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Film / Star Trek (2009)

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"Space... the final frontier."

Spock: I would cite regulation, but I know you will simply ignore it.
Kirk: See? We are getting to know each other.

The one where... we go back to the beginning... with Lens Flare — Lots. And Lots. Of Lens Flare.

Star Trek is the eleventh movie in the Star Trek film series, released in 2009.

The Film of the Series and partial Continuity Reboot from Lost creator J. J. Abrams featuring the characters from Star Trek: The Original Series played by a new cast and is set in an Alternate Timeline during the time period of The Original Series. Alternatively called J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, Star Trek 2009/'09, Star Trek: The Future Begins (even though that "subtitle" is actually the tagline), and Star Trek XI/11 to keep confusion in check with the other Trek films.

In 2233, The Federation starship Kelvin comes across a "black hole"-like spatial phenomenon near a distant sun. Emerging from it is a massive ship called the Narada captained by a Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana). Nero kills the Kelvin's captain, and deploying weaponry vastly superior to that of the Federation ship, the Narada forces the Kelvin crew to abandon ship, with many crewmembers lost. While the survivors flee the devastating battle, a young boy is born amongst them: James Tiberius Kirk, son of the first officer of the Kelvin (Chris Hemsworth), who sacrifices himself and the ship to buy time for his crew's escape. This incident ultimately sets a new series of events in motion; one of them being James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) growing up an angry, rebellious young adult until he is recruited by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) to join Starfleet.

As Kirk makes waves at Starfleet Academy, the Narada and Nero emerge again after years in hiding. The Federation scrambles its fleet to confront the warship, deploying the flagship Enterprise, commanded by Pike, for the first time. All the rest of the fleet is destroyed, with the Enterprise only surviving due to a brief delay in getting to the battlefield. When the Enterprise engages the Narada, Pike is taken hostage. When they learn the Narada is from the distant future and begin to put together the events that lead to that future, it falls on Kirk and Spock (Zachary Quinto) to overcome their initial mistrust of each other and on the ship's green, hastily put-together crew of cadetsnote —(the young TOS characters)—to somehow save the day.

The first theatrical Star Trek film to feature any of the original characters in 15 years. Released seven years after 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis (the biggest gap between films to date) from which it takes a major Tone Shift and, believe it or not, to which it is also a loose Stealth Sequel.

Star Trek is the first entry in what has been officially dubbed the "Kelvin Timeline" that continues with the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness and the 2016 sequel Star Trek Beyond.

Character tropes go on to the Characters Sheet.

This film provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A–B 
  • Abandon Ship: Robau's final order before surrendering himself to Nero and making George Kirk the captain is to evacuate the Kelvin if he doesn't return. This ends up happening when Nero kills him and resumes attacking the Kelvin.
  • Abusive Parents: Kirk's stepfather, Frank, is implied to have been if not abusive, then at least obnoxious.
  • Accidental Pervert: Kirk gets knocked onto Uhura during a fight, and accidentally puts his hands on her breasts to steady himself. He smirks; she pushes him off.
  • Accidental Time Travel: Spock's artificial black hole managed to send himself and the Narada back from 2387 to 2258 and 2233, respectively.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Quite a few, mostly involving Spock.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • As Spock Prime, Leonard Nimoy introduces himself saying "I am Spock", which was the title of his second autobiography (so titled to rebut the notion that invokedI Am Not Spock created that he supposedly hated both Star Trek and the Spock character).
    • Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock, pins down Kirk by the neck, eerily Sylar-like.
    • Zoë Saldana played a Trekkie in The Terminal.
  • Adaptational Badass: Kirk does slightly better in the fight on the drill in the tie-in novel. Instead of Sulu killing both guards while Kirk is clinging to the platform, Kirk uses his chute to get himself back onto the platform and guns down the Romulan who wasn't stabbed in the back by Sulu.
  • Alien Blood: The Romulans have green blood, seen most notably when Sulu stabs one through the back.
  • Alien Geometries:
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Subverted. Sulu has "advanced hand-to-hand combat training"... namely fencing. Which is European, not Asian. Considering it's also a Continuity Nod, it makes sense. (This time, he uses a switchblade katana, though, suggesting he might know kendo in addition to traditional fencing.)
  • All There in the Manual: A major sticking point for fans is how you need to read the comic book tie-in to be able to make any sense of Nero's motivation for anything. It's also only in a deleted scene barely alluded to in the film that you learn the Romulans were actually in a Klingon prison during the 25-year Time Skip rather than just sitting on their asses waiting for Spock to show up.
  • Alternate Reality Game: A bunch of Romulans attempting to warn the Vulcans are being pursued all across Europe by Nero's thugs while both sides are using the new Star Trek movie the humans are premiering as cover and oh God my brain hurts. It's chronicled here, see if you can figure it out...
  • Alternate Timeline: The explanation behind the franchise's Continuity Reboot. Thanks to time-travel, the alternate universe in the film is now fundamentally changed. Word of God confirms that, because of this, the "prime" timeline encompassing the prior Trek canon still "exists". In 2016, shortly before the release of Star Trek Beyond, the timeline got officially dubbed the "Kelvin Timeline".
  • Always a Bigger Fish: On Delta Vega, Kirk is pursued by a furry brown monster, which is promptly eaten by a huge six-legged red thing that bursts up through the ice. Subverted, since instead of saving Kirk it just means that he's now being chased by something even worse.
  • Ambiguous Robots: In the commentary, J. J. Abrams can't decide if the police officer chasing young Kirk is a robot or a human wearing body armour. Though the original script had the cop noticing Kirk speeding past while he's Nature Tinkling.
  • AM/FM Characterization: Our first encounter with a young James T. Kirk is him hanging up on his step-father in favor of blasting the Beastie Boys over the radio, establishing his disregard for authority even before the character says a single word.
  • And Starring: "With Eric Bana And Leonard Nimoy".
  • And the Adventure Continues: The film ends with the crew of the Enterprise warping off to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.
  • Apocalypse How: In the future, a solar system is annihilated; Spock Prime mentions a supernova that destroyed Romulus and Remus. In the present, planetary annihilation happens to Vulcan and almost happens to Earth, courtesy of Nero and his Red Matter. It was stated that, if not dealt with, the end result of the future disaster could have resulted in galactic annihilation.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Red Matter, among other things.
  • Artistic License – Space:
    • The star depicted detonating is too small and completely the wrong type to become a supernova. Expanded Universe material eventually stated (non-canonically) that the nova was deliberately induced with a Star Killing weapon.
    • The Enterprise escapes from the Unrealistic Black Hole by detonating her warp cores behind her as an improvised Orion Drive. If Faster-Than-Light Travel isn't fast enough to get you to escape velocity (implying that they're already well inside the event horizon), a slower-than-light shockwave most certainly won't.
  • Attack Hello: Apparently SOP for Nero.
    • When the Narada emerges in 2233, the first thing it does is attack the USS Kelvin.
    • When the Enterprise arrives at Vulcan and flies through the debris field of the other Federation ships, the Narada immediately opens fire, only stopping because Nero wants Spock to watch the destruction of Vulcan.
  • Ax-Crazy: Nero has been driven nuts by the loss of his wife and homeworld, blaming Spock and the Federation and vowing to destroy them all.
  • Badass Crew: C'mon, you know it. Pretty much every significant member gets their own sparkling moment of badassery.
  • Badass in Distress: Captain Pike allows himself to be taken hostage to save the Enterprise, categorically refuses to divulge the secrets of Earth's defenses before being forced to by mind parasites, and after going through that experience, retains enough presence to grab Kirk's gun and blast two Romulans in the middle of his own rescue.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Since the destruction of Vulcan as revenge against Spock is his major motivation, Nero gets a lot of what he wants. Destroying the rest of the Federation because he can is just a bonus.
  • Bait-and-Switch: As we see Kirk making love to a woman, we're led to think it's Uhura, but when the lights turn on, we see it's Gaila, her Orion roommate.
  • Bald Head of Toughness: Captain Robau's memetic badassery is aided in large part by his awesomely hairless head.
  • Bald of Evil: Nero and his crew all have hairless heads. Except the solitary woman. She got to keep her hair, apparently. In the backstory, it's explained that Romulan men shave their heads when grieving. Nero and his crew are in permanent grief, so they're bald forever.
  • Bar Brawl: Kirk gets into one of these with a few Starfleet cadets.
  • Bar Full of Aliens: In the same bar where the aforementioned brawl happens you can see that a big chunk of the clientele is alien.
  • Bash Brothers: When Kirk and Spock beam onto the Narada and start shooting up everything in sight.
  • Batman Gambit: Kirk provoking Spock on the bridge. It was already shown that Spock wasn't in his right mind due to the fact that he effectively marooned Kirk on Delta Vega, but Kirk, at Spock-Prime's suggestion, pushes him further to reveal that the destruction of Vulcan and the death of his mother hurt him far worse that he's showing.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: McCoy makes Kirk sick, then cites the prerogative of Starfleet physicians to transport their patients with them in order to get Kirk aboard the Enterprise.
  • Beam Spam:
  • The Beautiful Elite: No one in the galaxy is ugly save for a couple of Rubber-Forehead Aliens here and there, and apparently Starfleet-issue uniforms for female cadets and medical staff consist of sundresses and go-go boots.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Subverted. Uhura has no interest at all in Kirk, despite Kirk's attempts at flirting with her and her absolute refusal to even give him her name. Three years later, we see she's in a relationship with Spock.
  • Berserk Button:
    • It is perfectly okay to talk shit about Commander Spock's Momma... as long as you do it while he's under heavy sedatives and has all four limbs tied down. Otherwise, you are going to get curb-stomped. Epically. Kirk is intentionally trying to find a Berserk Button on Spock to show that he is 'emotionally compromised'. He still probably doesn't expect what he gets when he finds it.
    • Nero is this when The Federation gets involved with his plans. Somewhat justified because he found out that Romulus blew up during a super nova that Spock didn't get to in time to deploy the Red Matter. And The Federation relied on Spock to deliver the Red Matter to stop said supernova in a specially-commissioned ship built for speed. It wasn't fast enough. Before the moments where he does gets angry and speak himself, he is silent and lets The Dragon speak for him.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Played for laughs during Kirk and Uhura's first meeting, when he proves he at least knows what "xeno-linguistics" means.
    Uhura: I'm impressed... and here I thought you were just a dumb hick who only has sex with farm animals.
    Kirk: Well, not only.
  • Big Damn Gunship: Spock pilots the Jellyfish (Spock Prime's ship) on a collision course towards the Narada. The Narada retaliates with all the missiles she has. Things are looking bad for Spock at first—until the Enterprise warps in with phasers blazing.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Spock Prime gets one when he rescues Kirk from an enormous monster on the ice planet Delta Vega.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows:
  • Bilingual Bonus: When Chekov (played by Russian-born Anton Yelchin) successfully transports falling Kirk and Sulu to safety, he exclaims a little something in Russian, "Ё-моё!" or "Yo-moyo!", the closest English equivalent being "holey-moley!" (both in meaning and outdatedness). On the commentary track, J. J. Abrams claims to have been at a screening in Russia where the audience went nuts at this part.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: At the beginning of the film, James Kirk is being born as his father prepares to face certain death. George Kirk gets to hear his son's first cries and suggest a name for him before dying.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nero and his crew are defeated, and Kirk gets promoted to captain of the Enterprise. The sad part however is that way before the ending, Nero succeeded in erasing Vulcan from existence and the Vulcans are now an endangered species.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first of the Narada's crew to die (the one kicked onto an exhaust port by Sulu) is black.
  • Body Horror: The Squicky four-faced alien in a Deleted Scene.
  • Brick Joke: The novelization ends with Admiral Archer's beagle materializing in the transporter room.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Jim Kirk, despite having an "off-the-charts aptitude," initially never thought much about of a life outside of repeatedly getting into trouble with the law.
  • Broad Strokes:
    • Time travel does not quite explain all the stylistic differences in this movie, as it is technically in an Alternate Continuity and is not a complete Continuity Reboot. (Warp drive leaving a ship blind, for example.)
    • It's implied that the Narada's attack (the one that killed Kirk's father) initiated a sort of "Cold War" for the Federation, leading to their design philosophies changing.
  • Building Is Welding: The trailers show the USS Enterprise "under construction", with lots of welding depicted. Also the viral marketing site for the film showed lots of welding and not much else.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Many of the film's action sequences, and much of its humor, involve him getting owned in one way or another. He also gets stranded on planets and has freaky and potentially embarrassing reactions to vaccines.
    • He gets choked by Spock at one point and by a Romulan at another. Both times with some pretty good acting by Pine. It hurts as you try to catch your breath afterwards. Pine actually mentioned in an interview that he admires Harrison Ford for his ability to take a beating like it really hurts, and that he considers that an underrated skill.
  • Butterfly of Doom: The advanced technology of this continuity's Starfleet compared to the Original Series, as well as the many, many dramatic changes in the lives of the main characters, all happen simply because Nero and Co. showed up, as Spock points out.
    Spock: Nero's very presence has altered the flow of history, beginning with the attack of the USS Kelvin, culminating in the events of today, thereby creating an entire new chain of incidents that cannot be anticipated by either party. Whatever our lives were, if the time continuum was disrupted, our destinies have changed.

