a Heel-Face Turn. Oh and he even wears leather pants.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The Random Cool Hair Red Shirt Girl, whose name isn't even given. But she has cool hair. The ongoing IDW comic series has retconned her to be this universe's version of Yeoman Zahra... somehow.
  • Evil Is Cool:
  • Evil Is Sexy: With Benedict Cumberbatch playing the Big Bad, this was inevitable.
  • Faux Symbolism: In a movie all about the cycle of violence and the difference between justice and revenge, the super-ship which Khan takes control of is named the USS Vengeance for crying out loud. If Harrison had anything to do with the actual naming, this would probably put Admiral Marcus into Too Dumb to Live.
  • Foe Yay: We can also add this in with Harrison and Kirk or Spock as well.
  • Fridge Horror: At the end of the film, the Vengeance crashes into San Francisco in the middle of the day, destroying a fair chunk of the city and likely killing tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people. The movie doesn't dwell on or address this at all.
    • One year later, Kirk speaks at a memorial service for all of Harrison's victims. Presumably the San Francisco victims are included.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Leonard Nimoy's final appearance in the franchise centers around Spock Prime being reminded of his own death.
  • Hell Is That Noise: In contrast to the smooth tones of a typical Federation vessel's warp drive, the Vengeance has a harsh buzzing noise. Strangely enough, some audiences also found the noise to qualify as Most Wonderful Sound.
  • Ho Yay: Kirk and Spock. No surprise, since their friendship has been fueling shippers for years. But Spock looks genuinely distraught seeing Harrison hurt Kirk, and flat-out goes on a pre-Surak Vulcan style Roaring Rampage of Revenge when Kirk dies.
  • It Was His Sled: Though it also overlaps with I Knew It, it has quickly become common knowledge that John Harrison is Khan.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks:
    • The damaged and fiery Enterprise falling to Earth in posters and trailers garnered responses along the lines of "Oh great, they're blowing up the Enterprise ... again." However, The Enterprise is able to get back on its feet before it crash lands. The ship that does crash, however, was the USS Vengeance, piloted by Khan.
    • Khan being the main antagonist.
    • The role reversal of Kirk and Spock during the climax.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: There's a comic coming out in October regarding Harrison's past called Star Trek: KHAN. Pretty blatant example, eh?
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Spock dying at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was just plausible enough that the viewers might believe it would stick (partially because, at the time, it was believed WoK would be the last Trek film). When this film plays that scenario out with Kirk dying instead, no one believes it will stick. Especially not after introducing a convenient Healing Phlebotinum.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Harrison plays just about everyone with ease and style. And then it's revealed that he's Khan, one of the franchise's most magnificent villains.
    • If it wasn't for the fact that he was a Smug Snake, Admiral Marcus could count. His entire plan (get Kirk to kill Khan with his torpedoes while also getting rid of his crew, sabotage the Enterprise and then destroy it to make it look like the Klingons did it) to jump start a war with the Klingons is actually pretty intricate and risky. If Kirk had just done what he was told, Marcus could have gotten what he wanted.
  • Memetic Mutation: Comparing Khan crushing Marcus' skull with the scene in Game of Thrones where the Mountain crushes Oberyn's skull.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: The producers of this film found themselves facing unexpected criticism from the Sikh community that was really looking forward to the film's villain, Khan Noonien Singh, played by a Sikh actor. Of course, the producers wanted to avoid the Unfortunate Implication of non-white character being a villain, but the Sikh noted that the character is such a classic Magnificent Bastard and Tragic Villain who physically and mentally outclasses any white man that it was a disappointment he was played by a British actor.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • If his plot to start a war with the Klingons didn't do it, Admiral Marcus definitely crosses the line with the revelation that he never intended to spare the Enterprise or her crew, no matter what Kirk said or did.
    • John Harrison/Khan has several possible MEH's:
      • Manipulating Thomas Harewood into blowing up himself and a Starfleet institution by curing his daughter's condition.
      • Attacking a gathering of Starfleet officers, killing Admiral Pike in the process.
      • Attempting to murder the Enterprise crew after his people were returned to him (or so he thought), at a point where none of the crew posed any threat to him.
      • Setting the fatally damaged Vengeance on a collision course with San Francisco after believing that his crew had been killed.
  • Narm/Narm Charm: As is the tradition with Star Trek, there are scenes that worked for some people and failed for others.
    • Spock's exclamation of "KHAAAAAN!" during the finale.
    • Many found Kirk's dramatic failed attempt to beat an increasingly confused Harrison on Qo'noS hilarious.
    • The Klingons redesign look more like Psychlos wearing a trenchcoat.
    • Harrison's scream when Spock attempts the Vulcan nerve pinch on him during their fight.
    • Some of Cumberbatch's facial expressions can look comical, like his impression of the Grinch here.
    • The extremely clumsy set-up of a Chekhov's Gun, where McCoy working on a dead tribble is randomly shoved into the middle of a completely unrelated scene.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Noel Clarke is onscreen for all of five minutes, has virtually no dialogue, and dies before the plot fully kicks off, but he makes quite an impression.
