Sure enough, Starfleet has donned commissar uniforms in the wake of Nero's rampage, their phasers now look like Desert Eagles, and the theme is counterterrorism. Because topical.
Well, okay. I'm game. I'm all for The Federation succumbing to more hawkish elements and becoming corrupt. The problem is that nothing changes by the end: Violence really does save the day, as Kirk acknowledges in his hollow eulogy. It's just eerie, because everybody is saying these things in-character. Kirk's crew members are still carrying on the background, delivering their catchphrases, and slowly, it dawns on everyone that they're in the wrong movie. One by one, they voice concerns over the Enterprise
, essentially, arming the Taliban and carrying out clandestine assassinations. Scotty is distraught over his ship being armed to the teeth and resigns. Spock voices his moral objections, and is ignored. Kirk acts so contrary to his own character, he literally has a nervous breakdown!
Because this is post-Michael Bay Hollywood. Stupid NCIS banter. "Heroes" who hate each others' guts and prey on their girlfriends. Military porn. Villains straight out of Tom Clancy's fever dreams.
So, that unpleasantness aside, I don't think Into Darkness
is a particularly good or even competent movie. Bones has to cut a red wire before the bomb counts to 00:01. The villain gives a self-justifying rant with violins. Another bad guy can't fire on Enterprise
because his daughter snuck aboard. There are some cool set pieces, like Kirk and Scotty navigating a spinning Enterprise
corridor, but then we cut and they're out of danger without any explanation. And through it all, Kirk never has any clue what is going on, and just reacts to things.
Yeah, it really adds a lot of suspense when the villain is smarter than the hero by miles.
Kirk is reckless to the point of parody, and try as Chris Pine might to make him endearing - especially in the beginning when Kirk is gushing about exploration - he is sabotaged by stupid writing. The movie ends with Enterprise
) embarking on the five-year mission. Hopefully, we're leaving this half-baked Jack Bauer crap far behind.