    Tropes C-D 
  • Call-Back:
    • The Big Damn Gunship moment. The Enterprise destroys the Narada's missiles just in time to save Spock's ship, just as Captain George Kirk's Kelvin had done for the escaping shuttles 25 years earlier.
    • A small one with the soundtrack: When Spock rams the Jellyfish into the Narada, the background music is a modified version of the track that plays when George Kirk does the same with the Kelvin.
    • Fascinating. When Spock!Prime recognises Montgomery Scott at the federation base, a crew member of his own timeline. Then later, when Spock!Kelvin contemplates the origin of Spock!Prime's ship being of a different timeline.
  • Call to Adventure: Delivered to Kirk by Captain Pike.
    Pike: Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives—including your mother's, and yours. I dare you to do better.
  • Cannon Fodder: Chief Engineer Olson is a little too gung-ho during the spacejump and promptly incinerates himself—and yep, his jumpsuit armor is red.
  • Canon Discontinuity:
  • Captain Obvious: Spock's observations on McCoy's new station are plenty obvious to McCoy, anyway.
    Spock: [on intercom] Dr. Puri, report?
    Leonard "Bones" McCoy: It's McCoy. Dr. Puri was on Deck 6. He's dead.
    Spock: Then you have just inherited his responsibilities as Chief Medical Officer.
    [McCoy looks at a burning medical room full of casualties from the attack]
    McCoy: Yeah, tell me something I don't know!
  • Cassandra Truth: Kirk attempts to warn Pike to stop their flight and not go to Vulcan because it was a trap by the Romulans, recognizing the so-called "natural disaster" as the arrival of the Narada. Pike thinks he's trying to get more attention and Spock is more than happy to want to toss Kirk out of the bridge on his ass, but Uhura agreeing with Kirk's warnings makes them back down enough to at least try to figure out if Kirk is right. When they get to Vulcan, they get their answer.
  • Casual Car Giveaway: When Kirk is leaving for Starfleet, he hands his motorcycle over to one of the construction workers at the dock.
    Construction Worker: Nice bike.
    Kirk: [tossing the keys] It's yours.
  • Catchphrase: Almost every word that proceeds from Spock Prime's mouth. The amount of original dialogue written for Leonard Nimoy was vanishingly low.
  • Cavalier Consumption: Kirk during the Kobayashi Maru test is shown casually munching on an apple while destroying the simulated Klingon attackers with trivial ease thanks to hacking the sim computers. The gesture was added by Chris Pine because he heard once that eating an apple makes you look more cocky. Whether intentional or not, this is one of the many Continuity Nods, this time to Wrath of Khan, where Shatner!Kirk talks about the test while casually consuming an apple.
  • Celebrity Paradox: It is established that Kirk is a fan of The Beastie Boys. One wonders how different the lyrics of "Intergalactic" are in this universe, especially considering the final stanza:
    If you try to knock me you'll get mocked
    I'll stir fry you in my wok
    Your knees'll start shakin' and your fingers pop
    Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock!
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • A deleted scene shows Nero about to be interrogated by a Klingon on Rura Penthe using Centaurian slugs, who gloats about what the slugs will do to Nero. Nero escapes before this can happen. He later uses the same slugs to torture Pike.
    • The Klingon transmission that Uhura tells Gaila about, while Kirk is hiding under Gaila's bed, plays a small but vital part in Kirk's attempts to make Pike take him seriously.
    • One that is loaded and fired in a single scene: when Kirk lands on the drilling platform, he presses a button and his parachute is reeled in to his backpack. Shortly afterward, Sulu is left dangling over the side of the platform, held only by his parachute; he presses the corresponding button, and as the parachute is reeled in he is lifted up until he can get onto the platform.
    • An early scene establishes that Spock as a kid is rather touchy about people disparaging his human mother. Later on, as soon as Kirk tries that route in trying to expose that Spock is "emotionally compromised", he flips out and beats the crap out of Kirk just like he did to his school bullies years earlier.
  • The Chew Toy: While Kirk is still The Ace we all know and love, he's on the receiving end of most of the asskickings in the film, from the heroes and villains alike! Likewise, his tragic backstory, his reaction to the vaccine, and being chased by not one, but two monsters within minutes of landing on Delta Vega, seem to suggest that the universe is actively conspiring to screw with him!
  • Chewing the Scenery: Nero treats the set like a giant multi-course meal, chewing it with great gusto over many scenes.
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: In order to escape his landing pod on Delta Vega, Kirk has to scale an ice cliff with minimal equipment. He later topples down a much larger cliff in order to escape a gigantic carnivore native to the planet.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: When Kirk, Sulu and Engineer Olsen are parachuting to the drill platform, Sulu is wearing (and coded) gold (for Command), Olsen is red (for Engineering and for being the one who gets himself killed), and Kirk, who "wasn't supposed to be there anyways," is wearing blue (for Sciences).
  • Combat Pragmatist: Sulu, a fencer, faces a Romulan in a melee weapon fight. Romulans are stronger than humans, so Sulu struggles. Until he starts fighting dirty, as combat fencers were known to.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: By IDW Comics; the first Trek film to be adapted for comics since Star Trek: First Contact.
  • Commanding Coolness: Commander Spock. He manages to keep his cool until Kirk mashes his Berserk Button.
  • Composite Character:
    • This universe's version of Uhura, being a Cunning Linguist, owes a bit to Hoshi Sato, as well as to Nichelle Nichols creating the character as a linguist originally (even if she never really spoke any alien language in the show and actually used a dictionary to speak Klingon in one of the TOS movies).
    • The re-imagined Enterprise is an elemental fusion of the original ship from The Original Series and the heavily-refit version from the first six Star Trek films.
  • Continuity Cameo: "But, sir! If we ignite the red matter—..." While not a straight movie-to-movie example, the Narada managed to sneak in an almost blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Wil Wheaton—Wesley Crusher in TNG—during one of the more hectic battle scenes.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Every single character gets their famous catch phrase or mannerism in the flick. "Wessels", "Giving her all she's got", "I'm a doctor, not a—", etc. And...
      Kirk: This is Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise.
    • There's a reference to an "Admiral Archer"; though the captain of the first Starship Enterprise would be pushing 150 by the time of the film, Word of God says it's meant to be him (and McCoy Prime did live to at least 137). The reference, incidentally, is his dog being eaten by the transporter.
    • Spock quotes Sherlock Holmes's line about improbable truth, which he also did in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
    • Nero has a hilarious nod to Wrath of Khan: "SPOOOOCK!! SPOOOOOOCK!!!"
    • One scene has the bridge crew formulating a plan. As in the old days, Kirk is in the Captain's chair, in one of the classic poses, McCoy is standing behind him, Spock is pacing. And then Spock snaps at Kirk to get out of the chair.
    • Kirk intentionally angers Spock, including mocking his parentage, but he's not doing it to be a Jerkass; he's doing it because he had to. The same thing happens in the TOS episode "This Side of Paradise" when Kirk has to piss off Spock to release him from the effect of the spores. Spock Prime undoubtedly had this incident in mind when he counseled Kirk on how to provoke Spock into an extreme emotional response.
    • Sarek's reply to a young Spock about why he married Spock's human mother: "As Ambassador to Earth it is my duty to observe and understand human behavior. Marrying your mother was... logical," is the same answer Sarek gives an adult Spock to the same question in the TOS episode "Journey to Babel".
    • Nero's mind-control slug bears a resemblance to Khan's Ceti eels, though it's not exactly the same thing.
    • Sulu also knows fencing, which it turned out he was enthusiastic about in the episode "The Naked Time". Here he finds a more practical outlet.
    • Captain Pike was the captain of the Enterprise in the original pilot episode, and also appeared in a later episode involving Spock. Near the end of the film, he is seen in a wheelchair, another continuity nod (or perhaps Mythology Gag?) to that later episode, "The Menagerie" (though he's obviously in better condition).
    • Spock Prime's surprise at hearing his younger self marooned Kirk for mutiny is another nod, since in the episode "The Menagerie" he himself mutinied and literally kidnapped the wheelchair-bound Captain Pike. It was so effective a mutiny that nobody even realized he'd done it until they were well on their way to Talos IV, Spock's intended destination.
    • "I have been, and always shall be, your friend."
    • McCoy calls for Nurse Chapel when Kirk has an allergic reaction to the vaccine he was given to sneak on the Enterprise.
    • Chapel might be seen on-screen when Kirk and Spock beam back to the Enterprise with Pike at the end of the film, but isn't named in the scene, so it's left ambiguous.
    • The overly-cocky British guy who gets himself needlessly killed early on in the Vulcan mission is dressed in red.
    • When the Enterprise drops out of warp, the ship veers left, but everyone on the bridge leans to the right—a nice little nod to the old series' "special effects".
    • Spock accusing Spock Prime of lying to Kirk when letting him "infer universe-ending paradoxes would ensue" if they met, and Spock Prime's answer, "Oh, I... implied" is a callback to Wrath of Khan. Saavik accuses Spock of lying, to which he replies, "No, I... exaggerated."
    • The whole hair-splitting on whether or not something is a lie is also a major plot point in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
    • Spock Prime giving Scotty his own formula for transwarp beaming recalls Scotty in Star Trek IV giving a 20th century scientist the formula for transparent aluminum with the justification, "For all we know, he invented the stuff."
    • At one point, McCoy asks Spock "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?", just as he did in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, before the latter's Heroic Sacrifice.
    • The planet Kirk is stranded on, "Delta Vega," appeared in the first (chronologically speaking) episode of TOS, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", as the planet where Kirk and Spock planned to maroon their god-like friend Gary Mitchell.
    • There's an early nod to the animated series' episode "Yesteryear", in which young Spock experiences an outburst of emotion and proceeds to pummel another Vulcan child mercilessly for insulting Sarek and Amanda. Sarek's description of logic as "a serenity humans seldom experience" also echoes a line Spock tells his younger self in that episode.
    • Spock speaks with his mother about undergoing the rite of Kolinahr, the purging of all emotions, which was what Spock was doing towards the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
    • The Enterprise escapes a subspace anomaly by ejecting the warp core and detonating it, just like in Star Trek: Insurrection.
    • Abrams has stated that one of the reasons for Starfleet's increased militarism is because of the Narada's attack on the Kelvin. It's not without precedent in Star Trek; the same thing happened after the Battle of Wolf 359 and the destruction of the USS Odyssey in the main continuity. And as an added bonus, Wolf 359 was a battle in which the Federation was nearly destroyed by a Borg ship. The Narada, which nearly succeeds in destroying the Federation, also had Borg technology integrated into it.
    • A human mind-melding with a Vulcan exposes the former to the onslaught of the latter's powerful emotions. Kirk's tearful reaction after receiving Spock Prime's memories of Vulcan's destruction mirrors that of Picard's breakdown after melding with Sarek in the TNG episode "Sarek".
    • In one shot, Captain Pike has a block of light across his eyes, similar to shots such as this on TOS.
    • Spock Prime recites the "Space, the final frontier" monologue before the end credits, just like in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
    • When Spock turns down his admission to the Vulcan Science Academy, a minister says, "No Vulcan has declined admission." Since they (not-very) subtly insulted his mother, Spock retorts, "Since I am half-human, your reputation remains untarnished." This refers to the climax of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: As McCoy tries to stop Spock from entering the dangerously-radiated Engineering, saying "No human can tolerate the radiation in there!", Spock retorts, "As you are so fond of pointing out, Doctor, I am not human."
  • Continuity Reboot (alt-universe): One particularly troubled Romulan from Spock Prime's timeline wreaks utter havoc with the timeline to avenge the destruction of his homeworld, and take revenge on Spock.)
  • Continuity Rebooter: Spock Prime and Nero basically serve as this. Given the actions taken by Nero, it seems that the new Alternate Universe is going down a slightly Darker and Edgier path.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Every single officer of higher rank than the main characters is killed or, in Captain Pike's case, incapacitated, resulting in the crew that we know from the original series. Justified in that it's the crew's origin story, but it can stretch Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
    • Except Uhura's superior—she's just a much better linguist than he is.
    • Scotty comes on board after the previous Chief Engineer has already succumbed to stupidity, and he has just invented transwarp beaming. Sort of. Not that Spock Prime has nothing to do with giving Scotty his own completed theory.
    • A deleted line from Spock suggests there was the hand of fate in there.
    • Maybe the biggest one. Spock gets annoyed with Kirk and drops him on the nearest planet after Vulcan is destroyed, which is also where Old Spock is hanging out, because Nero wanted him to bear witness. So far, so good. Then Kirk just happens to land within running distance of Spock's cave, when he could have landed anywhere on the planet. That's... incredibly unlikely. And then Scotty just happens to be stationed in an outpost only a couple of miles away. It's possible that Kirk's pod was deliberately dropped nearby a Federation installation so that he didn't freeze to death, but that doesn't explain what Spock is doing so close by. The film tries to lampshade this coincidence by having Old Spock ask Kirk, "How did you find me?" But, Kirk is too freaked out to answer that question.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: During the drill fight Sulu is almost sucked into the laser drill, but apparently is ok since he didn't actually touch it. In the same fight Sulu, Kirk, and two Romulans fight on top of the drill, which occasionally emits fire through some vents. The heat doesn't affect them unless they're standing on the vents when they're venting flame.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: Nero has caught Kirk by the throat and is seemingly going to choke him to death, until he's told the Jellyfish, the Vulcan ship they've been using as an explosives source, has been stolen by Spock. Immediately he runs off to deal with this, leaving Kirk to fight his minion instead.
  • Cool Bike:
    • Kirk's motorbike, a quietly purring little number that seems to indicate that high-efficiency vehicles will not only succeed in the future, but will be considered badass.
    • The motorcycle cop that attempts to pull young Kirk over rides a flying hoverbike.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Spock Prime, still stoic, but with a quiet dignity and a keen mind that allows him to manipulate Kirk into taking his rightful place as captain of the Enterprise and saving the day.
    • Captain Pike is a confident and charismatic leader whom the Enterprise crew obviously highly respects.
  • Cool Starship: In tradition with all things Star Trek and in no particular order:
    • The starship Enterprise is completely pimped-out like a 50s/60s hot-rod complete with interiors that could only be described as "an Apple Store on crack," and she never looked so good.
    • The Romulan mining vessel Narada gets a special mention for not looking out of place if it was being flown by Mi-go. The fact that it's The Juggernaut with infinite Spikes of Doom pretty much cinches the fact. Heck, there's a reason that some fans call it, "Satan's Batmobile." Oh, and even better? The Narada also apparently had Borg tech integrated into it.
    • Spock's Jellyfish is a nifty little Vulcan vessel (literally) packing some "Earth-shattering" heat.note 
    • The Federation survey cruiser USS Kelvin.
    • The Shuttles from The Original Series are back.
  • Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel:
    • Subverted yet played with as we see the young TOS crew at the beginning of their Starfleet careers, albeit in a technologically advanced new timeline in which the events of The Original Series could never possibly occur.
    • The opening is set 32 years before TOS; however, the starship Kelvin still looks like a major upgrade to the original Enterprise despite being its forerunner.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: From start to finish, almost every plan sounds patently ridiculous. Until it's put into action. Diving out of a shuttle? Hiding behind Saturn's rings? Transwarp beaming onto an enemy ship, hoping that you can rescue the captain, blow up the super advanced weapon, and make it back in time for dinner?
  • Creepy-Crawly Torture: At one point, Nero force feeds Captain Pike a Centaurian slug (a parasitic alien insect that, after being consumed by a human host, latches onto the brain stem and releases a toxin into the host's nervous system that leaves the host forced to always answer any and all questions asked).
  • Crusading Widow: Nero carries out his plot due to believing that the Federation let Romulus be destroyed, killing pretty much everyone he loved in the process.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Spock uses a Vulcan nerve pinch on Kirk and downs him in two seconds flat. Second one: Spock gives him the pinch. Second two: Kirk is on the floor. The best part is that Spock just looks annoyed; Kirk wasn't even a threat to him.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Although the Narada crew was held prisoner by the Klingon Emprire for 25 years, in deleted scenes, Nero still could have taken his ship to Romulus after escaping, even Spock Prime's ship after capturing him, and used all that future tech to help his race conquer their enemies. No wonder Spock decided Nero was crazy. Pike points this out to Nero during his interrogation. But Nero responds that it's not the Romulus he knows, and his loved ones would still be dead.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Spock's mother Amanda, unfortunately. It enrages one of the heroes almost to the point of no return.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Kirk's Call to Adventure takes the form of a dare issued by Captain Pike, challenging hims to live up to his father's legacy instead of drifting through life in small-town Iowa.
    Pike: Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives—including your mother's, and yours. I dare you to do better.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Heavily alluded to with Kirk, who lost his father just minutes after his birth, was frequently abused by his stepfather while his mother was off-planet—his brother Johnny ran away when Jim was still young because he hated their stepfather so much—nearly killed himself by driving a car off a cliff when he was twelve, possibly survived Tarsus IV (if future movies keep with the original series), and was already a repeat offender long before enlisting in Starfleet.
  • Darker and Edgier: Unquestionably so. Even during the Voyager years, the Federation and Starfleet were still mostly set up around peaceful missions. In the reboot, Pike describes Starfleet as a "humanitarian and peacekeeping armada," and the rest of the film is spent fighting. Word of God states that this was due to the Kelvin's encounter with the Narada, which caused Starfleet to take on a much more militaristic turn.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
  • Death by Cameo: R2-D2 from Star Wars can be seen floating in the wreckage of the Kelvin.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After Kirk successfully bullies Spock out of the Acting Captain's chair and takes over, Spock lends his expertise to Kirk's crazy rescue plan, even though it's not the course he'd choose. Their friendship grows from there.
  • Determinator: James Kirk, who doesn't believe in no-win scenarios and is certainly one stubborn fellow once he sets his mind to accomplishing something, be it graduating from Starfleet Academy early, finding a way to beat the supposedly unbeatable Kobayashi Maru, or stopping Nero. He takes more beat-downs than any other character and is consistently degraded or doubted by those around him, but keeps coming back for more in order to protect his homeworld. He is certainly not too worried about getting himself killed in the process, either.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Kirk hits on Uhura at the beginning of the movie, but she turns him down. It is later revealed that she and Spock have an established relationship. Which is slightly disturbing, as Spock's not at the Academy as a student. The sequels to this film and the IDW tie-in comics show that Kirk is actually quite supportive of Spock and Uhura's relationship.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Spock's plan to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet in the Laurentian system. It's already established that the Narada can travel much faster than the Enterprise and safety in numbers is not an option as the Narada already laid waste to an armada of 47 ships. By the time Starfleet returns to Earth from the Laurentian system, it would be too late to help Earth as Nero would have destroyed it.
  • Diegetic Switch: Young Kirk blasts the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" from his stolen car's stereo. The music continues even after he's run the car off a cliff.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kirk's father dies in an extremely awesome Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Disposable Woman: Amanda, Spock's mother, dies just to twist the knife of angst deeper for Spock. Of course, so does a significant portion of the Vulcan race, but still.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Nero decides to wait 25 years for Spock to come through the same black hole that pulled him into the past, makes Spock watch Vulcan get destroyed, and then moves on to systematically destroy the other planets of the Federation. All of this is because Spock turned up mere minutes too late to save Romulus from a super nova. (Countdown's backstory doesn't count as the film's writers have established it as non-canon material.)
  • Distress Call: From Vulcan. Provides the impetus for the second act.
  • Distressed Dude: Pike is kidnapped by Nero.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: The conflict has already finished and Dr. Leonard McCoy tells Kirk that his ex-wife took everything from him.
    McCoy: Well, I got nowhere else to go. The ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I got left is my bones.
    • And thus is born a great friendship and a famous nickname.
  • Doomed by Canon: Consciously averted. One of the stated reasons why the writers set the film in an Alternate Universe is so that events aren't necessarily a Foregone Conclusion. Things no longer need to turn out quite the way they did before, and Anyone Can Die.
  • Doomed Hometown: Vulcan.
  • Double Consciousness: Spock feels divided between his human and Vulcan halves. Learning to harness his anger over his mother's death rather than suppress it as a Vulcan would is a major moment of growth for him.
    Sarek: You will always be a child of two worlds. The question you must answer is: What path will you choose?
  • The Dragon: Nero's second-in-command, Ayel. Kirk has to defeat him one-on-one in order to rescue Captain Pike.
  • Dramatic Irony: Kirk and McCoy on meeting Spock for the first time:
    Kirk: Who was that pointy-eared bastard?
    McCoy: I don't know, but I like him!
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: "Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved over 800 lives, including your mother's, and yours." For the record, that averages out to ten lives every nine seconds.
  • Dynamic Entry: The Jellyfish's collision course is haralded by the Enterprise warping into close range of the Narada from Saturn, phasers blowing the Narada's defenses out of the way so the Jellyfish can finish her run.