    • Leonard Nimoy's one scene is very short and a bit of a Plot Hole, but most audiences loved it so much they hardly even noticed.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Since the release of the film, Admiral Pike has become a go-to villain for many fanfics.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    "Everything he says is true: The Klingons are coming, they do need Khan, and that's that. It's just that hes going to sacrifice the entire Enterprise to get the job done, because the Enterprise started to believe Khan. But if the Enterprise had not believed Khan and had done what Marcus said, then there'd be no movie, and everything would be cool. But the great writing in this is that the Enterprise wakes the dude up and listens to his game, and then everything goes to crap. But that's the Enterprise's hubris. That's them. They screwed up, not Marcus. Anyway, sorry to go off there. I just hate that."
    • On the flipside, John Harrison/Khan gets a lot of this due to his sympathetic motivations to save his crew from Marcus. Throw in Benedict Cumberbatch's charismatic performance, stylish threads, booming voice and we've got a full blown example here.
  • Ship Tease: Between Carol and McCoy, when Kirk drafts Bones into helping her open one of the torpedoes.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Kirk's closing speech, in which he states that no matter how intimidating or threatening our enemies may be, you do not give in to the same fear and hatred they live by. It's not very subtle, and different viewers have different ideas about its effectiveness, but the message underneath is sound.
  • Stoic Woobie: Dr. Carol Marcus discovers that her father is at the head of a conspiracy to start a galactic scale war, is transporter-kidnapped by him so she can't stand in the way of his attempt to murder the entire crew of a Federation ship (which she is forced to watch helplessly from his side), has her leg broken by Khan, and then watches him brutally murder her father. She holds up remarkably well given what she goes through.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Many fans called the first teaser too dark, edgy, and action-packed for a "proper" Star Trek film. This has generally been a criticism since the Abramsverse began.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks:
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Enterprise vs. Vengeance. Yes the Vengeance totally outperformed the Enterprise in virtually every area, but that's no excuse not to have an actual starship battle between the two; in fact, it would have made for a great David vs. Goliath scenario, in which Kirk and company would have to come up with elaborate strategy (much like hiding in the Mutara Nebula) to overcome this monster. The fact Vengeance was meant to be a dark, militarized counterpart to the Enterprise would have made such a battle all the more fitting.
    • Given the character arcs of both Kirk and Spock, a surprising number of fans were actually shocked that Spock didn't up remaining Captain of the Enterprise. This ended up becoming a major criticism with those who felt that Kirk didn't necessarily deserve to be Captain.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Having Benedict Cumberbatch play someone with a specifically non-white ethnicity ( the originally dark-skinned Khan). This article goes into detail about the impact this decision has on Star Trek and in the context of whitewashing. Ironically, Orci wanted to avoid other unfortunate implications - see Values Dissonance below.
  • The Untwist:
    • Long before the movie came out it was speculated that Khan was going to be the villain. When Harrison revealed his true identity as Khan a lot of people were not surprised.
    • Many Trek fans who had watched "Space Seed" knew exactly what was in those torpedoes the moment the number 72 was uttered. In addition, a large number of filmgoers who were aware of how much the film was borrowing from The Wrath of Khan caught on to the fairly evident foreshadowing with the Tribble and correctly assumed both that the engine scene would be repeated and that Khan's blood would be used to revive the victim. Between these three untwists, many Trek fans complained of the film being predictable.
  • Values Dissonance: Khan's Race Lift was because of this. Had Khan — whose name might suggest that he is Muslim — been cast by an Indian or Middle-Eastern actor, "John Harrison's" overtly terrorist actions may have led to further Unfortunate Implications with the character.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Even if Section 31 of Starfleet Intelligence is a bunch of Well-Intentioned Extremist Secret Police imperialists, how could they be so stupid as to threaten to kill the family of the amoral superman who at one point had conquered a quarter of Earth.
    • Kirk falsified his Captain's Log and failed to inform his by-the-book second officer that he had done so or what he said instead. Oddly enough he seems convinced Spock stabbed him in the back by not guessing this.
    • Great work on storming the bridge of the Vengeance, Kirk! I'm sure that one stun round will be more than enough to incapacitate the genetically enhanced, virtually unkillable super soldier whom you already know is capable of enduring a beatdown that would cripple a normal man. Sure, he didn't have a lot of other options, but he could at least have gone for a double tap.
    • Admiral Marcus for thinking he could control a man who was basically an emperor in his own time period.
  • The Woobie: Thomas Harewood. The man's daughter is dying, he's helpless to save her, and he winds up being manipulated by Harrison into killing himself and dozens of others in a suicide bombing in exchange for his daughter being cured.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: The Race Lift. As mentioned, intentional on the part of the filmmakers. Having said that, Cumberbatch's performance was almost unanimously praised and/or anticipated, even from people (like George Takei) who criticized his casting.