    Tropes E-F 
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Nero's plan being to destroy every single planet in the Federation, just to get back at Spock for not being able to stop Romulus from being destroyed by a star going supernova in time. He actually gets as far as destroying Vulcan, and is in the process of trying to destroy Earth before he is stopped by Kirk and Spock. Technically, it's an implosion, rather than an explosion as the red matter is injected into the planet's core and ignites, setting off a black hole.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In the scene where the Enterprise first appears at Vulcan, after they come out of their slow barrel roll to avoid the debris, you can see R2-D2 in the bottom left corner of the screen.
    • A menu in the bar Kirk and Uhura meet in has the "Slusho" drink from Cloverfield in it. The logo of the makers of the drink appears on a building in an establishing shot of San Francisco. The big red ball Abrams tries to get in most of his projects is the Red Matter.
    • Speaking of Abrams' overall work, the name of the USS Kelvin is this film's use of the "Kelvin" mark he puts in most of his films and TV series.
    • Speaking of Cloverfield, the giant red monster that attacked Kirk when he landed on the snow planet is reminiscent of the Cloverfield monster due to the shared bent-arm walking style and six limbed form. It appears Cloverfield has now unofficially become the earliest point in the Star Trek film timeline. Interesting...
    • When Kirk and Spock first enter the bridge of the Jellyfish, the control chair and viewport form the triangle-and-circle-within-a-circle symbol of IDIC, the Vulcan philosophy of "infinite diversity in infinite combinations". This is not surprising considering the ship was built by the Vulcan Science Academy.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: McCoy is particularly fond of bestowing these upon people when frustrated or angry, especially in regards to Spock, whom he personally nicknames the "pointy-eared bastard" or "green-bloodied hobgoblin," to name a few.
  • Emergency Trainee Battle Deployment: A plucky band of cadets get summoned to an attack on Vulcan because the actual fleet is otherwise occupied. Battles ensue and by the end of the movie, they all earn battlefield promotions akin to their positions in the main timeline.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Kirk choosing to sabotage the Kobayashi Maru test rather than accept defeat. This has been his ECM ever since it was first discussed in The Wrath of Khan, but this was the first time we got to see it happen canonically.
    • Young Kirk trashing his stepdad's antique corvette in Iowa while trying to evade a hoverbike cop in contrast to young Spock on a school day answering every single question given by a computer correctly.
  • Establishing Character Music: Kirk is introduced stealing his brother's car and driving it off a cliff so that his stepfather can't sell it while blaring The Beastie Boys' "Sabotage".
  • Everyone Went to School Together:
    • Starfleet Academy in San Francisco. Justified though, as A) everyone in Starfleet has to go there, B) technically, only three of the characters were seen on-screen attending said school, and C) Spock was actually an instructor.
    • Regarding some of the age discrepancies among the students, it's also safe to assume that McCoy is a mature student (since he was already a medical doctor when he started at the academy) and that Chekov has skipped a few years of school (justifying why such a young academy ensign is in such a responsible position would seem to be the point of Pike's "whiz-kid" comment in his first scene). These might both be a result of the alternate time line, of course.
  • Everything in Space Is a Galaxy: Spock describes a supernova as threatening the entire galaxy. This is obviously not how it works, given how supernovae have happened before and we're still here. Star Trek: Picard makes it clear that only the local solar system was threatened.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: According to Bones, as soon as you leave Earth you may as well kiss your life goodbye.
    Bones: Space is disease and danger, wrapped in darkness and silence!
  • Exact Words: Spock Prime insists that his presence be kept secret from Spock. Kirk infers from this that universe-ending paradoxes will ensue. Spock Prime expected Kirk to do just that... but he never actually said that would be the consequence, so technically he did not lie.
  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: When the Enterprise is getting sucked into a black hole near the end and they're running the warp engines at maximum power, Scotty is running around in Engineering trying to hold the ship together. A pipe cracks overhead and steam comes venting out.
  • Explosion Propulsion: When Scotty ejects and detonates the warp cores in order to free the Enterprise from the black hole that just consumed the Narada.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Justified in The Teaser, when an entire ship is exploding. Averted entirely otherwise, even when the Enterprise is visibly cracking under the stress of a black hole.
  • Exposition Beam: Spock Prime's mind-meld with Kirk serves as a quick way to explain Nero's plan and motivation to both him and the audience.
  • Expospeak Gag: The rest of the fleet jumps to warp, but the Enterprise just whines a bit. As Sulu tries frantically to figure out what's wrong, Captain Pike tries to give him a hint, but Spock needs to spell it out for him.
    Pike: Is the parking brake on?
    Sulu: Uh, no. I'll figure it out. I'm just...
    Spock: Have you disengaged the external inertial dampener?
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Nero solemnly closes his eyes before the Narada is destroyed.
    • Extra points for George Kirk. C'mon, the man didn't even see his son and is in the process of saying "I love you, I love you, I love..." to his wife during his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Faceless Goons: A deleted scene has the Klingon guards at Rura Penthe wearing face-concealing helmets. Word of God says this was because they weren't sure whether or not to give the Klingons their more popular TNG ridged foreheads, or go with TOS's dark skinned humanoid look. In the end they just decided to cover the front of their heads and not worry about it.
  • Failsafe Failure: The Kelvin's autopilot function gets destroyed at the wrong time, leaving George Kirk to ram it himself.
  • Fanservice:
  • Fantastic Racism: Deconstructed. The original series Played for Laughs or treated as semi-justified the You Are a Credit to Your Race attitude Spock would encounter from other Vulcans for his human blood. Here, the Vulcan kids, as well as the High Council (in a snootier fashion) really pile it on Spock, and it's treated in the same light real-world racism generally is.
  • A Father to His Men: Pike is something of a father-figure to Kirk.
  • Faux Affably Evil: "Hi, Christopher, I'm Nero." Eric Bana has a lot of fun swinging between this and a more general evilness.
  • Field Promotion: Kirk goes from a Cadet up to acting Captain during the movie.
  • Finger Gun: Kirk "fires" his gun in sync to the firing of photon torpedoes during the Kobayashi Maru.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The main crew, especially Kirk and Spock.
  • First-Name Basis: How Nero treats his opponents.
    Captain Pike: I'm Captain Christopher Pike. To whom am I speaking?
    Nero: Hi, Christopher, I'm Nero.
  • Fisticuff-Provoking Comment: Kirk tries to prove that Spock doesn't have his emotions in check, and succeeds when he cracks about his mother, who had just perished in the destruction of Vulcan. Even then, he still probably didn't expect what would happen when he did.
  • Five-Temperament Ensemble: Kirk (choleric), Sulu (melancholic/choleric), Spock (melancholic), Uhura (phlegmatic), "Bones" McCoy (sanguine), Chekhov (sanguine/choleric), and Scotty (leukine).
  • Fix Fic: Slash Fic fans of the film who support Kirk/Spock tend to have Uhura a) end her relationship with Spock on amicable terms b) get dumped by Spock c) run off with Bones, Scotty, Chekov... any one else with a penis... or d) get eaten by the Gorn. It's starting to get a bit ridiculous.
  • Flying Cutlery Spaceship: The Narada, of course, arguably one of the biggest and most physically complicated examples. It used to be a simple mining vessel but getting Borg tech upgrades, an insane captain and a little while getting poked around by the Klingons all resulted in it looking like some kind of mix between a Lovecraftian squid and a whole warehouse's worth of knives.
  • Following in Relative's Footsteps: Spock Prime tells Kirk that in the Prime Universe, his dad (who is dead in the continuity of the reboot films) was his influence in joining Starfleet.
  • Forced to Watch: Nero giving his nemesis a front-row seat to Vulcan's destruction.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Why everything is different in the new timeline. See also Butterfly of Doom, above.
    • Additionally, had Sulu, new to the position of helmsman of the Enterprise, not left the inertial dampers engaged (the "parking brake on"), the ship would have probably been destroyed with the rest of the armada. By arriving a minute or so later, Nero had time to see the ship's name and realize the Spock from the current era was probably onboard as well.
  • Freudian Excuse: Nero, once a simple Romulan miner, had his life ruined when Ambassador Spock (and the Federation) failed to save his home planet from a supernova. Angry, he wants to kill nearly everyone (specifically, destroy Earth).
    Nero: When I lost her, I promised myself retribution; and for 25 years I planned my revenge against the Federation and forgot what it was like to live a normal life.
  • Frictionless Reentry: Kirk, Sulu, and Chief Engineer Redshirt do a skydive from low orbit around Vulcan, with no sign of atmospheric burn. Granted, one can assume their spacesuits are specially constructed to allow safe re-entry. As they are dropping through the atmosphere vertically, their tangential speed (which would cause the friction) is basically zero.note 

    Tropes G-H 
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Nero. His backstory is that, in the late 24th century, his home planet (with his pregnant wife on it) was destroyed in a supernova, which, for some reason means that he wants to destroy every planet in The Federation. To make matters worse, no one ever points out the fact that he's gone back in time a hundred and fifty years before the supernova took place and therefore has ample opportunity to, oh, I don't know... WARN HIS PEOPLE THAT THEIR PLANET IS GOING TO BE DESTROYED.

    This is a bad case of All There in the Manual, as reading the prequel comic reveals that Nero witnessed the beginning of the supernova, but the Romulan senate refused to listen to him even with concrete evidence. So once he goes back in time, he figures that if that senate wouldn't listen to him, the one he would now face sure as hell wouldn't. In the comic he also works closely with Spock on the Federation science project to prevent the disaster, hearing promises that everything will end up all right... only for it to go horribly wrong. That in turn makes Nero's desire to destroy Vulcan and the Federation more understandable. Spending a decade inside a Klingon Prison after going back into the past didn't help his sanity either.
  • Genre Shift: The film has a very different tone from every show and movie that came before it in the franchise—more of the fun, funny, ray gun action; the same Worldbuilding Space Opera; and less Technobabble or forced moral message.
  • Gilligan Cut: Before beaming Kirk and Spock onto the Narada, Scotty declares that if its layout makes any kind of sense, the area he's beaming them to is an isolated cargo area. Cut to Kirk and Spock materializing in the middle of the command deck.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Gaila, Uhura's Orion roommate, another Continuity Nod.
  • Gunship Rescue:
    • The Enterprise drops out of warp and fires its weapons to destroy the missiles from the Narada that are headed towards Spock's craft, the Jellyfish.
    • The Kelvin gets a Gunship Rescue moment when Captain George Kirk destroys a whole volley of missiles from the Narada, including one that comes within meters of destroying the shuttle carrying his wife and the infant Jim.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: The Headmaster of the Vulcan Science Academy remarks on how remarkable it is that Spock achieved so much despite the "disadvantage" of having a human mother. This pushes Spock, a major Momma's Boy, to reject the VSA.
  • Handsome Lech: Kirk eyeballs every woman in the vicinity (even while being dragged through Sickbay by McCoy, sick as a dog from space flu), but the only woman he (visibly) scores with is Uhura's roommate.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: The Romulans were well on the way to becoming allies with the Federation as of Nemesis, only for their entire planet to get blown up by a supernova.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • One of the finest and most moving in the entire Star Trek canon. The movie begins with George Kirk staying behind on the U.S.S. Kelvin to save the escaping crew, including his pregnant wife and her child. Kirk becomes a legendary hero for this action, given that in his extremely short time as Captain, he saved 800 lives. This is made all the more poignant considering that, when you look closely, you can actually see missiles from the Narada being intercepted just before they are about to impact on his wife's shuttle. There was, quite simply, no chance of survival without him.
    • Captain Robau as well. "If I'm not back in 15 minutes, evacuate the crew," basically means Robau sacrifices himself to buy time for the evacuation of the Kelvin. He knows he is going to his death.
    • And Pike too, after a fashion. He pulls a Robau, going off to sacrifice himself to Nero (and let's face it, Robau's fate has to be in his head as he does all of this) while the crew mounts a counterattack. Though, it's also subverted a bit when Kirk shows up later to pull Pike off the Narada before it blows. The difference between them is that in the time it takes for him to leave the ship, Pike works out a counterattack plan that ALMOST comes off (and might have, if not for Olson's reckless stupidity. All Robau does is die.
  • The Hero's Journey: Near-perfect example, in double for both Spock and Kirk, including the Miraculous Birth: James Tiberius Kirk, born on the day of the destruction of the Kelvin, son of the hero George Kirk of the same battle; Spock, born the Half-Human son of the Vulcan Ambassador Sarek. In fact, in the novelization we learn that during Spock's birth, a star was going supernova elsewhere in the galaxy. The novelization actually states that the birth of Spock and the death of an entire inhabited solar system are equal in magnitude according to the universe itself!
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Kirk and Spock. Spock Prime goes to incredibly risky lengths in order to preserve the natural development of the galaxy's greatest bromance.
    • Kirk and McCoy become inseparable friends from the moment they meet, and are united in their dislike of Spock long before he befriends either of them.
  • High School AU: Subverted. The only undergrad cadets out of the 7 main characters were Kirk, Uhura and McCoy (who was already a licensed physician before enlisting). By the time of the film's main plot, Spock had long-since graduated, Scotty was a veteran engineer, Sulu was a lieutenant, and Chekov was a commissioned ensign despite being only 17.
  • Hitler Cam: Used near the end of the film to compensate for the height difference between Spock and Spock.
  • Homage: The lines and mannerisms of the Original Series cast.
  • Humans Are White: The movie did pretty well at averting this. Though human extras are still predominantly white, there's a lot of color. Among named characters, Uhura is black and Sulu is Asian (naturally), and the head of the Starfleet Academy Board, Admiral Barnett, is black.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Michael Giacchino certainly had fun naming the songs in the soundtrack. A few self-explanatory examples:
    • "Nailin' the Kelvin"
    • "Enterprising Young Men"
    • "Nero Death Experience" arguably takes the cake as "Worst Pun".
    • Unless it's "Nice to Meld You".
    • "Nero Sighted". "Nero Fiddles, Narada Burns". Those Nero puns just don't get old, do they?
    • "Labour of Love" as Kirk is being born. "Does It Still McFly" as something to do with time travel happens. Ouch.
    • This is practically Michael Giacchino's calling card.
    • Hella Bar Talk = Bela Bartok (Hungarian composer).
    • "I've Fallen and I Can't Beam Up!"
  • Hyperspeed Ambush:
    • The Starfleet relief force on its way to Vulcan gets beaten into scrap metal immediately upon exiting warp. The Enterprise only narrowly escapes the same fate because it is Late to the Tragedy.
    • The Enterprise pulls one off during the film's climax, saving Spock by tearing up Nero's Macross Missile Massacre via Beam Spam.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Many of the Vulcans who insult Spock for acting emotional fail to realize that they are guilty of the same thing, showing clear irritation and even mild anger when he fails to respond to their vicious barbs about his mother! Likewise, when the bullies finally goad the young Spock into losing his temper, you can see they are utterly terrified when he proceeds to beat the crap out of one of them!
    • When Kirk is on the bridge, trying to elicit an emotional response from Spock at Spock Prime's orders, Spock tells him "I will not allow you to lecture me on the merits of emotion", then gets violent when Kirk implies that Spock never loved his mother. This despite the fact that he lectured Kirk about the merits of fear, and brought up Kirk's father in the same speech, barely hours before. Of course, the circumstances were slightly different, but still...

    Tropes I-J 
  • I Am Not My Father:
    • Jim Kirk does not enjoy constantly being compared to his deceased father.
    • Played directly for laughs as Spock Prime replies "I am not our father" when New Spock mistakes him for his father Sarek towards the end.
  • If I Do Not Return:
    • George Kirk gets one from Captain Robau.
      Robau: If I don't report back in fifteen minutes, evacuate the crew.
      Kirk: Sir, we could—
      Robau: There is no help for us out here.
    • James T. Kirk and Spock get one from Captain Pike.
    • Spock says this to Kirk, and Kirk refuses to listen, subverting the Tell Her Yourself response by saying, simply, "It'll work."
  • Ignorant of the Call: Due to the timeline incursion and the death of his father, Kirk grows up to be, according to Captain Pike, "the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest [U.S.]" Pike spurs Kirk to join Starfleet by succinctly summing up his father's Heroic Sacrifice, and daring Kirk to do better than that.
  • I Got You Covered:
    • When they invade Narada, Kirk stuns one of the Romulans so Spock can do a mind meld and find out where Spock Prime's ship is. While Spock is doing so, Kirk shoots another Romulan who was approaching from behind.
    • Pike returns the favor when he shoots a Romulan while Kirk is freeing him from captivity, yanking the pistol right out of Kirk's belt to do so.
  • I Like Those Odds: Kirk displays some drunken bravado just prior to the Bar Brawl.
    Cadet: Hey, farm-boy, maybe you can't count, but there are four of us and one of you.
    Kirk: So, get a couple more guys and then it'll be an even fight.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder:
    • Wouldn't be Star Trek without it.
      Bones: Dammit, man! I'm a doctor, not a physicist! Are you actually saying they're from the future?
    • Also played with in the beginning.
      Bones: I don't need a doctor, dammit, I am a doctor!
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Played with. Despite Kirk and Spock materializing in the middle of their bridge, Nero's crew is still good enough to miss them by inches and send them scrambling for cover. Our heroes get precious few hits themselves until they can get behind cover and aim properly.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: In the Comic-Book Adaptation prequel, the Narada is a mining ship upgraded with reverse-engineered Borg technology.
  • Impossibly Tall Tower: Huge megastructures can be seen in the far distance in the Iowa scene.
  • Incompletely Trained: The crew of cadets forced into Saving the World.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Nero actually seems to believe that destroying Vulcan, Earth and the Federation will save Romulus, when it was destroyed due to a sun going supernova, and blames them for letting it happen when they tried to save Romulus and were simply too late. Made all the more ridiculous by the fact that Romulus still exists in the time period he is now in and he is doing nothing to warn them to evacuate or otherwise do something practical and obvious to avert the disaster. It is implied that he doesn't care about Romulus anymore, that he just wants revenge on a Federation that helped cause the destruction of all that he knew and loved... and that he's just insane.
    • A deleted scene in the movie and a tie-in prequel comic both give a lot more insight into Nero's actions. Specifically: Nero did try to warn the Romulan senate in his own timeline about the impending danger and they refused to listen, even with concrete evidence; therefore, Nero saw no point in trying to repeat this in the new timeline. He was also shown to work closely with Spock on the Federation project meant to save Romulus, was repeatedly told that it would work...and then had to watch it fail.
  • Instant Sedation: Another Star Trek staple, here played for laughs.
    Bones: I'm going to give you a mild sedative. [injects Kirk in the neck]
    Kirk: Ow! How long is it supposed to — [falls over]
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • James T. Kirk's father dies thanks to Nero's meddling with the timestream, and Kirk grows up an angry, disaffected youth. Yet, against all odds, vastly different circumstances work out in the end to bring the core crew of the Enterprise together, as if willed by Destiny itself, along with Spock Prime's meddling.
    • The IDW comics are running through various Star Trek: The Original Series storylines. There are differences, because the characters are different, but Gary Mitchell still becomes a god when they cross the Galactic Barrier, and the "Galileo Seven" still end up trapped on Taurus II while studying a quasar.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: The other characters have no trouble understanding a word Chekov says, despite him having a "Russian" accent thicker than borscht. This is inverted, however, when the computer can't understand his passcode, because of his mangling of "Vwictor Vwictor". (Incidentally, Anton Yelchin really is Russian-born. The accent is still very, very fake, especially being that the quirks of it are actually Slovakian, and not Russian, as commented on in the DVD behind the scenes extras.)
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Korean actor John Cho plays Sulu, who is Japanese-Filipino.note 
  • Internal Homage: The young Spock's persecution over his half-human heritage and meeting his future elder self was featured in the animated series episode, "Yesteryear".
  • Interspecies Romance: Spock/Uhura (half human/Vulcan + human), Sarek/Amanda (Vulcan + human) and Gaila/Kirk (Orion + human).
  • Ironic Echo: When Kirk and McCoy first meet, McCoy tells Kirk, "I might throw up on you," since they're about to fly into space, triggering his phobia. Three years later, McCoy has gotten used to the idea, and stares in wonder at the shiny new Enterprise while Kirk, sick as a dog from the vaccine McCoy gave him, warns him about imminent vomit in turn.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kirk, Captain James T. At first, it's almost as if he wakes up in the morning and thinks of new ways to piss off any and every body he encounters. Wrecks his stepdad's car and stands up to the cop who tried to pull him over. Participates in a bar fight that some cadets start (they punched him first) because he kept hitting on Uhura (who's completely uninterested in him). Reprograms an unwinnable test, which is cheating, to prove that he can win it (by thinking outside the box). Shows no remorse when caught because he doesn't feel he's in the wrong. Indeed, Kirk demonstrates the same wheeling, dealing, and conniving traits of a Magnificent Bastard. The differences are—first, Kirk was never out to hurt anyone just for his own ends. Second, it is made clear he's only acting up because he lacks a challenge worthy of his smarts—once the adventure kicks off, Kirk repeatedly throws himself into danger to save people, despite inevitably ending up getting his ass kicked. Most importantly, he uses his cunning to save the universe. This movie states overtly what the series were more subtle about: Kirk's Jerk tendencies are also the qualities that make him The Captain we all know and love.

    Tropes K-L 
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Sulu fights Romulans with a folding sword that looks a lot like a katana, though it could also be a saber. He describes his combat training as "fencing."
  • Key Under the Doormat: According to a deleted scene, the young Kirk found the keys to his step-father's Corvette above the sun visor.
  • Kick the Dog: During Kirk's trial, Spock takes a moment to rub the death of Kirk's father in his face to make a point about no-win scenarios.
  • Kill All Humans: Nero plans to do so, in addition to other species.
  • Kill It with Fire: In the fight on the drill, Sulu kicks one of the Romulans onto an exhaust vent. The Romulan has a second or so to realize where he is before the vent expels flames, incinerating him.
  • Kill Sat: The Narada's drill has the look of one, being dropped into a planet's atmosphere in order to fire a beam that bores its way to the planet's core, where pressure can ignite the Red Matter into a planet-destroying singularity. Nero could probably use the drill to annihilate whatever surface target he pleases, but since he's planning to destroy the whole planet anyway, he doesn't bother to aim it.
  • Kirk's Rock: The landscape of Vulcan is a clear homage, with the distinctive shape of the rock formation appearing many times along the horizon.
  • Lab Pet: Inverted. Admiral Archer allows his pet beagle to be used in a teleportation experiment... with unfortunate results. (Word of God has it that this will likely be a Brick Joke later in the film series.)
  • Large Ham: Nero, especially when he gets angry. Eric Bana has a lot of fun Chewing the Scenery to little bits.

    Nero: Fire everything!
  • Laser Cutter: The Narada has an enormous laser drill, intended for mining, that Nero uses to make holes for launching Red Matter into to cause Planet-Shattering Kabooms.
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming: At the beginning of the movie, when Kirk's parents are naming him. He's named for his maternal grandfather, and his middle name is his paternal grandfather's.
  • Lens Flare: This film uses a lot of lens flare. This was a style decision by J. J. Abrams, who stated it was to represent a bright future. He later admitted he went overboard with the lens flares. Most of flares in the movie are real, not CGI, as the set was very brightly lit, with the ship shining everywhere, causing the flares.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Sulu admits his "advanced combat training" is actually fencing, which earns a seemingly-justified Oh, Crap! face from Kirk and a laugh from the audience. In the fight on the drill that immediately follows, Sulu defeats his opponent (while Kirk gets his ass kicked, no less, resulting in Sulu killing Kirk's opponent as well).
  • Literal Cliffhanger: Kirk suffers this trope once when only a kid, giving him plenty of practice for the amount of times it happens to him as an adult (twice in this movie alone).

    Tropes M-N 
  • Macross Missile Massacre: It's practically the Narada's Signature Style.
  • Master Swordsman: Sulu's "fencing" with a fold-out katana proves to be more than a match for two of Nero's Romulan crewmembers.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Several lines from early in the film are repeated later, such as "Cupcake," "I might throw up on you," and "That depends on your definition of winning."
    • Elder Spock's self-introduction echoes Star Trek II and Star Trek III, more than twenty years earlier:
    Spock: I have been, and always shall be, your friend.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • When your parents name you Nero, they probably have a specific destiny in mind.
    • The USS Kelvin is named after physicist and engineer Lord Kelvin (of whom the unit of temperature gets its namesake) as well as J. J. Abrams' grandfather Harry Kelvin. The registry number (NCC-0514) is also Harry's birthday.
    • Narada was a figure in Hindu mythology who travelled to distant worlds and realms. Rather appropriate for a time-travelling ship.
  • Mercy Kill: When the Narada is trapped in a black hole, Kirk offers Nero the chance to surrender and save his crew. Nero refuses and Kirk orders his crew to deliver a Coup de Grâce from Enterprise's forward battery.
  • Mildly Military: Starfleet is semi-militarized in response to the fate of the Kelvin, but has its female personnel in sundresses (admittedly this is a Continuity Nod to Star Trek: The Original Series). However, they act more military in this film than Starfleet often does, for instance convening a quasi-Court Martial in response to Kirk cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test. (How military, exactly, Starfleet is depends on the series and script: Prime Kirk and Benjamin Sisko were both very open about the fact that they were primarily soldiers, not explorers or diplomats; Jean-Luc Picard considered himself the opposite.)
  • Military Maverick: Kirk and Spock (the latter because after learning that the Vulcan elders of the Vulcan Science Academy thought his parentage a disability, he joined Starfleet, and the former because... hey, he's Kirk (and he always was a bit of a cowboy)!
  • Mind Meld: Old Spock shares his thoughts with Kirk in this manner, and Young Spock uses this to forcibly extract some useful information from an unconscious Romulan.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: Spock, very scarily. Helps that Vulcans cannonically have three times the strength and endurance of a human.
  • Misplaced Retribution: A retroactive one, combined with Villain Has a Point. Because of the use of "time travel creates an alternate universe, not actually changing the past" version of time travel and the revelation in Star Trek: Picard that Nero was right about the Federation did leave the Romulans to die, while it still doesn't justify his actions, Nero's attacks on the Kelvin timeline's Federation are this.
  • Missing Mom: Spock's mother dies nanoseconds before she can be beamed to safety aboard the Enterprise when Nero attacks Vulcan.
  • Monumental Damage: Narrowly averted. The Narada's giant drill sure looks like it's going to crash into the Golden Gate Bridge, but just barely misses it.
  • Mood Whiplash:
  • More Dakka:
  • The Mountains of Illinois: Young Kirk's excursion with his stepfather's car starts in an environment that generally resembles Iowa, but ends at a high cliffside that certainly doesn't exist anywhere in Iowa (yet), overlooking an distinctly American southwestern landscape.
    • Abrams handwaved it in the commentary by saying they'd dug a quarry in Iowa by the 23rd century.
  • My Future Self and Me: Spock and Spock Prime meet at the end of the film and they have a nice chat.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • It's subtle, but when Spock stands up during the hearing after the Kobayashi Maru, he performs the Picard Maneuver.
    • When Nero fires his drill at San Francisco Bay, he ends up drilling in the same spot the HMS Bounty crashes in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
    • Nero destroys 47 Klingon ships offscreen: the number 47 was a Running Gag in Star Trek: The Next Generation era of shows.
    • The short-sleeved skirt uniforms worn by female Starfleet personnel are somewhat reminiscent of the skant uniform seen in the early seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    • A giant planet-killing spaceship that drove a man mad when he was Forced to Watch it destroy one, and is in turn vanquished by having a smaller ship laden up with an explosive payload and launched down its gullet by a pilot who beams out at the last moment? Sounds a lot like "The Doomsday Machine".
    • At the end, the dress tunics everyone wears are clearly meant to be the similar ones from 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And it's probably no coincidence that Pike winds up in a wheelchair... "The Menagerie", anyone? The novel hints pretty strongly that the timeline is attempting to repair itself; apparently Pike was *destined* to end up in a wheelchair.
    • In the opening scene, Kirk Sr.'s uniform seems to be about halfway between the ones used in Star Trek: Enterprise and the ones in the original series.
    • Someone from the Romulan Empire, who has a ship (with a distinct green tinge) capable of destroying a planet/all life on a planet, with a vendetta against a member of the Enterprise crew? Sounds familiar.
    • Of the seven main characters in The Original Series, Uhura is the only one who never had a canon first name; hence the Running Gag of her refusing to tell it to anyone. ("Nyota" was first recommended by Uhura's actress, Nichelle Nichols, and its arrival on screen is arguably the punch line to a four-decade Brick Joke.)
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Captain Nero
  • Narrow Annihilation Escape: When Nero launches the red matter into Vulcan's core, Spock is able to rescue the Vulcan High Elders, and Sarek, his father, but is unable to save his mother, Amanda, as the cliff she stood on gave way as the landscape crumbled while they beamed up to the Enterprise. The final view of Vulcan is of the planet spiraling into nothingness as the Enterprise flies away.
  • Necessary Fail: Interesting case. As pointed out in In Spite of a Nail, it seems that not only did history continue in spite of Nero's actions, it seems certain things happened only because of it. The destruction of Vulcan actually serves to bring Spock and Kirk together in common cause.
  • Neck Lift: Romulans, being related to Vulcans, certainly aren't on the weak end of the alien spectrum, because Ayel necklifts Kirk. Bonus points for doing it over a huge pit inside the Romulan ship.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Red Matter-induced black holes behave more like Swirly Energy Thingies than real black holes, especially since they appear to be two-dimensional.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds!: Kirk, who just plain doesn't care about statistical calculations and pretty much lives to defy them, as he informs Spock on multiple occasions.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Spock Prime's reason why he couldn't go to the Enterprise with Kirk, although he was implying. As noted in Alternate Continuity, Spock Prime can meet himself and not disappear from the timeline, so this is an example of Playing with a Trope.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailers seem to have been specifically edited to imply or outright lie about events. For example, Nero's line "Your father... was a great man. But that was another life." is from two lines. One about Kirk's father, and the second half about Kirk himself, from Nero's original timeline.
    • They also imply a romance between Kirk and Uhura. In the actual movie, Kirk does show interest in Uhura, but she doesn't give him the time of day. Or her first name.
    • The trailer also seems to imply that when Kirk assumes the captain's chair (when McCoy says "We have no captain and no first officer to replace him"), it is done in a dramatic fashion. It's actually more Played for Laughs, as McCoy and the crew are astonished that the trouble-making Kirk is now in charge, since they were unaware that Pike promoted him when they left the ship for their task.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Kirk is usually on the receiving end of these, one of which is delivered by Spock. Young Spock also gives one to a bully. See Berserk Button.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Averted. The Narada is caught in the midst of a black hole that has opened up from inside the ship. After their offer of rescue to the Romulan crew is refused, the Enterprise proceeds to open fire in order to make sure they don't survive that.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • The Narada has platforms suspended over huge drops, with no railings. Hundreds of them. Of course, this allows the Romulans to get around more quickly, so it may be a deliberate design feature. Yes, they jump off, but remember that like the Vulcans, they have three times the strength and endurance of a human. Also, the Narada is a refitted deep-space mining vessel, so we're seeing the massive cargo bays that would have normally carried mined materials. The platforms and walkways were mostly made from scrap when it was refitted into a warship and aren't part of the normal design.
    • There are also scenes where power cables are seen in puddles of water.
    • Perhaps some credit should be given to the engineering sections in this movie... this Enterprise may just be the nearest thing we'll get to an OSHA-compliant ship in the Trek Verse ("Gentlemen! I call my invention... a seatbelt."), although still far from perfect in that regard, like for example the lack of barriers to prevent entering the transporter pad when it's in operation.
    • The Enterprise view screen is a glass (or transparent aluminium) window that leads directly out into space, but doesn't have any form of blast shield or emergency bulkhead in case it breaks. While you could argue that the ship has shields for that, they frequently go offline and aren't that reliable as a safeguard.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Played With. At the end of the Bar Brawl, when Captain Pike breaks it up, Kirk says something to Pike that is lucid, but it's obvious he's dazed. It's probably one of the more accurate depictions of the effects of somebody getting repeatedly punched in the face.
    Pike: You alright, son?
    Kirk: [slurred] You can whistle really loud, you know that?
  • Non-Serial Movie: Set in an Alternate Universe from every previous Star Trek show and movie but this reality was created by somebody from the Prime universe travelling back in time and causing the timeline to split.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Narada, a mining vessel from the year 2387, can destroy most of Starfleet in 2233. This is explained in other material as Narada having been upgraded with reverse-engineered Borg tech: it also did a number on the Enterprise-E back in the prime universe.
  • No Such Thing as H.R.: Starfleet, where a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown is practically a recruiting tool.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • For the characters, the events of this film are just another event, but for the fans with the benefit of oversight, it heavily alters Star Trek mythology.
    • The destruction of Vulcan. The devastated look on the older Spock's face cements that until then, the changes could have simply turned this into a Close-Enough Timeline. Now nothing will ever be the same. Word of God was that Vulcan was destroyed for exactly this reason—to show that things are not the same, and that this is deadly serious.
  • Not So Stoic: Spock, as per usual.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: When Kirk and Sulu get plucked out of free-fall by the teleporter, they still have momentum and slam onto the teleporter floor... but then stand right up.

    Tropes O-P 
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Jim Kirk practically turns this into an art form, frequently acting like a womanizing idiot or playing the fool throughout parts of the film. However, it quickly becomes clear that he's not nearly as stupid as he leads people to believe, effectively beating the supposedly unbeatable Kobayashi Maru through rather ingenious means and then stopping Nero's rampage of revenge against the Federation. Prior to joining Starfleet, it's even stated by Pike that Jim's the only “genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest."
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: As per the comic prequel, these on both Romulus and Vulcan are a major reason for the delays that led to Spock Prime not being able to do his mission on time.
  • Obviously Evil: Nero and his crew have evil-looking tatoos, dark clothing and unhealthy skin colors, so that you won't accidentally mistake them for good guys. Better yet, their ship, the Narada, looks as if Sauron designed it.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Among the props used on the Enterprise bridge are supermarket price scanners. (The filmmakers are honoring a fine old Trek tradition: In TOS, Dr. McCoy's surgical lasers were actually "Swedish modern" salt-and-pepper shakers that the show's prop guy found on sale at May Company in LA.)
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • This exchange causes Kirk to have this expression:
      Kirk: So what type of combat training do you have?
      Sulu: Fencing.
    • And when Kirk tries to save Sulu from a very long fall, only for his parachute to break away.
    • Scotty tries to beam Kirk and Spock aboard what he assumes is the Romulan ship's cargo bay. Instead, they beam onto the bridge, surrounded by Romulans.
    • Also: "I've got your gun."
    • When Nero realizes that Spock is preparing to ram his ship with the Jellyfish and the red matter device aboard.
      Nero: What's he doing? (realizes what Spock's doing) FIRE EVERYTHING!
    • The entire bridge crew gets one when they emerge from warp and find that the fleet has been destroyed. More than that, the expression on their faces when the debris from the fleet is directly in their path.
    • Spock gets a low-grade one when it's first reported that Vulcan is in trouble.
      Chekov: If my calculations are correct, they're creating a singularity that will...consume the planet.
      Spock: They're creating a black hole at the center of Vulcan?
      Chekov: Yes, sir.
      Spock: How long does the planet have?
      Chekov: Minutes, sir. Minutes.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting / One-Woman Wail / Ethereal Choir: During the final battle and destruction of Nero's ship, of course.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Nero's stated desire is to use Red Matter to turn every single Federation planet into a black hole.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Simon Pegg temporarily reverts to his natural English accent when he asks for a towel.
  • Orifice Invasion: Nero uses a creature with similar properties to the worms from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Pike to get him to talk. But it's through the mouth this time, and fortunately far less graphic.
  • Overranked Soldier: Although most fans agree that if you are James Tiberius Kirk, you belong into the captain's chair, Kirk's promotion from cadet directly to first officer strains the Suspension of Disbelief for many. In order for it to happen, everyone above him in the chain of command has to die or be captured. Everyone in Starfleet. The Enterprise is staffed entirely with cadets. And Spock, who disqualifies himself after beating the crap out of Kirk (which is precipitated by Kirk himself, so make of that what you will).
  • Pair the Smart Ones: Spock and Uhura. Uhura is one of the top cadets in her class, was once Spock's teaching assistant, and earned her spot on the Enterprise by knowing more Klingon and Romulan than the sitting communication officer. Spock is one of the Academy's most smartest and esteemed graduates and is first officer of the ship. The fact that she was once his teaching assistant definitely underlines that she's smart enough to keep up with him.
  • Parental Substitute: Pike is about the closest thing to a true father figure Kirk ever had. He looks out for him and encourages living up to his dad's name. It could be vaguely lampshaded when he asks "You alright, son?" after his Iowa bar fight.
  • Parenthetical Swearing:
    • Spock puts a certain quirk of the brow, twist of the mouth and inflection on the Vulcan salutation "Live Long and Prosper," turning it into the most polite yet obvious "fuck you" ever.
    • See also McCoy's line when angry with Spock. "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?!"
    • The deleted scenes also give us McCoy's "same ship, different day" line.
  • Permission to Speak Freely: McCoy asks Spock for permission so he can go off on him regarding Kirk's ouster from the ship.
    Spock: I welcome it.
    McCoy: Really? Ok, then: Are you out of your Vulcan mind?!
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Little Spock easily kicks the ass of a young Vulcan taller than him.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: "Labor of Love" accompanies George Kirk's Heroic Sacrifice as he protects the 800 evacuees of the Kelvin.
  • Plot Allergy: McCoy uses Kirk's (expected) reaction to a vaccine get him aboard the Enterprise on medical grounds. Unfortunately, poor Kirk turns out to be outright allergic to the vaccine and experiences some... rather interesting reactions to it.
  • Plot Armor:
    • The Enterprise is the beneficiary here when it arrives at Vulcan and gets spared from destruction only by Nero's orders. This is, however, justified by Nero's desire to keep Spock alive to be on the receiving end of Nero's revenge.
    • Later deconstructed and indirectly discussed when the crew realizes that Nero's incursion has created an alternate reality. Basically, whatever their lives and destinies might have been beforehand, they are undoubtedly different now. However, it seems that fate wants them all on the Enterprise regardless ...
  • Plot-Demanded Manual Mode: When George Kirk evacuates the Kelvin, he tries to set the autopilot as Robau ordered, only to see that it's offline. He therefore stays aboard and manually flies the ship into the Narada while everyone else (including his wife and newborn son) escapes.
  • Plummet Perspective: In the opening, young Kirk steals his stepfather's classic car and drives it off a cliff, barely managing to leap out before it goes. The camera makes sure to linger overhead to watch the priceless antique fall out of sight.
  • Point Defenseless: Averted by Starfleet ships, if not by the Narada. Both times we see the Narada engage in combat with a Starfleet vessel, the Starfleet ship does an admirable job of shooting down the incoming fire. There are just too many missiles.
  • The Power of Friendship: Spock Prime cites this trope as the reason why Kirk and Spock must learn to work together; it is the only way the Enterprise can defeat Nero.
  • Power Trio:
    • Downplayed, but still present. The traditional Kirk-Spock-McCoy dynamic, typically seen as the codifying power trio, is seen in its infancy. Kirk, here a brash hothead, actually ends up playing The McCoy more than the Trope Namer, who is more Kirk-like in response.
    • However, it's suggested that Uhura has been "upgraded", so to speak, and they're now a Four-Temperament Ensemble, with McCoy as sanguine, Kirk as choleric, Uhura as melancholic, and Spock as phlegmatic. There's good discussion of this here.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The Alternate Reality was introduced to avert Continuity Snarl and have total freedom with the characters and canon, but to also allow a feasible excuse for updating the technological and visual effects to a 2009 audience.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Kirk's reaction after meeting Spock Prime. Well, precision BS-strike actually, but close.
    • A much subtler version is Spock's "Live Long and Prosper" to the Vulcan Science Academy. The novelization subtlely describes it as an equivalent to Flipping the Bird.
    • When "Sabotage" is being played while little James Kirk is joyriding in his uncle's car, they happen to leave the F bomb in the song, when in normal cases it's burred out for PG-13 films. Perhaps this may have been the series' first F bomb used in a film.
    • Who could forget this gem from Bones.
      McCoy: Are you out of your Vulcan mind?
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: The Dragon has Kirk by the throat, holding him over a ledge and gloating about how weak humans are. Kirk makes some vague choking noises, prompting the villain to observe that Kirk "can't even speak!" Kirk's response? A suddenly lucid "I've got your gun!" at which point he promptly gives The Dragon back his ammo. Right in the chest.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: Kirk says "I got your gun," then grabs Ayel's pistol and shoots him with it.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "I got your gun." Cue Oh, Crap! look.
  • Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye: George Kirk's last words to his wife, before what's left of the Kelvin crashes into the Narada.
    "Sweetheart, can you hear me? I love you so much! I love you--"
  • Pressure Point: Spock knocks Kirk out with the Vulcan nerve pinch before ordering him to be left on Delta Vega.
  • Product Placement: For Nokia, Budweiser, and Jack Daniels. In exchange, a Budweiser macrobrewery stands in for the Enterprise engine room.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Spock and Uhura. There were a few scenes between them in early TOS episodes that could be seen as flirting, but it never really went anywhere. The film, on the other hand, has them in an established relationship.
  • Promotion, Not Punishment: At the start, Kirk is actually about to be kicked out for cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test, then tops that by stowing away on the Enterprise, then actually attempts a mutiny against Spock and disobeys the acting Captain's orders. Being that it is his disregard of orders that leads to the defeat of the Big Bad and the saving of (almost) every planet in the Federation, one can begin to see how he actually skips all the way to the Captain's chair at the end.

    Tropes Q-S 
  • Rage-Breaking Point: Spock hits this twice, in both cases when other characters insult his mother and his half-human heritage.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The main crew verges on this, especially as compared to their TOS counterparts. Kirk's a cadet under disciplinary review, Scotty gets pulled out of his reassignment to Antarctia, Uhura intimidates Spock into reassigning her to the Enterprise, and Sulu is a last-minute replacement for the real helmsman, who got sick.
  • Ramming Always Works:
    • In some deleted scenes, the Narada got severely crippled after the Kelvin rammed into it, the ship and its crew were captured by the Klingons. They were taken to Rura Penthe (the prison planet from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) and it took them twenty five years to escape. Needless to say once they got their ship back the Narada's crew proceeded to pay back the Klingons in full. The resulting battle is where the transmission Uhura picked up came from.
    • The Narada gets a round two from the Jellyfish, which this time has the Red Matter to do most of the damage.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: The gravity readings when the Red Matter is activated on Vulcan, according to Chekov.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Pike; Robau.
    • Looking at the movie again, it would appear Nero is one of these as well. Even when his plans get foiled, or his mooks get punked, he never hauls off and declares You Have Failed Me. When Kirk and Sulu damage the drill the first time, all he did was just retract it and order the red matter deployed.note 
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Scotty gets sent to a Federation outpost on a remote ice world after one of his transporter experiments caused Admiral Archer's dog to be involved in a freak transporter accident.
    Kirk: I know that dog. What happened to it?
    Scotty: I'll tell you when it reappears.
  • Recycled INSPACE: While it's based on the '60s TV series, where the show dealt with themes of exploration and asking universal questions, the film more-or-less becomes Top Gun... in space. Kirk is a maverick whose father died in an act of aerial heroism. He has an older, more tightly-wound buddy (McCoy), and a gruff superior officer (Pike) who appears to disapprove of him, but secretly thinks he has a certain untapped potential. There's also an "icy" rival (Spock), though he gets the hot/smart chick (Uhura) instead of our maverick. Spock kicks him off the Enterprise not because of his flying, but because of his attitude, but after he meets Spock's older self, he makes it back to the ship and proves he's the best of the best and by the end, he and Spock can be each others' wingman anytime—or rather, are and always shall be friends.
  • Recycled Title: Star Trek is already the original name of the first series and the franchise as a whole. As of today, the 2009 film is currently the only work in the Star Trek franchise to be officially known as Star Trek with no subtitle, as the series was renamed Star Trek: The Original Series, and the first film had the full title of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Fans are calling it "Star Trek 11" or Star Trek: The Future Begins to differentiate it. It has also been labeled Star Trek '09 while TOS is alternatively referred to as Star Trek '66, nodding to their respective releases.
  • Red Pill, Blue Pill: "So your daddy dies... you can settle for a less-than-ordinary life. Or do you feel like you're meant for something better? Something special?" Captain Pike offers James T. Kirk the chance to be equal or greater than Kirk's father, even if Jim were half the man of an officer that was Captain of a Starship for twelve minutes.
  • Red Shirt:
    • Knowingly used and subverted by J. J. Abrams, but it wouldn't be Star Trek without it. A poor fashion choice gets someone killed. Poor fashion choice and reckless stupidity from the Chief Engineer. This is the only "red shirt" who dies in the film, unless you count all the Academy cadets who were wearing red uniforms.
    • In an amusing subversion, the actual Red Shirts—the "Cupcake" guy et al.—make it through the movie relatively unharmed.
  • Red Shirt Army: All the ships heading out to Vulcan that aren't the Enterprise.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Invoked when young James T. Kirk leads a police officer in a high-speed chase with his stepfather's classic car, which ultimately Kirk has to dive from when it starts falling into a ravine. Kirk pulls himself up from the quarry, dusts himself off, and as the officer confronts him, Kirk says:
    James T. Kirk: Is there a problem, officer?
  • Reimagining the Artifact: On Star Trek: The Original Series, Dr. McCoy's nickname "Bones" comes from the term "Sawbones", which was an old nickname for doctors. Since the term has fallen from the parlance, this film has Kirk call McCoy "Bones" because, in his introduction, he explains he's joining Starfleet because "The ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I've got left is my bones."
  • Relative Button: Don't insult Spock's mother.
  • The Remake: This is basically The Film of the Series of Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • Remote Vitals Monitoring: When Capt. Robau leaves the Kelvin to meet with Nero on the Narada, his vitals are kept up with on a screen on the bridge, the officer watching it noting that his heartbeat is elevated. The vital readout changes to "TERMINATED" in bright red immediately after Nero kills him.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The Narada for the Romulans:
    Pike: You've declared war against the Federation. Withdraw. I'll agree to arrange a conference with Romulan leadership at a neutral location.
    Nero: I do not speak for the Empire. We stand apart...
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • Nero refuses to listen to any plan or idea that does not fit with his goal to destroy every Federation planet.
    • In a quieter example, Spock toward the end, when Kirk offers to rescue Nero ( who had previously destroyed Vulcan) from the singularity he created.
      Spock: Captain, what are you doing?
      Kirk: Showing them compassion may be the only way to earn peace with the Romulans. It's logic, Spock. I thought you'd like that.
      Spock: No, not really. Not this time.
  • Rings of Activation: The teleportation effect in this movie takes the form of numerous white rings of light surrounding the individual before they are transported.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory:
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Nero's entire motivation, after the destruction of the Romulan home system and death of his family. A whole lot of Starfleet, a whole lot of Klingons, Vulcan (both the planet and species) and the freaking timestream are all casualties of it.
  • Rocketless Reentry: Kirk and Sulu drop from orbit onto the Narada's drill to disable it, but fail to stop Vulcan's destruction.
  • Rule of Cool: Notably, the only entry in the entire series to forego its allegoric and philosophical roots and solely run on this—and excel at it brilliantly.
  • The Runaway: George Samuel Kirk, the older brother of James T. Kirk, ran away from home when the brothers were young to escape their stepfather's constant abuse.
  • Running Gag: Chekov's accent. Seriously. And McCoy's injections. And Kirk trying to learn Uhura's first name, which itself is a Mythology Gag since Uhura never had a canon first name before now. ("Nyota" was Fanon. Though the fan in question was Nichelle Nichols...)
  • Sacrificial Lamb: First, Captain Robau, and then the USS Kelvin itself in the film's opening. Later on, Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson dies just before Vulcan itself.
  • Sacrificial Planet: The movie shows the planet Vulcan being destroyed, and then heads for Earth to do the same.
  • Sarcastic Well Wishing: Spock is all set to join the Vulcan Science Academy until the headmaster congratulates him for overcoming the disadvantage of having a human mother. This prompts Spock, a huge Momma's Boy, to reject the VSA in favor of Starfleet, and he makes his Tranquil Fury clear with a very sarcastic farewell.
    Spock: Thank you, ministers, for your consideration. Live long and prosper.
  • Save the Villain: Played with. When the Narada is crippled by the artificial black hole, Kirk offers assistance and fair accomodations for the crew as refugees. Even Spock gave a kind of inverted What the Hell, Hero? to Kirk. Nero venomously refuses any help and Kirk wastes no time in opening fire to make sure the ship doesn't survive.
  • Scenery Gorn: When the Enterprise arrives at Vulcan, it finds the other ships that warped there destroyed, and has to dodge large pieces of debris. It doesn't come out unscathed, either; a nacelle drags against a destroyed saucer section.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • Two main problems with the supernova scenario.
      • First, the idea that a supernova could threaten to destroy the entire galaxy. The blast front would dissipate long before that from spreading out too far. The official novelization of the movie fixes this, saying the supernova had threatened everything in its vicinity. The latter was eventually confirmed canonically by Star Trek: Picard.
      • Second, the idea that a supernova could destroy the Romulus System before it could be evacuated. Having the shockwave travel at the required speed violates basic Einsteinian physics (i.e. it would have to travel faster than the speed of light, which is impossible). The only way this would make sense is if it was the sun of Romulus and Remus themselves that blew up. Otherwise the star systems in the vicinity would have, at minimum, years to evacuate, a daunting but hardly impossible task for a major warp-capable polity such as the Romulan Star Empire. The comic tie-ins and Star Trek Online stated non-canonically that the shockwave unexpectedly propagated through subspace and hit the Romulan system only hours after the detonation, and the MMORPG added that the nova was deliberately induced by a Renegade Splinter Faction of the Tal Shiar at the behest of the Iconians. Star Trek: Picard retconned the star to be the Romulan sun itself, as well as confirming that much of the Romulan race survived (no sign of the Remans as yet) and blaming the partial failure of the Homeworld Evacuation on internal political problems in the Federation exacerbated by the actions of renegade Tal Shiar.
    • Delta Vega, which Star Trek: The Original Series placed near the rim of the galaxy in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", is somehow close enough to Vulcan for Prime!Spock to watch its destruction by Nero with the naked eye, in real time. This was handwaved at the time as being intended as an impressionistic description rather than meant literally; also, the film's Delta Vega is apparently a different object with the same name as the one from TOS.
  • Screaming Birth: Jim Kirk's birth at the beginning.
  • Screw the Rules, They Broke Them First!: Kirk's defense at his disciplinary hearing for cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test is that "the test itself is a cheat: it's designed to be unwinnable." In other words, he just saw it as doing unto the test what it did unto him.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!:
  • Self-Induced Allergic Reaction: McCoy injects Kirk with a vaccine, making him visibly sick. This allows McCoy to fast-talk a guard and get Kirk onto the Enterprise. Of course, some people have worse reactions than others.
  • Series Continuity Error:
  • Shouldn't We Be In School Right Now?: Uhura and McCoy are all still Starfleet Academy cadets called to active duty when a catastrophe looms. Kirk should be in the equivalent of detention, facing suspension, and gets bumped up to first officer.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Red Matter ball looks identical to a couple that feature in Alias.
    • The Jellyfish's Red Matter room is very similar to the inside of the Joint European Torus [1].
    • To Star Wars:
      • During the beginning of the battle between the Kelvin and the Narada, one of the bridge staff says "All power to forward batteries."
      • The Enterprise going into warp comes this close to looking like going into hyperspace.
      • When the cadets muster in the hangar for their ship postings, Cadet Vader is assigned to the USS Hood.
    • When Captain Pike's shuttle is launching for the space jump, the air traffic controller's pre-flight checks are the same as a Viper from Battlestar Galactica (2003).
    ATC: [on speaker] You are clear forward, interval check, thrust positive and steady.
    • Kirk and McCoy fly to spacedock aboard the Shuttlecraft Gilliam.
    • When young Kirk is joyriding to the tune of the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage", it might have seemed like an odd song choice until one remembers when William Shatner voiced displeasure over being told how to pronounce said word during an audiobook recording.
    • An arctic planet inhabited by red multi-limbed-and-jawed creatures evokes The Thing (1982).
    • Spock quotes Sherlock Holmes from The Sign of the Four: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".
  • Single-Biome Planet: Vulcan is a planet of stony desert full of Kirk's Rock–like formations. Delta Vega is an ice planet.
  • Skyward Scream: Nero cuts loose when Spock steals the Jellyfish and its cargo of Red Matter.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Slides a bit on down toward Cynicism from the bright and optimistic place Star Trek: The Original Series occupied near Idealism. But the scenery is a lot prettier.
  • Slow Laser: Phasers go from "continuous-beam" in prior Trek works to pulse weapons in this film.
  • Smoke and Fire Factory: The bridge, medical bay, hallways and transporter room of the new Enterprise look all nice and spiffy. Of course, the engineering section has to look like it's powered by Miller Light—and those engineering scenes were actually filmed at a Budweiser Brewery.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Inverted by Scotty, speaking of the Enterprise:
    Scotty: She is one well-endowed lady. I'd like to get my hands on her ample nacelles, if you'll pardon the engineering parlance.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: At the beginning of the movie, as George Kirk sends his ship on a collision course with the Narada, an extraordinarily beautiful musical piece plays.
  • Sour Supporter: McCoy stands by Kirk through all his crazy shenanigans, even when he can't quite see how Kirk's antics are helping anyone. When Kirk actually manages to gain the captain's chair, McCoy is incredulous.
  • Space Cadet Academy: Any Star Trek series will probably reference Starfleet Academy at some point, and it features prominently in this movie.
  • Space Is Noisy:
    • Subject to the Rule of Drama. When we're subject to a character POV, we either hear nothing or just the sound of their own breathing if they are in a space suit. If there are no character POVs to be subjected to, we can hear the explosions and jumps to warp just fine.
    • Subverted when the Kelvin is being attacked. There's plenty of crashing and screaming before the hull ruptures and the woman is sucked into space, and then it goes completely silent while she is still flailing and trying to scream.
  • Space Isolation Horror: Dr. 'Bones' McCoy has a healthy fear of this. He goes on a lengthy diatribe of how dangerous it is to fly around in spaceships like shuttles and what may happen if they malfunction, how alien diseases are horrifying and how space in general is a collection of Death Worlds with an equally dangerous nothing in between them.
  • Spanner in the Works: Sulu is a mild case early on. He fails to disable the space brakes delaying the Enterprise's jump to warp, which gives Kirk enough time to convince Pike to raise shields before arriving.
  • Special Effect Branding: Phasers have red and blue emitters for Kill and Stun settings, respectively.
  • Special Guest: Leonard Nimoy as Ambassador Spock, credited as "Spock Prime".
  • Spikes of Villainy: Just look at the Romulan ship and the chain the drill is hanging from. Combined with Spikes of Doom when we first see it emerging from the wormhole, spikes curving menacingly towards the tiny-by-comparison USS Kelvin.
  • Stealth Insult: Upon rejecting admission to the Vulcan Science Council after being told that his "disadvantage" hasn't slowed him down, Spock tells the elders to "Live long and prosper" in the most vitriolic way a Vulcan possibly could. (Commonly memed as "Live long and screw you" or variants thereof.)
  • Stealth Sequel: It was billed as an Origin Story prequel, but turned out to be a quasi-prequel, sequel and a reboot all in one. In addition to seeing Kirk and co. as rookies, we get an aging Spock meeting his younger self, and we see how the Federation's conflict with the Romulans finally ends.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: As a result of Separated-at-Birth Casting:
    • James T. Kirk bears such a strong resemblance to his father that some viewers initially mistook George Kirk for his son.
    • Spock also shares a few features with his mother. His eyes are commented on by other Vulcans as being extremely human.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The film features things exploding. Many things exploding. Explodily. Which were produced by Industrial Light & Magic. And it was awesome.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Nero's ship, a 24th century civilian mining vessel that is capable of destroying 47 23rd century Klingon warships. Even considering the 150 year tech advance, that's still one hell of a mining vessel. In the comic book accompanying the movie, it's explained that Nero's ship is equipped with reverse-engineered Borg weapons that he took from a research base: he had previously trashed a Klingon reaction force commanded by Worf, and fought the USS Enterprise-E to a draw.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: Red Matter–induced black holes are oddly two-dimensional and surrounded by a swirly "lightning storm in space."

    Tropes T-Z 
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Starfleet ships favor Beam Spam, while the Narada employs Macross Missile Massacre. One hopes the Klingons employ More Dakka.
  • Take That!:
    • Establishing Uhura's linguistics skills is a Take That! against the "Klingon Dictionary" scene in The Undiscovered Country.
    • Scotty's explanation of how he decided to test his Transwarp Beaming on "Admiral Archer's prize beagle":
      Kirk: Wait, I know that dog. What happened to it?
      Scotty: I'll tell you when it reappears. Ahem. I don't know, I do feel guilty about that.
    • Also the sequence when Kirk's shuttlecraft arrives at the Enterprise; instead of Star Trek: The Motion Picture's interminable fly around the ship in drydock, this film has a quick and efficient scene where the shuttlecraft flies over the length of the ship before immediately landing in the shuttlebay which shows its scale and majesty without boring the audience to death.
    • When Kirk first boards the shuttle, he hits his head on a pipe in the same way Scotty did in Star Trek V. William Shatner (Kirk's actor in The Original Series and the accompanying movies) directed that movie.
  • Taking a Third Option: Kirk, in regards to the Kobayashi Maru, no-win scenarios, and life in general.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: McCoy offering Jim a drink from his flask.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Spock and Uhura, though they didn't formally hook up until after Uhura left his tutelage.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Originally subverted, as Kirk couldn't care less but Pike tells him anyways. Later the trope is played straight, when Kirk meets up with Spock Prime and asks him about his father.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Kirk "accidentally" grabs Uhura's breasts during the bar fight scene. Cue a big smirk from Kirk and a sock on the jaw from Uhura.
  • That's an Order!: George Kirk ordering Medical Shuttle 37's pilot to take off without him, so that Winona and James can get to safety.
  • The Teaser: Straight into the action, title not until 11 minutes later and then just the title.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: "Enterprising Young Men" plays a few times when our heroes are being badass, such as when Sulu and his folding katana prepare to take on a Romulan soldier, or when the Enterprise pulls a Gunship Rescue for Spock and destroys Nero's Macross Missile Massacre.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill: Another Signature Style of the Narada.
  • This Is a Drill: The bad guys are futuristic miners, so Nero's is a drill that will crack a planet's crust.
  • This Is as Far as I Go: Spock Prime tells Kirk and Scotty that he cannot join them on the Enterprise, "That is not my destiny."
  • This Is My Chair: Kirk is doing his signature slouch in the Captain's Chair. Spock (still his superior) walks past and snaps, "Out of the chair."
  • Timeshifted Actor: Leonard Nimoy as the elderly Spock and Zachary Quinto as the younger Spock.
  • Title-Only Opening: And then not until after an eleven-minute prologue.
  • Token Romance: Spock and Uhura. Actually subverted in the sequel too: the romance allows the writers to remind the audience that Spock does in fact have feelings but just chooses to not show them. Roberto Orci said that they serve as a parallel to Spock's parents, which were also an interracial and interspecies couple, and thus it's quite plausible for Spock to fall for a human the way his father did, and it challenges his character in ways his counterpart never was. The romance also subverts the strong independent black woman who doesn't need no man racist trope for Uhura as well as the the hero always gets the girl trope (as Kirk doesn't get the girl that is in fact the already established girlfriend of The Nerdy Friend of the Hero.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The whole race of Romulans. Their whole sun goes supernova thus destroying Romulus in the process? Sorry, but you must be plain dumb in order to let that happen (according to Star Trek Online, they caused it by testing weapons that were banned due to this specific reason). Not only do they possess a whole star empire, which means they have more planets then just the one being threatened by the super nova, they should also have the technological possibilities to detect super novas in time. It's not like they happen as a total surprise. It shouldn't have been a problem at all to evacuate a planet in time. And to let Spock as the only person in the goddamned empire try to prevent it because they were too busy arguing. That's beyond dumb. Maybe more so, since the ship and technology Spock uses were built on Vulcan, which means somebody had sufficient advance notice and time to prepare a response.
    • Due to his wanting to show up the rookies, Olson waits until the absolute last moment before popping his parachute. Kirk and Sulu pull their chutes at a safe distance above the platform, but Olson turns out to have waited too long, and winds up dropping right into the path of the mining laser beam, completely vaporizing him and the explosives he was carrying for destroying the drill.
    • We also have the Vulcan bullies picking on Young Spock. It was clear from their reaction to Spock delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to one of them that none of them considered the possibility of their trying to "elicit an emotional response" in Spock might result in violence.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Jim Kirk seems to have leveled up in between Starfleet courses.
    • Chekov manages to level up, relative to his counterpart in the original continuity, by saving Kirk and Sulu through some very skilled transporter use.
    • Starfleet in response to the attack on the Kelvin. Part of the reason the Enterprise is more advanced than its counterpart from the Prime Universe is Starfleet's rapid realisation that there were things out there that had them severely outgunned. Pike even states that instead of just exploration, Starfleet has become a "Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Armada".
  • Tragic Villain: The tie-in prequel comic Star Trek: Countdown reveals Nero to be this as he truly entrusted Spock and the Federation to assist Romulus from imminent destruction.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot:
    • The distance from Earth to Vulcan takes exactly as long as is required by the plot. The initial journey seems to take only a few minutes but the return trip takes the second half of the movie. 40 Eridani (the triple-star system identified in canon as Vulcan's system) is only about 16.5 light years from Sol. This means that crossing the galaxy would take less than 9 days.
    • There's an instance of "turbolift rides only last as long as the conversation contained within." Duing the buildup to the Enterprise's departure, Spock takes a turbolift from the shuttlebay to the bridge, 80% of the total length of the ship, within seconds. Later Spock is joined by Uhura in the turbolift. Even after stopping and restarting the lift, the lift travels for at least 20 seconds.
  • Ultimate Universe: With it usage of Broad Strokes, the movie could be seen as a simplified version of the whole franchise packed into "one neat little starter-kit for new fans".
  • Understatement: Spock Prime is king of these, especially when he describes Omnicidal Maniac Nero as "a particularly troubled Romulan".
  • Unintelligible Accent: Chekov tries to say "Victor" but it sounds like "Wiktor", confusing the computer.
  • Unnamed Parent: Spock's mother's name is never said or shown in the film until the credits. (It's Amanda Grayson.)
  • Unnecessarily Large Vessel: The new Enterprise is roughly the size of the Galaxy-class from the original timeline. Much of it consists of extremely cavernous open spaces. Jefferies Tubes have been replaced by catwalks. This partly due to the use of real world locations such as the National Ignition Facility as sets for filming the reboot movies as opposed to a soundstage or green screen CGI background.
  • Unobtainium: Red Matter. A substance developed by the Vulcan Science Council, which can create massive black holes.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: As is common in science fiction, black holes are treated here as being almost infinitely powerful space vacuums that suck in everything around them almost instantaneously.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Kirk's final plan for defeating Nero.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: This time it has Kirk doing it, naturally. Thing is, he's taking it for the third time, and reprograms the computer so the Klingons have no shields, and does it with the finesse expected of the James T. Kirk original. Weapons... target-the-Klingon-Warbirds (sorry, battlecruisers. No such thing as Klingon Warbirds, Romulans have Warbirds).
  • Use Their Own Weapon Against Them: Ayel tries to strangle Kirk to death. Kirk uses their close proximity to grab Ayel's gun and kill him with it.
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: Done realistically when Sulu falls off the Romulan drill with no chute, and Kirk jumps off and catches him. However, Sulu only has five seconds on Kirk, Kirk catches up by exploiting air resistance as he profiles his body and Sulu spreads himself out, and they're VERY high up (they fall for more than a minute all told). Of course, it's all for naught as Kirk's chute breaks immediately and they have to rely on a miracle beam-up by Chekov on the Enterprise.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Nero's call to "FIRE EVERYTHING!" when he realizes Spock is doing a suicide run. He also has one when we first see him, upon realizing he's arrived in the past.
  • Visual Pun: Jim Kirk literally walks into a bar.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Bones is constantly bitching and Kirk is constantly giving him reasons to, but they definitely have each other's backs.
  • Walk and Talk: Twice, after Nero calls for the captain of an enemy vessel (the Kelvin and the Enterprise) to surrender himself via shuttlecraft, said captain makes plans with his underlings on his way from the bridge to the shuttlebay.
  • War Comes Home: Features two versions of this. Nero decides to exact retribution against this timeline's version of Vulcan and successfully destroys it with the red matter as a way of getting to Spock and all the other Vulcans. He then decides to attack Earth which makes this trope apply to Kirk and the human characters.
  • Watching Troy Burn:
    • Nero maroons Spock Prime on Delta Vega for the express purpose of witnessing the destruction of Vulcan.
    • Nero saw Romulus be destroyed.
  • Weaponized Headgear: Kirk uses his dropsuit helmet as a bludgeoning weapon when he loses his phaser on the Narada's drill.
  • We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future:
    • Implied by Dr. McCoy, who boasts that he has a cure for everything that ails Kirk. Then again, McCoy infected Kirk in the first place. It stands to reason allergic reactions would be easily treatable.
    • Based on the reference to Admiral Archer, human life expectancy is now considerably over a hundred.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's unknown whether Gaila was assigned to any of the Federation starships that were destroyed in the battle with Nero at Vulcan. Deleted scenes show she was also assigned to the Enterprise. There was, in fact an also-deleted subplot about how she and Kirk are now awkward around each other once she realizes he only slept with her to get her to reprogram the Kobayashi Maru. However, the deleted scene on board Enterprise, of Kirk apologizing to Gaila, is actually a different Orion (played by Diora Baird, Gaila was played by Rachel Nichols), and Kirk eventually realizes he's apologizing to a woman he's never met. It was cut along with the minor plot of Kirk using Gaila to beat the Kobayashi Maru, and because it made Kirk look to unsympathetic, not recognizing this green-skinned redhead isn't the same green-skinned redhead he'd been involved with. This still leaves Gaila's ultimate fate unknown.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Inverted when Kirk offers surrender terms to Nero.
    Spock: Captain, what are you doing?
    Kirk: Showing them compassion. It may be the only way to earn peace with Romulus. It's logic, Spock, I thought you'd like that.
    Spock: No, not really. Not this time.
  • What Year Is This?: When Robau doesn't recognize images of "our" Spock or his craft, the Romulans ask him what the current Stardate is. He tells them—and Nero leaps out of his chair and impales him.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: Ambassador Spock's ship, the Jellyfish, with three separately-rotating components which are obviously scientific and important because they have a glowy thing in the middle. This module seems to take the place of static warp nacelles.
  • Which Me?: Near the end of the movie, Spock sees someone he thinks is his father, but it turns out on closer inspection to be his older self, who tells him, "I am not our father". He seems to be deliberately mixing his pronouns as a way of cluing Spock to his identity, as neither of them have any more pronoun trouble for the rest of the conversation.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: When the baby Kirk is born, his parents discuss the name while Papa Wolf is making his Heroic Sacrifice.
    George: What are we gonna call him?
    Winona: We could name him after your father.
    George: [laughing] Tiberius? You kidding me? No, that's the worst. Let's name him after your dad. Let's call him Jim.
    Winona: Jim. OK, Jim it is.
  • With Due Respect: Young Spock saluting the Vulcan Council. See Parenthetical Swearing.
  • Within Arm's Reach: A Romulan grabs Kirk by the neck and lifts him up off his feet, squeezing hard. Kirk manages to pickpocket the Romulan's gun, and gurgles. The Romulan asks "What did you say?" and loosens his grip just enough for Kirk to croak "I got your gun" before shooting the Romulan
  • A Wizard Did It:
    • Word of God says that Future Spock seeing the planet Vulcan in the sky was actually a psychic vision similar to how Spock can sense large numbers of Vulcans dying over long distances in Star Trek: The Original Series.
    • The Novelization and Comic-Book Adaptation say that Kirk's escape pod landed so conveniently near Spock's cave because the timeline was trying to repair itself by bringing Kirk and Spock together.
    • Abrams says that the reason why technology is more advanced in the alternate timeline is because the shuttles evacuating the Kelvin scanned Nero's ship and then studied the futuristic technology.
    • A tie-in comic about Nero says that a stellar cartographer on Rura Pente and Vejur helped him work out where and when Future Spock would emerge from the black hole.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Nero's awesome (mining) ship wiped out a fleet of 47 Klingon Warbirds, conveniently off-screen, of course. Apparently getting your ass whooped to demonstrate someone else's badassery is genetic.
    • Countdown, the prequel comic, has the trope namer doing what he does best, getting his ass kicked.
  • Wrong Time-Travel Savvy: Spock Prime allows Kirk to infer that universe-ending paradoxes will ensue if he and his younger self interact. He just wants them to work together without using him as a crutch.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: And have a roaring barfight. Kirk meets Uhura, Captain Pike, and some of his future security officers at a small-town Iowa bar near where the Enterprise is under construction in drydock.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: The Vulcan Council congratulate Spock on overcoming the "disadvantage" of a human mother. Big mistake.
  • You Are in Command Now:
    • Before heading to the Narada, Captain Robau leaves his Number Two in command of the Kelvin.
      Robau: You're captain now, Mister Kirk.
    • This gets repeated when it's Pike's turn to go to the Narada, so he leaves Spock in command of the Enterprise after promoting Kirk to First Officer.
    • Then, when Spock has to relinquish command for being "emotionally compromised", Kirk becomes the captain.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Despite how much events change due to Nero's interference in the timeline, the crew of the Enterprise end up together anyway.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Kirk runs into the bridge, claiming they're heading towards a trap and Romulans who had attacked his dad twenty-something years ago are back. (It doesn't help that he's not even supposed to be on the Enterprise in the first place.) Thankfully Uhura is there to confirm it and Spock believes her. And Pike is a Reasonable Authority Figure, enough to give Kirk one chance to speak his mind.
  • You Killed My Father:
    • Nero is responsible for the death of Jim Kirk's father, George Kirk, only minutes after Jim's birth. Ironically, revenge for his father's death is never a main motive in Kirk's defeat of Nero.
    • Played straight with Spock's mother, whose death takes place in the movie's actual present.
  • Younger and Hipper: HAH! The entire freaking crew! Even if Pike can't be classified as "younger", he's certainly "hipper". The man actually has a sense of humor, not something ever seen with Pike Prime (keeping in mind that a lot of scenes with Pike Prime were either him as a very tired, very experienced captain... or as a Davros-like man in a life support unit).
  • Your Mom: Thrice in the movie someone talks smack about Spock's mother. He does not take it well.
  • Your Size May Vary:
    • The Constitution-class of this continuity is bigger than it originally was (partially explained by an In-Universe redesign). Shatner's was around 280 meters long. Pine's was designed to be closer to 360 meters (which was largely a result of a sleeker design and longer nacelles), although it was upscaled in the movie proper, because Abrams wanted an oversized shuttle bay, to be over 700 meters long. For reference, that's around the same length as the Sovereign-class of the TNG movie era! Here is a quick comparison chart, outlining the size descrepencies, and here is the main article.
    • In addition, Daddy Kirk "saved 800 lives" on the Kelvin (pre-time change) when the original Enterprise (newer and larger than the Kelvin) had a crew of about 450. Assuming a great deal of casualties in that battle, that puts the Kelvin crew compliment closer to the 1,000 of the Enterprise-D.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: Believe me, when you get Spock "emotionally compromised", it's not pretty.
  • Zeerust Canon: Subverted. Word of God is that reverse-engineered technology based on the Kelvin's scans of the Narada is why everything appears more advanced than in the Prime Universe.
    • Played with the USS Kelvin. The ship seems to have marginally superior assets and technology to what originally would've been the forthcoming TOS Enterprise had Nero not shown up. However the creators had to keep certain design aspects of it in check since the Kelvin existed over 30 years before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) and thus it has some subtle '60s TOS elements, while still keeping it appealing to a 2009 audience.

The Future Begins.


Vulcan Bullies

The young Spock is bullied for being half-human.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / HalfBreedDiscrimination

Media sources: