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Film / Star Trek Into Darkness

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"You think your world is safe? It is an illusion, a comforting lie told to protect you. Enjoy these final moments of peace, for I have returned to have my vengeance."
John Harrison

The One With… Benedict Cumberbatch.

Star Trek Into Darkness is the twelfth film in the Star Trek film series, released in 2013.

The sequel to Star Trek (2009), it is the second film in the franchise to be directed by J. J. Abrams. Along with returning actors from the previous movie such as Chris Pine as Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock, the film features an All-Star Cast by bringing Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve and Peter Weller on board. Noel Clarke also makes a brief appearance.

Tensions are high upon the USS Enterprise as Captain James T. Kirk and his first officer Mr. Spock clash over their conflicting philosophies regarding professional and personal honor after a mission in which Kirk violates the Prime Directive. But when a rogue Starfleet agent, John Harrison, embarks on a campaign of terror against the organization, the crew of the Enterprise is assigned the duty of traveling to the volatile Klingon homeworld and bringing him to justice. Of course, all is not as it seems: there might just be a Greater-Scope Villain lurking behind the rogue officer, and Harrison may be more than he claims to be...

Watch the announcement teaser here and the full trailer here. Followed by the 2016 sequel Star Trek Beyond.

Sadly, the film ended up being both the last time Leonard Nimoy would play Spock Prime and his final film appearance in general before his death on February 27th 2015.

Character tropes go on to the Characters Sheet.

Star Trek Into Darkness provides examples of:

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    Tropes # to C 
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • Kirk gets demoted to First Officer of the Enterprise under Pike for violating the Prime Directive at the start of the film, only to regain his command a few scenes later after John Harrison attacks the Federation.
    • Scotty resigns from the Enterprise near the beginning of the film thanks to Kirk's sudden bout of obstruction regarding the special torpedoes. He shows up again halfway through the film, and is instrumental in sabotaging the Vengeance.
  • 2-D Space: In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Khan's lack of experience in space battles make him vulnerable to attacks on the Z-axis (above and below). The USS Vengeance is designed by Harrison with a bridge that, due to the cutout in the saucer section, is vulnerable to attack from above and below.
  • Abandon Ship: Spock orders the Enterprise abandoned when she is crippled and falling from orbit over Earth. The ship's tumbling badly hinders the evacuation, as crew members are sent falling to their deaths via Gravity Screw and a brief view of the shuttle bay shows the escape shuttles are similarly being tossed around. The ship is saved and the evacuation averted in the end.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • Kirk and Pike's conversation at the bar.
    • Several others as well, Uhura and Spock's conversation on the shuttle to Qo'noS (though this gets interrupted), and Kirk's conversation with Harrison on the ship.
    • Kirk's dying moment with Spock.
  • Action Prologue: The opening sequence set on Nibiru shows the Enterprise on an action-packed away mission that will have nothing to do with John Harrison or the main plot.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adaptational Badass: The original Khan that Ricardo Montalban portrayed is nothing to scoff at, thanks to his charisma and dangerous intelligence. But here, in addition to those traits, Khan is also shown to be much more physically powerful, going straight into One-Man Army levels.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The film gives a darker view on Khan's origins. In the original series, history depicts a "benevolent tyrant" who was repressive but not wholly murderous. Into Darkness has Spock state that history indicates that Khan and his followers were planning to destroy those deemed inferior. Khan doesn't confirm it but doesn't deny it either. The tie-in comics show that Khan genuinely saw himself as humanity's savior and that he explicitly wanted to rule, not destroy. However, the methods he employed to achieve his goal (including nuking Washington D.C. and Moscow) would certainly justify humanity recording in their history that he was an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film is a combo of the following Star Trek works: TOS's "Space Seed", The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country.
  • Aerial Canyon Chase: On Qo'noS, when the infiltration ship sent by the Enterprise is located by the Klingons and pursued by a pair of interceptors, Kirk flies it through the ruins of the Ketha Province until he finds a very narrow space between building, tips the saucer-shaped navette to the side and goes through, despite the protests of his teammates. So narrow, in fact, that the ship scrapes the walls both on top and bottom. Though it's all for naught since it's stopped by more Klingon interceptors on the other side.
  • An Aesop: Listen to your friends and advisers. In order of occurrence;
    • If Kirk had listened to Spock and not lied in his report, he would have been able to defend his actions at the inquest instead of being chewed out by Pike, which at the very least would have delayed his demotion long enough for him to still be a captain when Khan attacked.
    • If Pike hadn't pulled a Not Now, Kiddo on Kirk at the captain's meeting, Kirk would have figured out Khan's plan a few precious seconds earlier, possibly saving the lives of all present.
    • If Kirk had listened to Scotty's complaints and let him check the payload of the torpedoes, instead of overruling Scotty so he could pursue his vendetta against Harrison, the frozen super soldiers would have been discovered, undoing everyone's plans.
    • Had Kirk not listened to Spock and killed Harrison with the torpedoes, not only would he have started a war with the Klingons as Admiral Marcus planned, he and his crew would have been Starfleet's first casualties of it, as Marcus had sabotaged the Enterprise so as to Leave No Witnesses. Granted, it did end up getting him killed and San Francisco leveled by a starship, but those things might have happened anyway if a war started.
    • Harrison refuses to even hear Carol's pleas not to kill her father, simply tossing her aside and breaking her leg before she even has a chance to speak. If Kirk wasn't already convinced of his insanity, this definitely pushed him over the edge.
    • More importantly, don't let your desire for revenge compromise you, lest you pay the price for it. And good friends and advisers will point this out to you.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause:
    • The Prime Directive (which is the codifier for this trope), the set of rules stating Starfleet personnel avoid interfering with less developed alien cultures, is discussed during the opening away mission. In this case, Kirk gets demoted and temporarily loses command of the Enterprise for violating it. It's worth noting that unlike other cases were the Prime Directive is used to justify letting an alien species die, Pike is more angry that Kirk got into a situation in the first place were he either had to obey the Directive or save a crew member, and then lied, incompetently, about doing it.
    • The Temporal Prime Directive is alluded to by Spock Prime, who's vowed to never reveal information about the future as it happened in the Prime Reality, unless it's absolutely necessary.
  • Alien Space Bats: The tie-in comic mini-series ''Star Trek: Khan'' drops any pretense of trying to fit the Eugenics Wars into our history, depicting Khan and his followers nuking Washington DC and Moscow in 1992!
  • Allegory: In the finest Star Trek tradition of sociopolitical commentary, the movie takes cues from aspects of The War on Terror, with super-long-range torpedoes standing in for CIA drone strikes (there's even a version of the "capture or kill" debate between the characters: Adm. Marcus says "kill", Scotty refuses to go along with government-ordered assassination, and Kirk eventually chooses to try to take Harrison alive first) and questions of how much we should be prepared to compromise our values for the sake of security.
  • All Gravity Is the Same/All Planets Are Earthlike: In the novelization, McCoy notes the absurdness of the planetoid where they open the missile having Earthlike atmosphere and gravity, figuring it must have an extremely dense core.
  • All There in the Manual: The novelization features additional dialogue of McCoy explaining why he can only use Khan's blood to revive Kirk, and not one of the 72 other augments in stasis.
    McCoy: Too risky. I think this might work with Khan. I don’t know how much alike he and his crew are, and I don’t have time to find out. If there’s even the slightest unresolved difference between their respective physiologies, then we might be doing nothing but wasting our time and what little, if any, Jim has left. And I have to have Khan alive, because I don’t know what death might do to his body... or the viability of its respective components. It’s Khan—or nothing.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: John Harrison targets a Starfleet data storage facility in London that turns out to be a facility for Section 31, the Federation's black operations group, and tries to destroy Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco.
    Harrison: Have I got your attention now?
  • Anachronism Stew: In the midst of Space Brasília, a San Francisco tram can be seen trundling along in the background, presumably kept for nostalgia/tourist reasons as in contemporary cities.
  • Ancient Astronauts: From the point of view of the species that the Enterprise saves in the beginning.
  • And the Adventure Continues:
    • Or rather, the adventure begins, with the film ending as the Enterprise leaves Earth to begin its five-year deep space exploration mission, which was the basis for the original series.
    • Also, with the threat of a Klingon/Federation war on the horizon. The tie-in comics confirm that the Klingons are planning to declare war on the Federation after obtaining photographic evidence of Kirk being on Qo'noS.
  • Apathetic Citizens: A Mile-Long Ship has just crashed into San Fransisco, smashing Alcatraz as it came careening down over the Bay before plowing through a fair-sized chunk of the city itself. People notice, but as Spock pursues a fugitive through the city, most folks are just going about their business as if this sort of thing happens every day.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Harrison's bio-augmented blood is used to cure the comatose girl in the opening and later Kirk's extreme radiation poisoning.
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: Admiral Marcus can order the construction of a massive, nearly automated battleship on his own, in secret, with no-one the wiser.
  • Armed Females, Unarmed Males: In the film's climax, Spock and Uhura engage Khan in battle. Uhura is armed with a phaser while Spock takes Khan in melee combat due to being the only one who can physically contend with Transhuman villain.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • The moons of Earth and Qo'noS appear far too close to their respective worlds.
    • Also, the Enterprise exits warp with Earth partially obscured by the Moon and from then until it enters the Earth's gravity well is a huge ball of problems regarding distance, time and the various forces involved—either inertia carried them to Earth (in which case they spent too long near the Moon) or they had limited inertia and should not have been able to reach Earth in that short of a timeframe. Liberal helpings of Rule of Drama required. Also notable is informing the distance to Earth in several thousand kilometers... but the actual number could only have been less than fifty kilometers at the most.
    • In the opening scene, Spock uses a "cold fusion" device to freeze the volcano. However, the term "cold fusion" is used to describe a hypothetical fusion reaction that doesn't require extreme heat to occur—not one that generates extreme cold. Also, freezing a volcano is a really bad idea—it will just bottle the pressure that the eruption is trying to vent, and once enough pressure builds up, it will erupt anyway—and much more violently.
  • Artistic License – Ships: Harrison's declaration of "targeting life support behind the aft nacelle" makes little sense, as aft, when used this way, means "rearmost". Since the Enterprise's nacelles are parallel to each other, they are both the same distance from the rear of the ship. The appropriate dialogue should be "targeting life support aft of the starboard/port nacelle"—or, canonically, "below the starboard nacelle".
  • Assassination Attempt: John Harrison sets up a terrorist attack on a government facility in order to get all of the Federation's leaders in one room. Once they're all assembled, Harrison flies by the meeting in his ship and guns down anyone he can before making his escape to the other side of the galaxy.
  • As You Know:
    • The opening scene is filled with it. Spock repeatedly reminds Kirk that the Prime Directive prohibits them from revealing themselves to the natives, Sulu has to tell Uhura that the shuttle wasn't designed for the heat of a volcano, Spock has to tell everyone that the volcano will destroy the planet, Uhura has to tell Spock that he might die, Sulu has to tell Spock that the shuttle wasn't designed for this amount of heat, Spock has to tell everyone that his device will detonate when the timer reaches zero, and Sulu and Scotty have to tell Kirk that the ship won't withstand the heat. They all knew what they were doing and what the mission was.
    • When Kirk mentions that Harrison went to Qo'noS, Marcus mentions in passing that Qo'noS is the Klingon homeworld (as an Info Dump for non-trekkies).
    • Spock Prime uses the phrase when explaining to Young Spock that the elder has taken a vow of non-interference. That being said...
  • Attack Drone: The Vengeance can launch drones that in turn are capable of launching several photon torpedoes before crashing into a target.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: When Harrison attacks the Federation meeting with an aircraft, security guards try to take him on face-to-face and get shot. Kirk, being Kirk, grabs a rifle, flanks the craft, and attacks the starboard weapon mount. When that doesn't work, he ties a fire hose to the rifle and throws it into the aircraft's intake. That works much better.
  • Author Tract: Producer and co-writer Roberto Orci is a 9/11 truther, and the basic plot (false-flagging a terrorist attack for the explicit purpose of starting a war) is straight from those theories. By pure coincidence, the connection is hammered home with a tribute to 9/11 veterans in the credits, which was actually put in because a lot of the extras were veterans.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Harrison calmly boasts multiple times about his superhuman abilities.
      John Harrison: I am better.
      Kirk: At what?
      Harrison: Everything.
    • Kirk makes an offhand boast while escaping with Spock and Uhura from a pursuing Klingon interceptor.
      Spock: This ship has no offensive capabilities.
      Kirk: It's got us; give me all six fuel cells.
    • Lampshaded with Acting Captain Sulu's warning to Harrison:
      Sulu: Attention: John Harrison. This is Captain Hikaru Sulu of the USS Enterprise. A shuttle of highly trained officers is on its way to your location. If you do not surrender to them immediately, I will unleash the entire payload of advanced long-range torpedoes currently locked on to your location. You have two minutes to confirm your compliance. Refusal to do so will result in your obliteration. And if you test me, you will fail.
      Bones: [Beat] Mr. Sulu, remind me never to piss you off.
  • Badass Longcoat: Khan as well as some of the Klingons patrolling on Qo'noS sport these.
  • Bait the Dog: Khan's alignment is left ambiguous up to the moment when he breaks Carol's leg. Alright, he must be a baddie after all.
  • Bat Deduction:
    • Kirk figures out that the archive bombing was a ruse to gather Starfleet's command into the briefing room. While he's correct, it's his first guess, which comes off as a rather abrupt leap of logic. Downplayed, however, as the only reason he's accepted as correct is that he deduces it as it's happening, and the film frames his hypothesis as just that, a hypothesis.
    • Furthermore, Kirk manged to guess Harrison's ultimate intention but missed a rather important detail: Harrison chose that archive because it wasn't an ordinary archive at all. It was part of a covert intelligence agency that Harrison's feuding with.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • The suicide bombing that Harrison orchestrates early on is a ploy to get Starfleet's highest ranking officers to follow Federation protocol and hold an emergency meeting, whereupon he attacks the meeting room.
    • Likewise Marcus counts on Kirk being a rule-breaking maverick who is so enraged at the loss of his mentor Pike that he will follow Marcus's orders to fire the advanced torpedoes at Q'onoS to eliminate Harrison and start the war Marcus wants while allowing him to pin the blame on Kirk since the mission is off the books. Since Kirk was just demoted for violating the Prime Directive he has good reasons to expect Kirk to fulfill his role. Kirk listens to Spock's concerns and decides to try to capture Harrison instead.
    • Harrison's plan is a Gambit Pileup, as it depends on Marcus sending a ship armed with those specific 72 torpedoes after him which he himself has loaded with his own crew members in cryosleep and a captain that is unwilling to just shoot them at him from orbit.
  • Beam Spam: USS Vengeance, which fires down an extreme salvo that totals the Enterprise within minutes. Remarkably, averted for the Enterprise; she doesn't get to fire a shot before the weapons systems are taken out.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Carol Marcus gets fed a piece of the scenery by Khan when she gets in his way, and shortly afterwards has her leg stepped on by him, complete with sickening crunch. Cut to a shot of her being dragged to a teleporter and sickbay, and she has absolutely no external signs of injury. However, before she gets brought in to sickbay, when they are initially sent back via Khan off the Vengeance—into a holding cell on the Enterprise, look closely and she does have a noticeably large black and blue swollen area encompassing most of what appears to be her knee area. Granted, the trope is still mostly in effect as the damage is rarely seen after that and of course, her face is perfectly fine.
    • A male example: When Spock was dying of radiation poisoning in Wrath of Khan, he had burns on his hands and face. In this movie, Kirk doesn't get any of that.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Spock when Kirk dies from radiation poisoning from having to enter the energy core to manually fix the Enterprise after Khan shot it. Beating Khan to death, considering Spock was all originally for a fair trial for Khan, until Uhura tells him to stop is some serious berserk button issues.
    • Unless you wish to face the wrath of Lieutenant Uhura, do not hurt Spock. You have been warned.
    • Also, lest you wish to face the wrath of the Klingons and Lieutenant Uhura, do not interrupt Uhura while she's negotiating with the Klingons.
    • Threatening Khan's crew or implying that they're dead is a seriously bad idea. Admiral Marcus found that one out the hard way.
  • Best Served Cold: Spock assumes that Harrison's ultimate plan is to finish what he had started: Kill anyone he considers "inferior." Harrison doesn't deny this. (This is appropriate, of course; Harrison is actually Khan Noonien Singh, often mistaken for the Trope Namer.)
  • BFG: Harrison wields one in one hand against the Klingons; not only does he take out two patrol ships with it, he also uses it as a melee weapon.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Scotty, of all people, saves the Enterprise from being finished off by rebooting all the Vengeance's systems.
    • And when it looked like Khan was about to kill Spock, Uhura beams in and distracts him with a stunner long enough for Spock to knock him out.
    • Chekov saves Kirk and Scotty from falling to certain death when the Enterprise is falling, and they end up hanging onto a rail for dear life.
    • Khan coming to Kirk's aid when the latter is lost in space due to his Broken Faceplate.
  • Big Heroic Run:
    • Kirk and Scotty run through the Enterprise's corridors to reach the warp core as the ship's gravity fluctuates and debris crashes around them.
    • Parodied earlier when Scotty has to run through a long, empty hangar to get to a control terminal.
      Scotty: I'm running! [pant pant] ...Still running!
  • Big "NO!": Harrison after the torpedoes detonate, effectively crippling the Vengeance and leading him to believe that his entire crew is dead.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Many people die after the Vengeance crash-lands in San Francisco (think 9/11 taken up to eleven) and a commemoration is needed for all the people who died in Harrison/Khan's and Marcus's carnage. However, the war with the Klingons is averted, Marcus is dead, Khan and the other Augments are safely secured in cryosleep, Kirk is saved and restored to command, the Enterprise is sent on its five-year mission, Section 31 has been exposed, and the Federation begins demilitarizing Starfleet.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Harrison shoots Spock's phaser rifle out of his hands on Qo'noS. Since he's actually Khan, it's more plausible that he could make that shot.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Harrison's hands and clothes are surprisingly clean for someone who just popped a man's head like a tomato.
  • Blunt "Yes": Scotty threatens to resign over the presence of the experimental photon torpedoes on the Enterprise, saying he won't sign for anything if he doesn't know how it works. Kirk accepts.
  • Board to Death: How most of the Starfleet High Command meet their fates with Harrison/Khan pulling a Godfather III on them.
  • Book Ends:
    • The film's intro and climax feature a Federation starship rising from and crashing into the sea, respectively.
    • Also, a disastrous terror attack on a major Federation facility in a major city. Given the movie's deliberate parallels to 9/11, and the fact that 9/11 was preceded by the 1993 WTC bombing...
  • Break the Cutie: Carol Marcus finds out her father is a backstabbing warmonger, gets betrayed by Harrison/Khan, gets her leg snapped in half, and then watches as Harrison crushes her father's head with his bare hands.
  • Break the Haughty: Discussed by Admiral Pike.
    Pike: There's greatness in you, but there's not an ounce of humility. You think you can't make mistakes, but there's gonna come a moment when you realize you're wrong about that—and you're gonna get yourself, and everyone under your command, killed.
  • Brick Joke: Of a very dark variety. During Harrison's Hannibal Lecture to Kirk and Spock, he says that Spock can't even break a rule, so how can he be expected to break bone? Fast-forward to Spock's berserk rage after Kirk dies, and what does he do? Break Harrison's arm at the shoulder, complete with Sickening "Crunch!".
  • Broken Faceplate: Realistically played straight. During the space jump, Kirk takes a winging glance to the face from a small piece of debris. It produces a hairline fracture on his faceplate which begins to expand into a spiderweb of cracks as the air pressure in his suit push the faceplate outward. It holds and does not shatter completely, but it does disable his Heads-Up Display.
  • Building Is Welding: During the establishing shot of the secret facility just before it's blown up, showing various people hard at work on various tasks, there's somebody welding for no obvious reason, with lots of photogenic sparks.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Kirk should have known better than to smack Harrison around like that, especially after he surrendered.
    • Marcus's overall treatment of Harrison also falls into this category.
  • Call-Back:
    • A number of plot points from Star Trek (2009) play a major role in this film.
      • The transwarp beaming tech provided by Spock Prime is instrumental in Khan's attack. Similarly, aside from the scientists studying it, the only person who knows how to use it is Scotty, who created it in the Prime timeline.
      • Spock goes to Spock Prime for information on Khan.
      • Kirk talks with Pike about the scene in the previous film when Pike asked Kirk to join Starfleet.
      • During the space jump between the Enterprise and the Vengeance, Kirk mentions that he's done this before, only vertically, referencing his jump to the Narada's drill over Vulcan.
      • McCoy asks if Carol gets airsick after she's been beamed onto Enterprise and is getting treated for her injuries. This is of course a callback to him freaking out right before taking a shuttle in the previous film and saying he might puke on Kirk during their trip to the Academy.
    • Khan being immune to the stun setting. Star Trek: Enterprise established that the Augments were immune to stun.
    • McCoy shows at the end of the movie that he still hates space.
      McCoy: Five years in space, God help me.
    • At one point, several models of ships (showing off Humanity's progress towards space travel) are panned across. In that lineup are the Phoenix and an NX-class starship.
  • Call-Forward:
    • To the TOS movies: Sulu is clearly being prepared to become captain of his own ship, as eventually happened in the original continuity.
    • To Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the seventh season episode "Homeward" the Enterprise crew saves a primitive civilization about to die because of a planetary catastrophe. Although, Picard was willing to uphold the Prime Directive but was subverted in this effort by Worf's adoptive brother.
    • To Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • John Harrison is a rogue agent of Section 31, an organization which first debuted there.
      • After Harrison attacks Starfleet HQ, he transports to the uninhabited Ketha Province on Qo'noS, the future birthplace of General (later Chancellor) Martok.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: When Admiral Marcus is about to destroy the defenseless Enterprise, Carol slaps his face, shouting, "I'm ashamed to be your daughter!" She still screams when Khan kills him.
  • The Cameo: Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime.
  • Canon Character All Along:
    • Benedict Cumberbatch's character is introduced as "John Harrison", but halfway through is revealed to be this universe's Khan Noonien Singh.
    • The new character Carol is revealed to be the evil Admiral Marcus's daughter, making her Carol Marcus, Kirk's love-interest from the TOS films.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Spock is inches away from killing Harrison when Uhura stops him, because they need Harrison's blood to save Kirk's life.
  • Captain's Log: Turns out that Kirk falsified his log entry regarding Nibiru, describing the survey as "uneventful" and saying nothing about freezing an active volcano and revealing the Enterprise to the pre-industrial natives. Admiral Pike tears him a new asshole for this.
  • Captured on Purpose: Khan allows himself to be captured by Kirk as part of his Batman Gambit plan to revive his crew of superhumans and take over the Earth.
  • Cargo Cult: The Nibirans, a primitive race who have "barely invented the wheel," begin worshiping the starship Enterprise after seeing it rise out of the water in the opening sequence. This is precisely what the Alien Non-Interference Clause was put into place to avoid. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero. To be fair, the film made clear that there were exactly two options at any time: allowing the race to be completely destroyed by the eruption, or save them without them realizing it. Then when the mission hit a snag, the choice was between saving Spock or concealing their presence. Kirk will choose to save lives whenever he has the opportunity.
  • Cat Girl: The two Caitian girls Kirk sleeps with after the Nibiru mission. This is Abrams' take on the species. There was a Caitian female on the Enterprise crew in Star Trek: The Animated Series, and a Caitian male in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
  • Central Theme: "Family" and to a lesser extent "revenge".
  • The Chains of Commanding: Kirk spends much of the film coming to terms with his fear of failing the crew he's supposed to be leading.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: Kirk invokes this by stealing a holy scripture of an indigenous people during the opening away mission to get them away from an erupting volcano.
  • Chekhov's Gun: No, not that Chekov.
    • Harrison's blood, used to save a comatose girl in the film's opening, also gets used to revive a dead Tribble, and then save Kirk in the film's ending.
    • The Tribble itself is this. The IDW comics reveal that McCoy obtained a Tribble specimen and attempted to experiment on it, but it died several hours later. McCoy decides to keep the dead creature in the event that he ever needs to run tests on it in the future, and it's what he uses the blood on during the conversation with Harrison in the Enterprise sickbay.
    • The 72 advanced torpedoes, which get used to threaten Harrison and later disable the Vengeance.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Scotty resigns before the mission after vehemently disagreeing with Kirk on using unidentified Photon Torpedoes. Kirk later enlists his aid in investigating Harrison's claims, culminating in Scotty sneaking on board the Vengeance and disabling it to save the Enterprise.
    • Pavel Chekov, who is not the Trope Namer for Chekhov's gun but is in fact named after him, manages a surprise save of Kirk and Scotty. Yep, he was still down in Engineering.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
    • Admiral Marcus and Section 31, who betray both the Enterprise and their own ruthless superhuman agent to try and start a war with the Klingons.
    • Harrison, too. The Enterprise was incapable of threatening him, he had the most powerful ship in Starfleet, and theoretically his crew returned. He doesn't even bother to check on that last bit before deciding to blow up the Enterprise, even though he'd have been untraceable if he'd simply left.
  • Cloak and Dagger: Section 31, the Federation's clandestine black-ops group, meant to destroy any threats to the Federation at any cost—including breaking the Federation's own tenets.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • This film plays Dark Is Evil very straight with Harrison's all-black clothing and the Vengeance, but when Kirk and Harrison prepare to space jump, it goes the extra mile by making the collar of Kirk's suit a subdued gold, and the collar of Harrison's... black.
    • It seems that the standard Starfleet gear for anyone who doesn't have a role on the ship comes in black: Kirk's uniform during most of the first movie had black accents, as he wasn't actually part of the crew.
  • Commissar Cap: This seems to be part of the Starfleet dress uniform. They are particularly visible in the gathering at the end of the film.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu:
    • Several squads of Klingons vs. four main characters. Three guesses who wins and the first two don't count.
    • Harrison owns most of the Klingons by himself... and then surrenders to Kirk.
  • The Constant: The venerable St Paul's Cathedral and the London Eye Ferris wheel still stand amongst canyons of skyscrapers, and at street-level, it's clear that what would be 500-year-old Victorian buildings are retained and used—as the Starfleet London HQ, in fact.
  • Continuity Nod: Has its own page.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: Twice.
    • The Enterprise, after being forced to leave warp in hostile space, just happens to do so within shuttle range of an uninhabited planet with a breathable atmosphere so McCoy and Carol have somewhere to work on the special torpedoes.
    • When the Enterprise comes out of a battle at warp speed, it is stated to be about 250,000 miles from Earth—about the orbit of the moon. Of course, the moon happens to be at that point in its orbit also.
    • In no time at all they are caught in Earth's gravity and end up in Earth's atmosphere. Now it is possible if the Enterprise was drifting fast it could get to Earth that quickly, but at the speed (250,000 miles in only a few hours at most) it would zip (very unpleasantly) through the only-200-mile-thick atmosphere of Earth and smack into the surface in no time at all, barely having a chance to slow down in the atmosphere and think about their situation.
  • Cool Helmet: The Klingons sport these, which look like a cross between the Predator and The Engineer's masks.
  • Cool Starship:
    • The USS Vengeance, a big, jet black Federation warship prototype that is over twice the size of the Enterprise, three times as fast, and has about ten times the firepowernote . Thanks to advanced automation, it also carries a smaller crew complement than the Enterprise and can potentially be operated by one man. Finally, it's the first ship in this continuity that can engage another ship while at warp. She makes quite an impression when the main characters see her.
      Scotty: [seeing her in dry dock] Holy sh—

      Kirk: That's quite a ship you got there, Admiral Marcus.
    • The USS Enterprise still qualifies. It seems to have upped up its Macross Missile Massacre arsenal from the previous movie too, given Sulu could put all seventy-two 'special torpedoes' into position without trouble. By the end of the film, the ship seems to have undergone minor refits after a year of repair, particularly on the impulse engine and warp drive components on the nacelles.
  • Crapsack World:
    • The uninhabited province of Qo'noS in which the Enterprise crew track down Harrison appears hellish for humans, and even Klingons don't regularly stop by.
    • In contrast to most futuristic depictions of Earth these days, averted as per Roddenberry's long-held optimism with regards to Earth itself. Despite people living in huge cities, for example, there are still beautiful areas of countryside such as outside London. And futuristic San Francisco just looks cool, even though Khan breaks Alcatraz.
  • Crew of One: The Vengeance is designed to need a much smaller crew than its predecessors and can be operated by one person if necessary. This is quite fortunate for Kirk, Scotty, and Harrison when they board it to capture the ship from Marcus, then again for Harrison when he truly does have to pilot it by himself later.
  • Cry into Chest: In the trailer, Uhura cries into Scotty's chest when she follows Spock into Engineering just in time to see Kirk die. In the final cut, she stands next to him with her hand over her mouth.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Vengeance lays a severe beating on the Enterprise, enough to knock her out of orbit. It's sufficiently one-sided that the Enterprise never gets to fire a shot, as the weapons systems are the first to be taken out. That doesn't stop the torpedoes themselves from being useful, however.
    • John Harrison versus anybody (besides Spock).
      • Versus a Klingon squad. The Klingons don't stand a chance.
      • He beats the crap out of Kirk near the film's climax, and it takes him two seconds to deal with Carol and Scotty.
      • His attack on Starfleet HQ. He spends several minutes hovering outside the window unloading heavy weapons fire into the conference room and laying waste to anyone who stands up or tries to fight back. Kirk finally manages to cripple his gunship only for Harrison to safely beam himself out.
  • Curse Cut Short: Scotty's reaction to seeing the Vengeance for the first time. He is interrupted by the scene changing to Kirk and Spock entering a room.
    Scotty: "Holy sh—" [swish of doors opening on the Enterprise]
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • On the planetoid, McCoy's hand is stuck in a torpedo counting down to detonation. Carol tries to deactivate it and, failing that, rips out the control unit. Cue torpedo power down.
    • Carol Marcus valiantly stands up to her father, Admiral Marcus, stating that if he wants to destroy the Enterprise, he'll have to kill her too. His solution? Immediately transport her off the Enterprise to his ship.

    Tropes D to L 
  • Dangerous Phlebotinum Interaction:
    • Exploited. John Harrison's agent destroys the Section 31 weapons lab by dropping a ring he's wearing into a glass of what at least looks like water, causing a tremendous explosion.
    • Discussed. One reason why Scotty refuses to sign off on the new torpedoes is because he doesn't know anything about their propulsion or how it might affect the warp core on the Enterprise.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Federation is targeted by a Big Bad who's portrayed closer to a terrorist than a Galactic Conqueror.
  • Dark Is Evil:
    • The bad guys' starship, the Vengeance, has a jet black hull.
    • The villainous Harrison dresses in black clothing.
  • Dark Reprise: In the opening, there's a more of a tragic dark reprise of the classic Trek theme leading up to the introduction of Harrison.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kirk and Bones. And Spock—in spades.
  • Deal with the Devil: Harrison promises Thomas Harewood he can save the man's comatose daughter in the opening of the film. In exchange, Thomas blows up a Starfleet facility shortly after messaging a confession for the bombing (with credit to Harrison) to Admiral Marcus.
  • Death by Cameo: R2-D2 from Star Wars gets sucked into space alongside some crewmen when the Vengeance attacks the Enterprise.
  • Decapitation Strike: Admiral Marcus gathers all nearby starship captains and their XO's in response to the London bombing; Harrison then tries to kill them all with one attack.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The previous movie ended with Kirk getting promoted to Captain straight out of the Academy for saving Earth. Unfortunately, this puts Starfleet's flagship in the hands of a CO who's still immature and cocky as hell, and who gets utterly reamed by Admiral Pike and demoted all the way back to Cadet for his Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! methods. When Kirk then regains command of the Enterprise, his cockiness and bullheadedness nearly get him, his ship, and his entire crew destroyed. This leads him to admit to Spock that he was never truly ready for command — and in doing so, he takes a serious level in maturity that finally makes him worthy of being Captain Kirk.
  • Dedication: The movie is dedicated to the post-9/11 war veterans, as many of the extras were veterans.
  • Detonation Moon: One of the moons of the Klingon home world has apparently blown up.
  • Dies Wide Open: Pike and Kirk.
  • Disney Death: Kirk appears to die saving the Enterprise, only to be brought back by McCoy.note 
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Much like the Klingon Empire was deliberately written to evoke the Soviet Union in the early years of the Star Trek franchise, many of the details of John Harrison's backstory are crafted to evoke Osama bin Laden. Harrison (secretly Khan Noonien Singh) is a shady figure who's recruited by Section 31 to serve as an operative in the war against the Klingons, but betrays his backers and becomes a terrorist—much like Osama bin Laden was recruited by the CIA to serve as an operative against the Soviets, only to betray the United States and lead a terrorist campaign against them.
    • Similarly, the initial plan to eliminate Harrison—fly by the planet where he's hiding, without bothering to get permission from the local government, and fire seventy-two missiles at him—is similar to the initial plan to off bin Laden, by firing missiles and/or smart bombs at his safehouse in Pakistan (without getting permission from the Pakistanis, fearing somebody might tip him off). This was changed into a commando raid (still without their permission) to eliminate the danger of a misfired missile in a crowded city, and to make sure he was dead.
  • The Dreaded: Spock Prime swore never to talk about the future to his younger self for fear of altering his destiny, but he breaks this vow just once to explain how much of a threat Khan is.
  • The Dreaded Dreadnought: The Vengeance is Dreadnought-class, and quite possibly the biggest, baddest ship in the entire franchise regardless of timeline. Twice the size of the Enterprise, with much more firepower, and capable of running down ships at warp and blasting the hell out of them.
    • To quote the novelization:
      It dwarfed the Enterprise. Jet black, it was constructed along the general design of a Federation starship...but her lines were heavier, her entire appearance from greatly extended nacelles to bow more massive and armored. Weapons blisters were amply in evidence everywhere on the huge vessel. Every part of her had been reinforced, beefed up, and braced. A glance was sufficient to indicate that this was a ship that had been built not for exploration, but for battle.
    • Harrison sums up her abilities in the movie.
      Kirk: Tell me everything you know about that ship.
      Harrison: Dreadnought-class. Two times the size, three times the speed. Advanced weaponry. Modified for a minimal crew. Unlike most Federation vessels, it's built solely for combat.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Kirk after losing the Enterprise, followed by Scotty when Kirk is forced to accept his resignation when he won't allow the experimental torpedoes onto the ship.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Kirk saves the crew by going into the warp core in order to get it working again. What's awesome is that Scotty says the radiation will kill him before he could make the climb; not only does Kirk make the climb, but he keeps on going until the damn thing is fixed. And then has enough steam to crawl back to the door again. It may have copied Spock's death in Wrath of Khan, and it may not have lasted, but every fan can agree that Kirk finally got a death worthy of him.
  • Ejection Seat: John Harrison uses a Transwarp transporter to beam himself safely away after Kirk cripples his gunship.
  • Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age: Inverted. Harrison is of interest to Starfleet specifically because he has the secret to Savage Weapons from an Uncivilized Time- in fact, he IS one himself, being a tyrant and Super-Soldier produced by 20th century genetic engineering.
  • Enemy Mine: Harrison and Kirk temporarily team up to board and disable the Vengeance.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Harrison's actions are partially motivated by a desire to find and save his former crew.
      Harrison: Is there anything you would not do for your family?
    • And Admiral Marcus does love his daughter and pauses to have her transported to safety before opening fire again on the rest of the Enterprise, which she was pleading for him to spare.
  • Evil All Along: Admiral Marcus.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Vengeance is a dark mirror of the Enterprise, with the same general shape (even beyond the usual saucer-and-nacelles Federation design), but twice the size and painted jet black, and with a lot more firepower.
  • Evil Is Bigger: The Vengeance is twice the size of the Enterprise. In fact, if you look at a size comparison, she is bigger than any titular ship in any Star Trek series.
  • Evil Is Hammy:
    • Let's face it, Harrison/Cumberbatch is DEVOURING the scenery.
    • Even hammier is Alice Eve's reading of the character in the audio book version of the novelization, alongside her performance of Adm. Marcus that makes him sound like a deranged Katharine Hepburn.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Khan is a transhuman Manipulative Bastard who formerly ruled a quarter of the Earth. You should have let him sleep, Admiral Marcus.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • Admiral Marcus and Section 31 vs Khan Noonien Singh, with the Enterprise crew caught in the crossfire.
    • Harrison vs. the Klingons, again with the Enterprise crew caught in the middle.
  • Exact Words:
    • Carol tells Kirk that her father, Admiral Marcus, will not destroy the Enterprise while she's on board. Her father agrees—and forcibly beams her off of the Enterprise and onto his ship.
    • Spock agrees to let Harrison have the torpedoes, pointing out that "Vulcans do not lie." He never said Harrison's crew would be in the torpedoes.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Kirk is explaining the possibility of being set up into getting all the captains and first officers in the same room—moments before the room they're in is attacked.
  • Eye Awaken: Close-up on Khan opening his eyes after pretending to have been stunned by Scotty on the bridge of the Vengeance.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Spock does this in the opening after getting stranded in an active volcano and insisting that the Enterprise cannot violate the Prime Directive to save him. He's rather annoyed that they do anyway. This becomes a sore point with Uhura later.
  • Faceless Mooks: All but the commander of the Klingon patrolmen keep their helmets on for the entire scene.
  • Fan Disservice: During Harrison's attack, we get an upskirt shot of a female officer as she's screaming in pain.
  • Fast-Roping: This is how Klingon patrol ships deploy troops into battle. While still in motion.
  • Feed It a Bomb: A high-tech version of this trope is used to disable the Vengeance, transporting torpedos into the ship, with the warheads armed and counting down.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Harrison averts this. Despite waking up a few centuries into the future, he seems to have adjusted pretty well. Being genetically enhanced might have something to do with it, and we never see the actual adjusting. Harrison must have been awake long enough to advise Marcus on quite a few matters, after all. The original Ricardo Montalban version didn't seem to have much trouble adjusting quickly, either.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • When Harewood arrives at his desk, we get a close-up of him putting down a glass of water before he takes his seat. Seconds later, we find out what the glass of water is for.
    • "In the event of an attack, protocol dictates that all available senior Starfleet officers should gather for a special briefing in this very room."
    • Just as Kirk thinks he's pulled a successful Hyperspeed Escape from the Vengeance, Carol Marcus runs onto The Bridge and warns him that her father's new ship has "advanced warp capabilities." Sure enough, this is when the Vengeance catches up to the Enterprise and starts shooting.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Once you hear early in the movie that the Federation is preparing a five-year mission to explore the cosmos, you know that no matter how bad things go for the Enterprise, they will be selected for it.
    • Also, Pike, Kirk's father figure somehow surprisingly survives the first movie. Then, after Kirk is removed as Captain of the Enterprise as a punishment for his behaviour, we have this line:
      Pike: They gave her back to me. The Enterprise.
      Audience: Ooooh, you are so doomed!
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Khan explains that Marcus's ship, the Vengeance, is constructed so that it can easily be controlled by one person. Khan unsurprisingly uses this feature after the Vengeance's crew is taken out.
    • A model of the Vengeance appears on Admiral Marcus's desk, alongside several other Federation vessels and early air/spacecraft, near the start of the film.
    • Khan mocks Spock by saying the latter would never break regulation, let alone bone. At the end of their No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, Spock grabs Khan's arm and breaks it horribly at the shoulder.
    • Harrison's first appearance is saving Uhura from being killed by a Klingon, due to still needing the crew. Uhura later saves him from being killed by Spock on the grounds that they still need him.
    • Spock strongly objects to their mission objective of finding and killing John Harrison without a trial on moral grounds, but stands by without a word of objection while Kirk pummels Harrison after accepting his surrender as payback for Pike's death. At the end of the movie, guess who nearly beats Harrison/Khan to death with his bare hands as payback for Kirk's death? Uhura has to put a stop to it both times.
    • Several times early in the film, characters survive certain death by being beamed to safety. Thus, when Carol Marcus tries to act as a human shield for the Enterprise, Admiral Marcus simply beams her away to his ship.
    • Spock explains his ability to not break Starfleet regulation and still attempt to preserve a primitive species as "embracing technicality." Spock Prime reinforces this flexibility with regulation when he agrees to help the Enterprise, despite the Temporal Prime Directive. What does Spock do when presented with the dilemma of giving Khan back the torpedoes containing Khan's crew or facing the death of his captain and crew? Gives him back the torpedoes. Just the torpedoes. Hell of a technicality.
    • Even Scotty gets into the act.
      Scotty: Do you know what this is?
      Kirk: It's a warp core.
      Scotty: It's a radioactive catastrophe waiting to happen.
    • A rather clumsy one comes when Kirk abruptly breaks off from an intense conversation with Harrison to ask Bones what he's doing with a Tribble. As it happens, he's conducting an experiment that'll save Kirk's life in a few hours.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When the Vengeance fires on the Enterprise as they are both at warp, one can fleetingly see an R2-D2 being sucked out into space along with various debris, tools, and Enterprise crewmen.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: In the beginning of the movie, the plan to save Niburu goes sideways when Spock is stranded in the volcano with the cold fusion device: the device will go off as planned, but Spock would die in its detonation and saving him would mean the Prime Directive would be broken. Kirk decides breaking the Prime Directive is worth it to save Spock, but McCoy tells him beforehand that, if the roles were reversed, Spock would have left him there.
  • Friendship Moment: Subverted. After an argument and being assigned to different ships, Kirk admits to Spock that he's going to miss him, leaving Spock a wide open opportunity to express reciprocation. Spock opens his mouth and... stands there uncertainly for a long moment because he doesn't know what to say, then closes it again as Kirk just walks off in exasperation.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When the experimental torpedoes are delivered to the Enterprise, Keenser is seen in the background sitting on one and looking rather taken with it while Scotty is pitching a fit at Kirk.
      Scotty: Get down!
    • At the end of the Cold Open, the head native casually drops the sacred scroll as they start worshipping the Enterprise instead.
    • When Kirk and Scotty meet up with McCoy in sickbay after Spock detonates the torpedoes, Scotty glances down at McCoy's arm and goes wide-eyed. The doctor rearmed all the torpedoes the same way he armed the first one, getting his arm repeatedly caught by the sliding panels.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • Batman Gambit:
      • Harrison's terrorist attack has its own agenda, but its primary objective is to get all the captains and first officers together in an emergency meeting so he can strafe the place and kill as many as possible.
      • Marcus's Batman Gambit involves Kirk killing Harrison with the Human Popsicle torpedoes. It fails.
    • Manipulative Bastard: Admiral Marcus decided to steer Kirk's rage into a course that would ignite a war with the Klingon Empire, first by sending him in a Federation ship to Qo'noS, then by giving him orders to bombard the Klingon homeworld, and finally by sabotaging the Enterprise so that it would be caught by the Klingons.
    • Gambit Roulette:
      • Admiral Pike accuses Kirk of making reckless command decisions and relying on blind luck to ensure his missions go according to plan without harming his crew.
      • Harrison guessing that Kirk would decide to capture him instead of just bombarding him from afar, and also guessing that Marcus would come personally to finish him (and all witnesses) off. Which leads to a Xanatos Speed Chess once the USS Vengeance, which Khan possibly designed to be manned by one person in the event that he could get his hands on it, comes into play.
      • The only part of Marcus' plan prepared ahead of time were the torpedoes and the USS Vengeance. He did not know that Harrison went to Qo'noS, or that Pike would die during Harrison's attempt on his life, or that Kirk would be agreeable to assassinating Harrison. Meaning that his plan to use the Enterprise to kill Khan and his crew while at the same time provoking the Klingons to war was made up on the spot in less than a minute after Kirk told Marcus of his intentions and Harrison's location.
    • Out-Gambitted: How Spock defeats Khan, by allowing the latter to retrieve the armed torpedoes he thought contained his crewmates.
  • Glasses Pull: Chekov does a goggles pull to emphasize a suitably dramatic statement.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • Adm. Marcus views the pending war with the Klingons this way, and seeks out the assistance of one of Earth's most dangerous tyrants to counter them.
    • Spock Prime considers Khan dangerous enough to break his rule to talk about his timeline as little as possible.
    • The Vengeance so outclasses the Enterprise that unleashing the evil John Harrison on it is actually the best option Kirk and co. can come up with.
  • Going Down with the Ship:
    • Discussed by Harrison as he plans to destroy the Enterprise, to mock Kirk and Spock.
    • Spock intends to do this as the Enterprise is crashing, in order to buy time for everyone else to escape, but Sulu and the rest of the bridge crew won't abandon him.
  • Good Is Impotent: Invoked Trope; it's not Harrison's genius but his savagery that Section 31 was hoping to exploit.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The camera cuts away just as Harrison crushes Admiral Marcus's skull.
    • Just before that, Harrison coldly snaps Carol's leg by stepping on her. We get the bone crunch sound effect and her scream only.
    • Averted in some split seconds during Khan's slaughtering of Klingons in which we see one get blown in half and another's leg landing near a character, though they're almost out of focus and are shown very quickly.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: Harrison murders Admiral Marcus and seizes control of the Vengeance. Before that he stole transwarp technology from the Section 31 base in London.
  • Gratuitous Greek: "Qo'noS" is Hellenicised in screen captions as "Kronos".
  • Gravity Screw: The artificial gravity inside the Enterprise fails in one sequence, causing crew members to fall relative to the nearby planet's gravity well while the ship twists and turns around them.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe:
    • Averted this time with Kirk actually ending up with an implied threesome with two alien Cat Girls.
    • Sharp-eyed viewers can spot an Orion woman in the crowd in San Francisco.
  • Groin Attack:
    • When Harrison attacks the Klingons, the one holding Uhura promptly lets her go to respond to the new threat. She steals the Klingon's dagger and knifes him in the groin.
    • Also Khan kicks Kirk in the nuts during their fight on the bridge of the Vengeance.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Well, the one who comes upon Scotty on the Vengeance must be legally brain-dead. He's been searching the ship for an intruder that's disabling the weapons and can hear everything from the communicator on the floor, but rather than stunning Scotty on sight he just stands there repeatedly asking what's going on.
  • Guns Akimbo: For the shootout with the Klingons, Harrison uses a phaser rifle in one hand and a Chainsaw-Grip BFG in the other.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: As Harrison is blasting away at Klingons with a gun in one hand and a BFG in the other, he uses the latter to completely vaporize the upper torso of one who's attacking Kirk.
  • Hallway Fight: Kirk, Scotty, and Harrison are moving through the bowels of the Vengeance when they run into the security mooks. Harrison wastes no time kicking their butts; Kirk and Scotty also do fairly well.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Harrison gives multiple speeches deconstructing Kirk and Spock's motivations and character flaws. Several of these nearly mirror Khan's monologues from "Space Seed" and The Wrath of Khan in tone, though surprisingly avoid any direct references.
  • Head Crushing: John Harrison/Khan does this to Admiral Marcus with his bare hands to punish the Admiral for trying to use him as a weapon against the Klingons and then betraying him. His hands are suspiciously clean afterwards, though.
    Harrison/Khan: You... You should have let me sleep!
  • Heinousness Retcon: Khan Noonien Singh is accused by Spock of having intended eugenics-motivated genocide on all those he considered inferior during his reign. This contradicts his presentation as a benevolent dictator in his introduction in "Space Seed", with it being stated that under his rule there were no mass killings and no wars that weren't started by other parties, his status even being a plot point as it causes the crew of the Enterprise to underestimate how ruthless and power-hungry Khan really is. That the events take place in an Alternate Timeline should have no effect on this as Khan's time was centuries before the departure point.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The sound of the Vengeance at warp, bearing down on the Enterprise, almost crashing into it and annihilating it.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Kirk gets two of them. First one is after he is relieved of his duties as Captain by Christopher Pike. The second is when Christopher Pike is killed off by John Harrison.
    • Spock undergoes one when he is unable to give Kirk any advice as Kirk dies.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kirk attempts to sacrifice himself to save the Enterprise. His death is only temporary.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The major theme of the film, tying in with Revenge, is the danger of compromising one's morals in the quest for vengeance against those who have wronged you. Kirk's speech in the epilogue states that in trying times, it is even more important to stick to your values rather than become corrupted. This trope is also personified by Admiral Marcus, who becomes an even bigger threat to Starfleet in his attempts to defend it from the Klingons.
  • Historical In-Joke: The USS Vengeance is described as a Dreadnought-class starship, and a revolutionary new design. In Real Life, the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought, with her powerful steam turbine powerplant and all-big-gun weapons loadout led to a revolution in naval warfare, with all battleships henceforth described as being "Dreadnoughts" or "Pre-Dreadnoughts." Indeed, HMS Dreadnought is the Trope Namer for massive Game-Breaker warships being called Dreadnoughts.
    • Interestingly, it has a second parallel with the original Dreadnought: It wasn't actually that impressive. The HMS Dreadnought only ever sunk one ship in wartime, and it was by ramming it. Likewise, despite the upgrades that went into the USS Vengeance, it is incapable of taking out a single older-model ship (the USS Enterprise).
    • Although in the case of the original Dreadnought, this was because there was only one major battleship battle during World War I, while Dreadnought was in port in the middle of some refits. Most of both nations' battleships were held back in reserve, the idea being not to risk such valuable assets until the enemy had committed his own.
  • Hollywood Tactics: The Klingons in Qo'noS focus most of their firepower on Kirk and co. (5 people armed with phasers and using cover) instead of Harrison (one guy wielding a BFG who's standing out in the open in an elevated position). When they engage the latter, they try to run up to him before shooting or use melee weapons, with predictable results.
  • Homage:
    • Has been described as an inverted version of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The inversion works on multiple levels.
    • The shuttle chase through the Klingon planet is very reminiscent of the Millennium Falcon's run through the Death Star in Return of the Jedi.
    • That chase also has shades of the chase scene in the Firefly episode, "The Message".
  • Humanity Is Superior: Just let it sink in for a moment that the ability to create supersoldiers who can curbstomp Klingons and out-logic Vulcans is three-hundred-year-old tech.
  • Human Popsicle: Khan's crew. Lampshaded by Dr. McCoy, who cites the trope by name.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Michael Giacchino strikes again in his score for the movie with track names such as:
    • "Meld-Merizing"
    • "The Kronos Wartet"
    • "Warp Core Values"
    • "The San Fran Hustle"
    • "Kirk Enterprises"
  • Hyperspeed Escape: Attempted by the Enterprise, which jumps to warp to flee from the Vengeance, which has her badly out-gunned. This backfires when it's revealed that the Vengeance can catch up with other ships at warp, resulting in Enterprise being pounded by phaser fire until her warp field collapses.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Starfleet regulations during a crisis are to gather together their entire fleet command in the same room, which has a huge window overlooking an open area that just so happens to be easily accessible for a small fighter ship. There are apparently no defense measures in place, minimal guards stationed nearby, and nobody monitoring the local airspace for threats.
    • Kirk, if your Chief Engineer resigns on the spot rather than follow your orders, it's possible that you might be giving terrible orders.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Subverted; Bones gives his standard line, but is told by Spock that it's his doctoring skills that are needed.
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: Kirk and Harrison wear space suits that feature in-helmet lights that serve only this purpose.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
  • Internal Deconstruction:
    • Kirk's Field Promotion in the first film from cadet to Captain of the Federation flagship is aggressively torn apart with Pine's Kirk not having the same respect of the responsibilities of the chair as he should. He breaks regulations just in trying to save the inhabitants of a planet and outright lies about what he did in his official report, which is swiftly uncovered by Starfleet and earns him a dramatic demotion.
    • Spock's Vulcan logic continues to fail him: after nearly allowing Earth to be destroyed by Nero in the previous film, his personal life is now a disaster, with Spock finding himself at sea with Uhura, leading to feelings of neglect. He's not much use when Pike gets shot, either. In fact, it isn't until Spock completely flips his wig that he finally gets something done.
    • At the end of the film, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise get sent on the five-year mission. Some viewers have suggested that this was a way of rewarding the hero while getting him and his Doom Magnet of a ship as far away from Earth as possible.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Don't think Kirk can top Uhura interrupting his session with an Orion woman in her dorm room? Kirk sees your sexual shenanigans and raises you two Caitians who are annoyed Starfleet is paging him.
  • Ironic Echo: John Harrison taunts Spock about his self-control, citing how a man who can't even break a rule would never be able to break bones. Later on, Spock proceeds to beat the shit out of him during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • It's a Small World, After All: Both starships just happen to enter the atmosphere of Earth at a distance and angle that San Fransisco is near enough to be crashed into. One ship's computer warns of the difficulty in doing so, at least.
  • Just Between You and Me: Played with. Khan waits until Kirk has been all but fully beamed off the Vengeance before revealing he is going to destroy the Enterprise.
  • Just Following Orders: Kirk tries to give this excuse on behalf of his crew to prevent Marcus from killing them. Unfortunately, he didn't intend to let them live anyway.
  • Just in Time: Carol stopping the detonation of the warhead two seconds before it would explode.
  • Karma Houdini: Whoever sabotaged the Enterprise's warp core is never found, though they could have easily fallen into Offscreen Karma.
  • Kill on Sight: When Marcus orders the manhunt for Harrison.
    Marcus: This man has shown willingness to kill innocent people, so the rules of engagement are simple. If you come across this man and fear for your life or the lives of those nearby, you are authorized to use deadly force on sight.
  • Kubrick Stare: Harrison tilts his head down and to the right, and then angrily stares up at Kirk while delivering his Hannibal Lecture about the failures of Starfleet.
  • Large Ham:
    • Related to Evil Is Hammy, John Harrison/ Khan chewing the scenery and, restraining barrier be damned, his enemies, too.
    • Admiral Marcus gets to feast on some ham, as well, mainly during his Villainous Breakdown.
    • Spock also has his share of hog when he yells KHAAAAAAN!.
  • Lava Pit: Spock gets caught in the mouth of an active volcano in the opening of the movie.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Chekov's look of alarm when told to put on a Red Shirt. There's even vaguely foreboding music playing.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Admiral Marcus has no intention of letting any of the Enterprise crew live even after Kirk pleads that he alone should be punished for his command decisions.
  • Lens Flare: JJ just couldn't resist, though they aren't as distracting as in the first film.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • The Vengeance is described by Harrison as "three times the speed" as the Enterprise. According to the novelization of the film, these are identified as "Mark IV" capabilities. They include special modifications to the warp drive and nacelles, that allow a Dreadnought-class ship to enter the warp tunnel of other vessels. The ship can momentarily exceed all accepted warp factors and catch up with a starship it is following. Now factor in how more heavily armed it is than the Enterprise and how extremely durable it is in design, to the point that it could could remain intact even after the internal detonation of 72 photon torpedoes. Not a ship any captain would want to take on in a straight up fight.
    • Harrison himself. He's more than a physical match for a Vulcan, and he can go from quietly lying on the floor to up and knocking someone unconscious faster than the rest of the room can react. Not to mention superhuman endurance, stamina, and apparent immunity to the stun setting of the phaser.
  • Lingerie Scene: One fanservice-laden moment has the attractive Carol Marcus stripping down to her underwear to change out of one uniform and into another. The novelization does a better job at giving a rationale for this than the film.
  • Loophole Abuse: When justifying his actions to Pike following their semi-botched attempt to rescue a pre-warp civilization without being noticed, Spock insists that they wouldn't have technically violated the Prime Directive had everything gone according to plan.
  • Lost in a Crowd: Harrison attempts to escape pursuit by disappearing into a crowd of fleeing civilians.

    Tropes M to R 
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: The Star Trek: Khan comic prequel to this movie explains that this is how Khan went from looking like Ricardo Montalbán to looking like Benedict Cumberbatch. Somewhat justified in that Section 31 wanted to keep Khan a secret (they even attempted to wipe his memory and convince him that he was someone named John Harrison).
  • Magic Skirt: When Uhura beams down to assist Spock in apprehension on a speeding vehicle near the end, her miniskirt doesn't budge in the wind.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything:
    • When Scotty and his assistant quit, fresh-out-of-the-Academy Ensign Chekov is made Chief Engineer, over the heads of the rest of the Engineering staff, with nothing but a handwave about him having shadowed Scotty.
    • Also during the finale. The Enterprise is at Earth. It's pretty obvious they are up against a bad spaceship and bad guys. No attempt is made to contact Earth to put their probably-not-inconsiderable forces of whatever they can scrounge up (shuttlecraft/tugs to slow the fall of the Enterprise/warning about potentially falling spacecraft) to help.
    • Also, why would they pick Bones to assist Carol on the dangerous mission of opening the warhead of one of the torpedoes, other than to keep all actions within the group of known characters. Gets lampshaded afterwards:
  • Male Gaze:
    • In the scene in which Uhura is walking up to the Klingon war party in an attempt to inform them of their intentions, the camera is firmly focused on her behind as she's walking, right up until she stops.
    • Similarly, the camera (and Kirk's eye) stealing a look at Dr. Marcus as she changes uniforms.
    • J. J. Abrams made sure the film was this, as Pretty Boy Chris Pine's ass was CGI'd out of a scene as he "couldn't inflict that on people" (Pine himself was slightly upset about the news), and a Cumberbatch Shower Scene is only on the deleted features (Abrams revealed the existence of the Cumberbatch scene after Trekkies characteristically complained about the Carol underwear scene).
    • Then again, this is following a trail blazed by Gene Roddenberry...
  • The Man Behind the Man: Played with. While Marcus was responsible for bringing Khan back into power, the latter is still the main villain long after the former has left the picture.
  • Manly Tears: In order, Kirk, Harrison, and Spock; each get a single tear. From the same eye, even. The good guys are looking at the reason for their tears, while the bad guy is looking away from the good guys.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Admiral Marcus brings this up to Kirk, revealing that he talked Pike into joining Starfleet just as Pike talked Kirk. This is presumably to make Kirk more inclined to trust him and go along with his plan. Kirk also assures Sulu that he'll do just fine in the Captain's chair, adding a fourth link.
  • Mauve Shirt: Hendorff, the "cupcake" guy from the first film, makes another appearance.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Two people call Kirk "son" over the course of the movie. Early on in the movie, Pike cheers Kirk up after he was demoted. Admiral Marcus later refers to Kirk as "son" twice, to speak up during the Starfleet meeting and to convince him to stand down and give Harrison to them. Whereas Pike is genuine and affectionate, Admiral Marcus is more insincere and mocking.
    • Also spanning across the series, the first and second film end with Kirk entering the bridge of the Enterprise, telling McCoy to get ready, speaking with Spock, and as the Enterprise prepares to warp, the original series' Opening Narration is spoken in voiceover.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The USS Vengeance is described as a Dreadnought-class ship. The class is named after HMS Dreadnought, a British battleship that made all other battleships obsolete when she was built. The Vengeance is supposed to do something similar to the warships of the non-Federation states in the Star Trek Universe, as it packs much more firepower and much more speed and maneuverability than any other ship in the Federation. Considering how Harrison helped design and build her, the name Vengeance might allude to what he planned to do with her if he ever got the chance. Its name is also similar to the name of a ship from the Mirror Universe episodes of Enterprise, hinting that it stands for something opposite of what a Starfleet ship should.
      • It's also meaningful plotwise—Vengeance is the kind of name you'd pick for a ship meant to avenge an unprovoked act of Klingon aggression... only it hasn't happened yet.
      • Vengeance is also the name of a line of Royal Navy warships, which includes a (pre-dreadnought) battleship, an aircraft carrier and a ballistic missile submarine; in other words, folks, the name Vengeance has as much historical lineage as Enterprise. Made even more meaningful given John Harrison's British background.
    • "John Harrison" is also a meaningful name. The real John Harrison also performed great service to his Navy (in this case, inventing the marine chronometer, a highly-accurate portable clock with which he was the first person to solve The Longitude Problem) and was completely snubbed by them. Granted, the real Harrison did eventually get his recognition, after appealing personally to King George III. Also, he wasn't a complete madman.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Christopher Pike, Kirk's mentor, ends up dead early in the film. Foreshadowed shortly before it happens when he becomes the Enterprise's captain, and makes Kirk his first officer (and replacement captain in the event of his impending death).
  • Metaphorically True: Given a nod when Spock and Kirk are being dressed down by Admiral Pike. When Spock cites his Loophole Abuse, Pike angrily dismisses it as a technicality. Spock counters that, as a Vulcan, he is quite familiar with technicalities.
  • Mildly Military: It's almost startling to see any order actually get obeyed at any point in the film. Kind of lampshaded with the reveal that the Starfleet officers who see it as a military organisation are the bad guys. It's one of the best ironies of the film that Kirk gets a dressing down for not obeying orders because he thinks the rules don't apply to him, and is almost immediately given an order that the guy who dressed him down wouldn't have wanted him to obey, from someone who thinks the rules don't apply to him.
  • Mind Rape: Of the Brown Note variety. When Spock is fighting Khan, he briefly mind melds with him. Whether Spock just transferred his feelings of grief and rage or did something else, Khan lets go of him and stumbles around a bit before regaining his feet. It seems possible, given Spock's mindset and his previous specific mention of being burdened with them, that Spock transferred the emotions that Pike was feeling during his death as a kind of karmic retribution. It's also possible that, given Khan was attempting to physically crush his skull at the time, Spock was sharing the physical pain he was experiencing at the time.
    • Spock transferred the impression of the cryotubes with Khan's crew on the Enterprise, showing Khan's just-committed revenge mass-murder to have been pointless.
  • Mirror Character: John Harrison notes Kirk's love for his crew and presents his love for his own crew as a point of similarity between them. Not to mention how both of them are willing to go to great lengths to protect and save their crew. Also, throughout the movie, Kirk and Harrison have the desire to avenge their loved ones, Harrison against Admiral Marcus for supposedly killing his crew and Kirk against Harrison for killing his mentor Pike. But whereas Kirk, with the influence of his crew, learns that he shouldn't let revenge cloud his judgement and refuses to kill or even stun Admiral Marcus since his daughter is watching, Harrison lets his hatred for Starfleet fester and doesn't care if innocents are caught in the crossfire.
  • Missing Man Formation: During the re-christening ceremony for the Enterprise, which doubles as a memorial for all who died, including Christopher Pike.
  • Moment Killer: While Drowning His Sorrows after his demotion, Kirk sees a pretty woman just down the bar. He starts to move towards her—and Pike shows up and cockblocks him.
  • Monumental Damage:
  • Mood Whiplash: Vengeance is pounding the hell out of Enterprise when Carol Marcus lets her father know she's on board. The firing stops instantly.
  • More Dakka: Harrison doesn't skimp on bullets when he wants to kill something.
  • Multistage Teleport: The novelization says that Khan's transwarp beaming to Kronos involved him stopping briefly on space stations.
  • Mythology Gag: See the Continuity Nods page.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Vengeance is an appropriate name for a battleship.
  • The Needs of the Many: Spock, the Trope Namer, tells the Enterprise to leave him to die in order to protect the Enterprise and uphold the Prime Directive during the prologue. Kirk later sacrifices himself to save the Enterprise.
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer:
    • When Bones sees exactly what's inside the torpedoes, all he can say is, "Jim, you're gonna wanna see this."
    • Scotty tells Spock to come down and see something... that something being Kirk, before he dies from radiation poisoning. Not only similar to the iconic scene from The Wrath of Khan, but uses nearly identical dialog, too.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers do a very good job of hiding the plot while still showing off a lot of the action. You'd never know from the trailer that the film comes off as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan meets Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. You also get the impression that the Enterprise crashes into San Francisco Bay, when it's actually the Vengeance with Khan at the helm, so much so it had the unintended effect of upsetting fans who feared the film was lining up to be an expy of the Enterprise-destroying Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Kirk stuns a creature that appears before him as he runs from a planet's natives, only for Bones to tell him that the creature was their ride out.
    • Kirk's lust for revenge is what ultimately dooms the Enterprise. If he had not desired vengeance against Harrison, there would have been no eventual confrontation with the Vengeance. He wanted vengeance and he got it. The Vengeance's merciless assault is what inspires his heartfelt apology to his crew, as seen in the trailer.
    • Khan's decision to crash the Vengeance into San Francisco and kill countless innocents is probably influenced at least partly by the fact that Spock has tricked him into believing that all of his crew were killed.
    • Admiral Marcus points out briefly that landing in Klingon territory and taking out several patrols (even in self-defense) will still draw the wrath of the Klingons against the Federation. Even though this was his goal to begin with. It's implied this is the reason why the two are hostile to each other during the 5-year expedition of the Enterprise, which starts at the end of the film.
    • As a furious Scotty points out, by confiscating his transwarp equation, Starfleet inadvertently ended up allowing a rogue Starfleet officer to commit a terrorist attack and then jump across half the universe to safety.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In an interview with Vulture, Peter Weller compared his character to USAF General Curtis "Bombs Away" LeMay, who advocated a preemptive strike on Cuba and carpet-bombing North Vietnam (and served as the real-life inspiration of General Ripper), as Marcus wants to jump-start a war with the Klingons. Lampshaded by Weller.
  • No Escape but Down:
    • Kirk and Bones are involved in a chase scene which ends with them jumping off a cliff into the ocean below.
    • Harrison escapes the wreckage of the Vengeance by jumping off it.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Kirk tries to do one on Harrison, but Harrison is too strong to even get bruised.
    • Kirk also gets one from a few Klingons on Kronos—he walks away, and is able to deliver the above attempted beat-down on Harrison, but he's still bloodied and clearly in pain.
    • The final climactic confrontation between Spock and Khan, where a grief-stricken Spock breaks Khan's arm and comes within seconds of killing the man despite his being Made of Iron.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: It's actually Spock who defeats Khan, not Kirk. The movie focuses on Spock's growth as a character through Kirk's actions. Unlike most cases though, Kirk doesn't stay dead.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Bones tells Carol that he once performed a Caesarean section on a Gorn and delivered octuplets. This may have happened in the interquel plot of Star Trek: The Video Game.
    • Played straight in the case of the "Mudd incident" referenced when Kirk, Spock and company use a confiscated civilian starship to enter Klingon territory. However, this also qualifies as an All There in the Manual moment, as the "Mudd incident" is actually a major plot point in the tie-in comic series leading up to the movie and a Continuity Nod (see above).
    • Kirk's apparent past relationship with Christine Chapel that Carol alludes to, but that Kirk has trouble remembering.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Sulu asserts that no one on the Vengeance could survive it crashing into San Francisco, not even Kahn. Fortunately, Spock is smart enough not to be fooled.
  • No Seat Belts: Averted. While the crew goes without them for most of the film, complete engine failure and freefall into a gravity well is considered a good reason to finally use them. They fold out like Sulu's sword in the previous film.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: Science officer Carol is in the middle of a discussion with Captain Kirk when she asks for him to turn around, and declines to elaborate why when he inquires. He hesitantly complies, but soon after sneaks a glance behind anyway to find her in only her underwear in the middle of changing her clothes. He stares long enough for her to notice and gets mad at him, demanding him to turn around again.
  • No-Sell:
    • Kirk tries punching Harrison, only for it to have no effect. In fact, Harrison just looks confused and annoyed, and later says Kirk could try punching him until his arm falls off.
    • Khan shrugs off Spock's attempt at a Vulcan Nerve Pinch and multiple point-blank phaser stun-blasts. It's only after Khan's smacked in the head with a piece of metal and beaten some more that he finally goes down.
  • Not His Sled: The moment Khan is revealed, viewers that saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan are likely to jump to the conclusion that Spock will pull a Heroic Sacrifice again by fixing the Warp Core, complete with his last words being mentioned early on as foreshadowing. Nope, it's switched up: Kirk does the sacrifice and Spock watches him "die" through the radiation door.
  • Not What I Signed on For: Scotty refuses to bring potentially dangerous prototype missiles aboard the ship, for a military operation he is violently opposed to; when directly ordered to do so by his captain, he resigns on the spot.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The title of the film is Star Trek Into Darkness, with no colon.
  • Offscreen Airplane Pull-up: The failing USS Enterprise drops out of the sky like a stone into thick clouds despite regaining engine control mid-fall, but then re-emerges from the clouds safely in control.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Kirk has one when he realizes that the London bombing was a diversion to draw all the top Starfleet brass into one room so Harrison can take them all out at once.
    • Carol Marcus has one when Harrison reminds her that one of the things the Vengeance is designed to do is pursue and destroy enemy ships in warp.
    • Chekov, when ordered to put on a Red Shirt.
    • Kirk and Spock's reaction when the Klingons dismiss Uhura's attempts at negotiation and look about to get violent with her.
    • Admiral Marcus has one: "Well, shit. You talked to him."
    • Kirk again when Admiral Marcus tells him he is going to kill the entire Enterprise crew, and that getting them killed was always part of his plan.
    • Spock Prime's reaction when Spock asks if he's ever known someone named Khan.
    • Harrison himself gets a momentary one when a pissed-off Spock starts chasing after his ass.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: More like Klingon chanting but the Kronos Wartet uses this.
  • One World Order: Subverted. While the Earth's united, there remains cultural and national diversity, with at least some present-day countries apparently surviving into the 2250s. In fact, the Union Jack is still shown flying in London, suggesting that the UK made it as well. In a bar scene involving Kirk, what looks like an American flag appears to be in the background.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Kirk, after fixing the warp core by hand. (Well, foot.) Easy to think he is when he was brought to sickbay in a body bag.
    Bones: Oh, don't be so melodramatic. You were barely dead.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • When Scotty resigns in protest of their very highly illegal mission to Qo'noS, he makes a last desperate appeal for Kirk to reconsider and calls him "Jim" instead of Captain.
    • Spock Prime promised to let Spock walk his own path and not interfere with his destiny. Khan, however, is so terrifying that he breaks this rule and gives Spock all the necessary information he has.
    • Spock's reaction when Scotty calls him down to the reactor room. He doesn't even know what happened, only that something terrible has happened to Kirk. He rushes out of the bridge, forgetting to give the legally required order that someone take command (something even Kirk remembered to do in Wrath of Khan with the situations reversed). And as he runs through the halls, there is sheer panic on his face. His reaction to actually finding out what happened is even more unusual; he loses control and becomes violently enraged and vengeful.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Many examples, especially in scenes set aboard the Enterprise. We have orangey faces against blue backgrounds, and sets lit (or painted) in patches of blue and orange.
  • Outside-Context Problem: From Kirk's perspective, the Vengeance is this. Bad enough that The Dreaded Dreadnought is bigger and more powerful than the Enterprise, leading Kirk to decide that a Hyperspeed Escape is the best option, but he simply does not figure on the Vengeance being able to catch up with them at warp, leading to an epic Curb-Stomp Battle. If not for Scotty sabotaging her from the inside, the Enterprise would've been destroyed.
  • Overranked Soldier: In the first film, some were left questioning how Kirk "earned" the captain's chair, even though he obviously belongs there in the end. This answers it in the beginning by having Starfleet Command relieve him of command for violating the Prime Directive. It doesn't last long, but still.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Khan's murder of Admiral Marcus.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Kirk manages to realign the housing of the warp core by kicking it with both feet.
  • Percussive Prevention: Kirk prevents Scotty from following him into the ship's core by knocking him unconscious and even takes a moment to strap him safely into a chair. In a variation, he hits Scotty while he's still vocally protesting the idea on the grounds that the radiation in there is deadly, being savvy enough to know that once Scotty realized he couldn't stop him, he'd try to help him.
  • Pet the Dog: As evil and ruthless as Harrison (aka Khan) is, he's not lying about being able to save Thomas Harewood's daughter. He even keeps his promise, although the price for doing so is rather high...
  • Pistol-Whipping: Harrison/Khan stuns Kirk with a tap from the butt of a phaser when he hails the Enterprise after killing Marcus. He also uses his BFG as a blunt weapon on a Klingon, using it to knock him off a bridge.
  • Portable Hole: Dr. McCoy casually uses a portable hole to gain access to Harrison in the brig so he can take a blood sample. Since the brig uses a Forcefield Door, the device he uses is presumably designed to interact with the forcefield to create the hole and wouldn't work on other objects.
  • The Power of Blood: John Harrison's blood can cure disease and even death.
  • Precision F-Strike: Admiral Marcus makes one when Kirk reveals that he knows that John Harrison is actually Khan Noonien Singh.
    Marcus: Well, shit. You talked to him.
  • Preemptive Apology: Right before Scotty's about to open the airlock for Kirk and Harrison to board the Vengeance, he is discovered by a mook and tells the mook that "[he is] so sorry" just before he opens the airlock to allow Kirk and Harrison to enter the ship and lets the guard exit the same way.
  • Pressure Point: Subverted; Spock uses the Vulcan nerve pinch on Harrison, but all it does is cause him considerable pain.
  • Private Military Contractors: Scotty notes that a guard's uniform doesn't look like Starfleet, but more like a private security uniform. Since the Vengeance is a super-secret ship, probably built by Section 31, he might work for a mercenary firm.
  • Prophecy Twist: The allusions to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan wind up getting turned on their head once Kirk finds himself taking Spock's place in Engineering.
  • Psychic Glimpse of Death: When Harrison attacks the meeting of Starfleet brass in the aftermath of his London bombing, Captain Pike is mortally wounded. As he lays dying, Spock Mind Melds with him right up until his final thoughts cease. He later describes what he felt to Kirk and Uhura.
    Spock: As Admiral Pike was dying I joined with his consciousness and experienced what he felt at the moment of his passing, anger, confusion, loneliness... fear.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: The film mentions Christine Chapel (who always got on quite well with Kirk in the original series), with the heavy implication that Kirk harassed her off the ship, not that he remembers.
  • Putting on the Reich:
    • The new Starfleet dress uniforms seem to hint at the undercurrent of increased militarism in the alternate timeline; some of them look like something straight out of the Imperial Navy.
    • Although, strangely enough, they're now made of denim. The Gap must still exist in the future.
    • Though they do also strongly resemble the uniforms from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with the shoulder pips denoting rank in a similar fashion to those on the 24th-century uniforms.
    • Also, the brown uniforms (presumably Marines/ground forces or enlisted) evoke an image of World War 2 British and US Army uniforms.
  • Race Against the Clock:
  • Radar Is Useless: The USS Enterprise and the USS Vengeance are able to have a full-blown Space Battle in orbit of the Moon without any apparent reaction from the rest of Starfleet, despite the fact Earth, its capital world, is rather nearby.
  • Race Lift:
    • Khan was originally played by Ricardo Montalbán, who was a Mexican playing a Sikh. This version of Khan is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is English. Cumberbatch does have a line or two sorta-implying that "race" may not traditionally apply to Augments, however.
    • The Star Trek: Khan tie-in comic series show that Khan was given extensive plastic surgery, a memory wipe, and a fake life history by Admiral Marcus, in an attempt to recruit him into Section 31 as John Harrison, Hero of the Federation. This works out about as well as it did with Michael on Stargate Atlantis.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Spock's emotions are tested enough in this film, and thinking Kirk is dead drives him to total rage.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kirk receives one from Admiral Pike.
    Pike: Do you know what a pain you are? You think the rules don't apply to you. There's greatness in you, but there's not an ounce of humility. You think that you can't make mistakes, but there's going to come a moment when you realize you're wrong about that, and you're going to get yourself and everyone under your command killed.
  • Red Shirt:
    • Defied when Kirk orders Hendorff ("Cupcake" from the first film) and another security officer to take off their red shirts and put on civilian clothing for the mission to capture Harrison. Both are seen afterward as well.note 
    • Chekov gets nervous when Kirk promotes him to Chief Engineer, and orders him to "put on a red shirt."
    • Inverted by Chekov later, when he not only survives the assault on the Enterprise but saves Kirk & Scotty's lives, all while wearing a red shirt.
    • Played straight though with the crew members down in Engineering that are sucked into the warp field after the bulkhead is breached.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless:
    • By the end of the film, Bones manages to synthesize a formula from that can effectively resurrect the dead. No mention is made of future use of it, though given it came from the blood of man with now illegal bio-augmentation, it's quite likely its use will be outlawed in the future.
    • Knowledge of the "transwarp transporter" technology has now passed from Scotty's hands into those of Section 31, and of course he still works for Starfleet, so there is no reason why they would not pull him from his job as a starship engineer to work on perfecting it for more widespread use. Why go to the trouble of building super-warships and instigating a war just to have the means and excuse to destroy a potential enemy when you could just beam a bunch of bombs to the enemy's home planet and sit back and relax as they are wiped out? Also, why make long tedious journeys through space in starships when you can beam almost anywhere in an instant?
    • It's these elements that have led to rumors that the next film in the series would have to ignore these developments as it would be difficult to create drama when there's an immortality drug and long-distance nearly-instantaneous teleportation possible.
  • Removing the Earpiece: A different take in which Uhuru tears out her earpiece and throws it on the console out of sheer emotion after Spock has been beamed up safely.
  • Resign in Protest: When Scotty refuses to sign off on the experimental and potentially dangerous torpedoes and Kirk makes it an order, Scotty resigns. Keenser immediately follows suit.
  • Ret-Canon: A map shown in the film places the Klingon homeworld, Kronos/Qo'noS, in the "Omega Leonis sector block." The "sector block" descriptor is a cartography term created by the Star Trek Star Charts licensed reference book by Geoffrey Mandel, and the Omega Leonis sector block nomenclature was created for Star Trek Online's overworld. (Sector blocks have since been removed from the game in favor of rendering the entire quadrant as a single map.)
  • The Reveal:
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • Kirk struggles with the urge for vengeance, clouding his judgement when it comes to Harrison. Marcus exploits this by thinking Kirk will just carry out the assassination mission and start the war Marcus wants.
    • As emotions run more deeply in the Vulcan race, Spock comes within a hair's breadth of murdering Khan after Kirk's death, before Uhura informs him they need Khan alive, since his blood can bring Kirk Back from the Dead.
  • Revenge Myopia: Harrison kills Pike while trying to get revenge on Admiral Marcus, leading Kirk to want to get revenge on Harrison.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: John Harrison is out to take revenge on the entire Federation for Marcus taking and for all he knows killing Harrison/Khan's crew.

    Tropes S to Z 
  • Say My Name: Spock gets to scream "KHAAAAN!" this time.
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • Harrison sets off a bomb in the middle of London. Fortunately(ish) it only kills forty-something people.
    • The Enterprise navigates a massive debris field orbiting a nearby planet.
    • A starship crashes into San Francisco and destroys a large part of the city, including Alcatraz. The Trans-America building is narrowly spared.
    • Averted in one sense as there were no sightings of a Gorn. There was an off-hand mention, though.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • There's an absolutely huge amount of background detail in every shot of Earth, fleshing out the culture, the civilian lifestyle, and generally showing how the world has evolved.
    • A few of the bar scenes make hilariously great references to 1960s culture, however, giving a nod to the era in which Star Trek was born (and from which much of TOS's set design was drawn).
    • We get to see a lot more of the internal workings of the Enterprise, including Sickbay and Engineering. Plus, there is a large foyer-like open space in the middle of the saucer section, crossed by catwalks, that have no analog in the original TV or even film version.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: This film establishes that Praxis is a moon of the Klingon homeworld, which is situated in the Omega Leonis Sector Block of the Beta Quadrant. Both of these facts were first presented in Star Trek Online, but become canon here.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • The volcano that is supposedly going to wipe out all life on the planet in the Action Prologue is riddled with errors (quite apart from the hilarious depiction of cold fusion). Volcanic eruptions can cause significant environmental damage and have been responsible for famines in human history, but the effects are temporary: humanity itself is suspected to have survived an eruption by the volcano that encloses Yellowstone National Park thousands of years ago, a significantly larger blast than what is presented in the film (Kirk seriously expects leading the villagers a few miles away would protect them). And if saving that one village is enough to save the species, that means their population is already so low they're likely to go extinct from inbreeding pretty soon anyway.
    • Two ships battle in warp space, one knocking the other out. At this point they are 250,000 miles from Earth, as pointed out by dialogue. In the various television series, going to warp in a solar system (or likewise dropping out of it) was treated as dangerous and something rarely done unless necessary. One of their computers would have been alerting the crew that they were near home. It's kind of like driving at 100 miles per hour and stopping on a dime an inch from your house.
    • Going from Earth to the Klingon homeworld is treated as a less than 5 minute trip, each way. Even Star Trek's own rather vague guidelines on warp speed treat going to the closest star system to Earth, at the speeds the Enterprise is capable of, as a journey taking two days.
    • The Enterprise's fall to Earth from orbit of the Moon would, as previously mentioned, require her to fall 250,000 miles. The problem is, having her fall that far in the time allotted would require her to be traveling at relativistic speeds, which she clearly isn't based on how long it takes them to pass through the upper atmosphere.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
    • Kirk disobeys the Prime Directive during the film's opening by exposing the Enterprise to a primitive race in order to save Spock's life.
    • Spock also justifies saving the aliens from being wiped out by a volcano, saying it's allowed by "technicality."
    • Spock Prime has sworn never to reveal information from his own timeline to his younger counterpart, lest he alter events any more than they already have been. He makes an exception to explain just how dangerous and untrustworthy Khan is.
    • Inverted when Admiral Marcus orders Kirk to kill John Harrison in a stealth attack. After much soul-searching, Kirk decides, "Screw the Admiral's questionable orders, I'm doing what's right!" and informs the crew that they will be arresting Harrison to stand trial for his crimes.
  • Secret Government Warehouse: Khan and his crew get sealed in one of these.
  • Separated by the Wall: Happened between a dying Kirk and Spock. They both reach out and press their hands against the glass wall separating them, as Spock tries to comfort the former.
  • Sequel Escalation / Invincible Villain: In the previous film, the Enterprise was actually able to stand up to the Narada, if briefly, and made sure Nero and his crew went to their deaths in the Negative Space Wedgie. This time around, the Vengeance is so staggeringly superior that the Enterprise is practically wrecked in a matter of seconds and never fires a single shot in return. That said, the long-range torpedoes are still effective when combined with a transporter.
  • Sequel Hook: Maybe. Khan is not killed in the end, unlike his prime counterpart. Instead he's put back into a cryotube, opening up the possibility for him to return in a future installment.
  • Sequel Reset: While the movie does justify it storywise, Kirk's character arc from the first movie is effectively ignored and wound backwards just so they can do the whole 'immature Kirk grows and develops into the successful Captain that we all know and love' thing all over again.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The design of Earth's cities now has a very Mass Effect–like look and feel. From the vehicles to the architecture, you'd have expected to see a derelict Reaper near London. The Klingon ruins suggest a cross between Tuchanka and Ilos.
    • When Harrison takes out the Starfleet High Command early in the movie, it resembles the scene in The Godfather Part III.
    • Nibiru, the name of the planet in the opening scene, is the ancient Babylonian name for Jupiter (which has also been used in a couple of different pseudoscientific theories involving planetary catastrophes).
    • The room where the Starfleet captains confer and are eventually ambushed by Harrison looks very much like the archetypal war room seen in films like Dr. Strangelove and Fail-Safe.
    • The Klingons' helmets look like a cross between Darth Vader's and the clone/storm troopers'.
    • Their skin tone and the bling embedded in their head ridges make them look very much like Xerxes from 300.
    • When Harrison gets his hands on Marcus, the scene plays out like Tyrell's death from Blade Runner.
    • Both the space jump to the Vengence and the run through Engineering as the Enterprise pin-wheels out of control resemble sequences in the early levels of Dead Space 3.
    • Some of the interior of the Vengeance looks like a cross between an Imperial Cruiser and the colony of LV-426.
    • The design of the Vengeance itself (color aside) bears more than a passing resemblance to the Enterprise-E.
    • Possibly a coincidence, but a movie in the previous year also featured a small spaceship crashing over a red-and-white forest near a volcano.
    • The music from the Original Series episode "Amok Time" is played very briefly.
  • Sickening "Crunch!":
    • Harrison stomps Carol's leg, clearly breaking it as she screams in pain.
    • At the climax of the film, Spock crushes Khan's arm.
  • Single Tear: Four instances:
    • Kirk after the attack on the war room and the death of his mentor.
    • Harrison, whilst talking about how he failed to save his crew.
    • Spock, after the events in the warp core.
    • Pike when he dies.
  • Sinking Ship Scenario: Late in the film, the Enterprise is crippled and tumbling into Earth's atmosphere. Kirk and Scotty make their way to Engineering as Gravity Screw sends them and their fellow crew members tumbling, with many a Red Shirt seen falling to their death.
  • Space Clothes: Averted outside the Enterprise. Fashions from dress uniforms to suits are shown as having developed from their modern-day equivalents.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Kirk. By threatening Harrison and offering him a chance to surrender, rather than killing him from afar as ordered, he single-handedly and accidentally derails all of Admiral Marcus' plans. And Spock, who drove him toward that decision.
    • And Scotty fulfills this on board the Vengeance.
  • Speak of the Devil: Immediately after the epic Say My Name above, the Vengeance, now crewed solely by Khan, hurtles past the Enterprise towards the ground, reminding everyone, especially Spock, that Khan still lives.
  • Spell My Name With An S: Qo'noS is titled "Kronos" in the film. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country had used the "Kronos" spelling, and background references mention that it is the anglicized version of the Klingon word. The Visual Effects for the movie, seen here, use the Klingon spelling.
  • State Sec: Section 31 is now crossing into this territory, with its own unregistered warships, such as USS Vengeance, secret weapons development programs, its own distinct uniforms, etc.
  • Submersible Spaceship: At the beginning of the film, whilst hiding their existence from a pre-warp civilization, the crew successfully manage to hide the Enterprise in a nearby ocean. Why they had to do this is never explained, but the ship holds together with no problems and is able to fly out of the water when they need to leave.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Christopher Pike, who survived the 2009 film, is killed early on in this movie.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: Being injected with Harrison's bio-augmented blood temporarily grants others his Healing Factor, although it's not implied to last beyond the initial healing.
  • Superweapon Surprise: What the USS Vengeance was supposed to be. Admiral Marcus planned to use her to blow the crap out of the Klingon warships after they had destroyed the crippled Enterprise. Judging from the reactions of the Enterprise crew when they see her and the events that follow her reveal, she definitely would have succeeded in this regard.
  • Super Window Jump: John Harrison pulls one off while running away from Spock. Justified due to his superhuman genetics allowing him to not take any damage from it.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Used in the film's opening. Turns out that when you're a cocky, inexperienced captain of a starship who keeps breaking the rules like Kirk, you eventually get removed from command.
    • The Enterprise ends up facing a warship, a fast battleship to be exact, that severely outclasses her. She doesn't defeat the Vengeance in combat, gets shot up pretty bad and is only saved because both Scotty and Spock pull a fast one on Marcus and Harrison.
    • During the space jump sequence, Kirk dodges large chunks of debris, but his face mask takes multiple hits from tiny chunks. Which crack the mask and nearly kill him. It also disables his Heads-Up Display.
    • The Vengeance is heavily automated; in an emergency, a single person can pilot it. But it has very little crew to repel - or even detect - boarders.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Admiral Marcus has similar motives to Admiral Cartwright from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, who envisioned a more militarized Federation in the face of Klingon aggression and was willing to murder his own to see that dream become a reality. And he's played by the same guy that once played a human supremacist willing to use deadly force in Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security:
    • Starfleet Headquarters has no defense against hostile aircraft, allowing Harrison to attack the meeting of Starfleet's ranking officers uncontested.
    • For a supposedly super-secret ship, the Vengeance is inexcusably easy to access. Scotty is able to fly his shuttle right through the main hanger doors with a convoy of supply ships, then board it, and they never even notice until he's sabotaged it from the inside. That's the problem with automating everything.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • When Carol tells Admiral Marcus he can't destroy the Enterprise with her onboard, he simply beams her onto his ship, then prepares to re-open fire.
    • Khan threatens to attack the disabled Enterprise unless he gets his crew back. When Spock points out destroying the ship will also kill Khan's crew, Khan replies that he'll just destroy the life support and cut the oxygen. Since his crew are in cryosleep, they'll remain unharmed as the Enterprise crew suffocates.
    • Spock counters by sending the "torpedoes" to Khan, but arms the warheads in them after McCoy's gotten the cryopods in them out.
  • Take Me Instead: Kirk pleads with Admiral Marcus to punish him alone and spare the Enterprise crew after disobeying orders and attempting to flee to Earth. Notably, Kirk offered Khan the same deal in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Khan at least acted like he would accept (and might have); Marcus just laughs it off. Who's the real monster?
  • Take That!: After the cringeworthy scene of Uhura struggling with a Klingon dictionary in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Countrynote , her counterpart shows her command of the language is far better, albeit somewhat rusty by her own admission.
  • Taking You with Me: With his crew apparently dead and the Vengeance in no shape to escape or fight, Harrison decides to just ram the thing into Starfleet headquarters. Fortunately for Starfleet, the engine cuts out early and Harrison merely wipes out a small selection of buildings along the coast. Harrison also survives thanks to his enhancements, but Spock is smart enough to know he would.
  • Technology Porn: After all the criticism Abrams got for filming the Enterprise's engine room in the Budweiser brewery in the previous movie, the warp core in this film was shot in the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Labs (the same institution where the laser lab in TRON was filmed 31 years before).
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In the opening, when Spock starts to chew Kirk out for saving him at the expense of violating the Prime Directive and showing themselves to the natives, Kirk brushes him off with a flippant, "What's the worst that could happen?" Cut to the natives, who were earlier praying to the erupting volcano, bowing before an abstracted sketch of the Enterprise—their new God. Made even more amusing by the sacred scroll depicting the volcano that Kirk stole simply getting dropped to the ground and ignored by the native who was holding it.
    • Kirk boasts to Pike that not a single crew member has died since he took command of the Enterprise. Not only will this figure drastically change in the future (so many poor red shirts...), it will drastically change before the movie is over.
    • Harrison taunts Spock by noting, "You wouldn't break a rule, how could you break bone?" This comes back to bite Harrison in the climactic fight, when a grief-stricken Spock breaks Harrison's arm.
    • Lampshaded at one point.
      Scotty: Not to tempt fate or anything, but where is everybody? [cue several Mooks]
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Harrison delivers a variant of this Stock Phrase to Kirk in one of the trailers.
    Harrison: Your commanders have committed a crime I cannot forgive.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Harrison takes out the last remaining Klingon by throwing a knife into his neck.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock:
    • This happens to several crewmembers who are sucked out of a hull breach... at warp. Not a nice way to go.
    • Scotty does this to a Giant Mook holding him at phaser point, blowing the hatch just as Harrison and Kirk come flying into the airlock wearing spacesuit jetpacks, narrowly missing him.
  • Time Skip:
    • The story picks up just over a year after the events of the previous film.
    • Kirk's speech at the end takes place almost a year after the Vengeance crash lands in San Francisco.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: And covers too—the DVD blurb makes no secret of who Harrison really is.
  • Traintop Battle: Khan and Spock's climactic battle on a hovering garbage cruiser.
  • Transhuman: Notable because of the franchise's attitude towards this subject in the past that a heavily augmented human (Science Officer 0718) appears as a member of the Enterprise crew. Possibly as a minor counterexample to Khan, since he doesn't have any major significance beyond calling out a couple of lines.
  • Transparent Tech: Unlike the typical Force-Field Door you see in Star Trek, the cells in the brig are secured with what looks like giant glass panes, but with a special port on them that can be adjusted from the outside to allow objects to be passed through.
  • Trojan Horse: Spock does beam over the 72 torpedos, but Khan's crew are no longer in them and the warheads are active.
  • True Companions: Played straight, exploited, and lampshaded. Since the events of the last movie, the Enterprise crew has become a family. Harrison recognizes this and exploits it, using his genuine feelings regarding his own crew to gain a small amount of empathy from Kirk. Finally, it is lampshaded when Carol Marcus is welcomed aboard again, establishing that she's been adopted into the Enterprise crew and has a new family after the death of her father.
    Carol: It's good to have family.
  • Trying Not to Cry:
    • Spock reveals that he felt nothing on a mission when he thought he was going to die because he didn't want to think about how much it would hurt Uhura.
    • When Kirk is dying of radiation, Spock cannot hold back his grief any longer.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Kirk gets demoted for violating the Prime Directive in the film's opening, and then trying to hide it in his report. Also Scotty gets relieved of duty for refusing to sign for the missiles.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Kirk participates in one with Caitian twins.
  • Underestimating Badassery: When being questioned by Kirk, Harrison makes a snide comment about Spock, being a Vulcan, not knowing savagery as he does. Spock shows him how wrong he his during his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in the climax. There's a reason Vulcans suppress their emotions.... Spock is also half human (giving him even less emotional control), although Harrison may not know that.
  • Undying Loyalty: By the end of the movie, it's become obvious that the crew of the Enterprise have developed this with one another after they refused Spock's orders to abandon ship. Even early into the movie, both Scott and Spock continue to refer to Kirk as "Captain" despite him (temporarily) losing his rank.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Kirk seemingly feels Spock is being this way when the Vulcan constantly complains that they broke the Prime Directive when saving him from the volcano and furthermore when Pike reveals the differences between Kirk and Spock's reports.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The audience is spared a recap from Spock Prime of how the Enterprise defeated Khan in the Prime timeline. Immediately after learning these details, Spock comes up with his own plan in the event of Khan's inevitable betrayal, and all the viewers learn about it is that it requires engineers, medical staff, and McCoy's knowledge of how to arm the super-torpedoes. It works perfectly.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • Earlier in the film, Harrison is unfathomably pissed off at Admiral Marcus for all of the torture he put him through, especially when he Kicks the Son of a Bitch.
      Harrison: You. You should have let me sleep.
    • Spock to Harrison at the end.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Kirk to Admiral Marcus. He later suspects that he is this for Harrison as well.
    Scotty: I thought he was helping us.
    Kirk: I'm pretty sure we're helping him.
  • Vertigo Effect: Seen from outside the Enterprise just before the ship goes to warp, giving the impression that the ship is stretching as it accelerates.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Admiral Marcus goes on a tirade about how he's the only one willing to protect the Federation when Kirk tries to have him arrested. Then Khan kills him.
    • Harrison freaks out and tries to crash his ship into Starfleet Academy when Spock detonates the torpedoes inside the Vengeance, ruining Khan's plans and leading him to believe that his people are dead.
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • Harrison saves Kirk, Spock, and Uhura's asses from the Klingons, and proceeds to take the brunt of the battle for them, since he knows they've got his torpedoes and he needs them alive.
    • The Enterprise also would have been destroyed if he hadn't offered Kirk important information about Section 31, and helped them out in general before he decided to destroy the Enterprise.
  • Wave-Motion Tuning Fork: The USS Vengeance mounts a pair of these which deploy from the forward hull and target the USS Enterprise. They fail to fire due to Scotty. According to official sources however, they are experimental advanced torpedo launchers, rather than the expected form of this trope.
  • We Have Become Complacent: Harrison claims the Federation has become an easy target, despite the peace and safety they pretend to have.
    Harrison: You think your world is safe? It is an illusion. A comforting lie told to protect you.
  • We Will All Fly in the Future: Lots of hovering vehicles on future Earth. Particularly noticeable in the early sequence set at a hospital, where the establishing shot of the outside features a hovering car and the establishing shot of the inside features a hovering gurney. The film's climactic action sequences is a Traintop Battle on top of a flying cargo transport.
  • Wham Line:
    Khan: ..."John Harrison" was a fiction invented the moment I was awoken by your Admiral Marcus to help him advance his cause. A smokescreen to conceal my true identity. My name is Khan.
  • Wham Shot:
    • At Harrison's urging, Kirk has Carol Marcus and Bones open up one of the new torpedoes...and inside is a cryo-frozen man.
    • Kirk and Spock are interrogating Harrison (aka Khan) when Sulu reports a ship approaching at warp—and it's not Klingon. Within seconds, the downwarp reveals... a bigass Federation starship, looking like a bigger, meaner cousin of the Enterprise.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • When Kirk, Spock and Uhura head down to Qo'noS to arrest Harrison, they are accompanied by two Red Shirt security officers. The two are last seen debarking the shuttle during the ensuing action scene, firing at the Klingons. According to the movie, both of them survive (they show up in later shots), but this is never remarked upon by any characters. According to the novelization, one of them dies (Herndoff, the one Kirk addresses directly about changing out of the uniform), but he reappears in Star Trek Beyond, so his death cannot be canon.
    • It's also never revealed what happened to Thomas Harewood's wife and daughter after he blew up Area 31.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kirk gets called out by Pike for falsifying his report regarding his mission to Nibiru in the opening.
  • What Would X Do?: Subverted; When Spock is trapped in the volcano and Enterprise can't help without revealing itself to the locals in violation of the Prime Directive, Captain Kirk asks McCoy what Spock would do in his position. McCoy replies bluntly, "He'd let you die." Kirk, of course, chooses to rescue Spock.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
    • To Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Kirk needs to learn he can't always Take a Third Option (at least not without paying some kind of cost), the plot is driven by characters' putting Revenge Before Reason until they have nothing left but a desperate attempt at Taking You with Me, ultimately culminating in a Heroic Sacrifice (with dialogue which of course directly mirrors the same scene from Khan).
    • Also to Diane Carey's Dreadnought! novel. An Insane Admiral wants to use his pet Dreadnought project to gain power in the Federation, then proceed to impose order on all the other "threats" in the galaxy. Said Dreadnought is more than a match for anything else that can be thrown at it, is stolen from the admiral in question, and it's up to the Enterprise crew to expose this nefarious plot. However, in Dreadnought!, Rittenhouse never had command of Star Empire, while here, Admiral Marcus is in command of Vengeance briefly before Khan pries the ship from his cold, dead hands.
  • Window Love: Kirk and Spock's symbolic touch of their hands on a glass door is an homage to The Wrath of Khan.
  • Wire Dilemma: Subverted when Bones and Carol try to disarm one of the advanced torpedo warheads to see what's inside. McCoy goes to snip the wire, but the hatch simply slams shut on his arm and the warhead arms and begins counting down to detonation until Carol simply rips a piece of electronics out.
  • With All Due Respect:
    • Scotty while trying to get through to his captain that torpedoes with an unknown method of propulsion should not be put on any spaceship with a warp engine.
    • Uhura attempting to negotiate with the Klingons.
      Uhura: jIvuylaH. jIve'. jIyI'. ghach jIvvo' naH. DaH pIghvamDaq So'eghtaH. 'ej Dojmey wID - vInDa'ma' peq. (I am here to help you. With respect. There is a criminal hiding in these ruins. He has killed many of our people.)
      Klingon: toH, Hey Humanpu'. qatlh DISaH? (Why should I care about a human killing humans?)
      Uhura: potlhmo' batlh, vIqawba'. 'ej chIvo' neH chIw vum'e'. Qob lIb bam SoH chuDlI' je. (Because you care about honor. And this man has none. You and your people are in danger.)
    • The Enterprise is falling into Earth's atmosphere and Spock orders the bridge crew to abandon ship while he tries to save the Enterprise. Sulu answers, "All due respect, Commander, but we're not going anywhere." The True Companions Status of the J. J. Abrams Enterprise crew is confirmed.
  • A Wizard Did It:
    • The novelization explains that they didn't take blood from another frozen augment because McCoy didn't know if they could all regenerate like Khan and didn't want to risk another superpowered psychopath running around the ship.
    • In the novel McCoy notes that the planetoid that he and Carol Marcus open the missile on must have an extremely dense core if it has Earthlike air and gravity.
    • A tie-in comic says that Khan had Magic Plastic Surgery to explain why he looks completely different to previous incarnations.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • A bunch of Klingons (of course) ring it in as jobbers to show how powerful John Harrison is.
    • And the Enterprise itself, boasted as one of the most advanced ships in the Federation fleet, gets curbstomped by the Vengeance without even being able to fire a single shot back.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Averted. Harrison clearly gains some respect for Kirk after witnessing Kirk's grit and guts in the space jump the two share. He still considers regular humans to be inferior, however, and delivers a beatdown the moment he has the opportunity to, and he unceremoniously dumps Kirk back into that same cell he was being held in before he tries to destroy the Enterprise.
    • In the novelization, this is downplayed with Harrison's regard for Spock. He seems to have full respect for Spock's intellectual prowess, but questions how the Vulcan would cope with a situation that doesn't call for intellect or formal training.
      Harrison: Mr. Spock, I'm not talking about training. I'm not talking about the application of learned skills. I'm certain if it came out of a book, that you're an expert on every chapter. I'm sure that if there is an accepted procedure for countering a blow, for firing a weapon, for maneuvering against an enemy in space, that you can both quote and direct every one of them to perfection. I'm talking about what humans generally refer to as "gut reaction". Fighting without thinking. Battle in the absence of any procedure or rules. If you can't break a rule, how can you be expected to break bone?
  • Would Hit a Girl: Harrison creates a very loud crunch as he breaks Carol's leg.
    • The Klingon commander pulls a knife on Uhura with clear intent to use it.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: After resigning in protest, Scotty uses First-Name Basis when imploring his captain one last time not to fire off the secret experimental torpedoes being loaded onto the Enterprise.
  • You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: Harrison reminds Carol of this in regards to the ability of the Vengeance to catch and fight ships at warp speed.
    Harrison: If you think you're safe at warp, you're wrong.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Interestingly both Kirk and Harrison play this trope. Suspecting Harrison is just using them, Kirk orders Scotty to stun him the moment they take the Vengeance bridge. He complies, but Harrison still turns the tables on them and tries to destroy the Enterprise in turn.
  • You're Not My Father: Carol disowns her own father to his face.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Harrison likes to crush his enemies' skulls. With his bare hands.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Played with; Harrison lets his hostages return to their ship in exchange for the torpedoes his crew are hidden in, then states he's going to destroy Enterprise anyway.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: Harrison, of course, but Sulu also gives such a dire threat in a mission that Bones is unnerved by it.
    Bones: Mr. Sulu, remind me never to piss you off.

I believe in you, Jim...


Video Example(s):


Khan kills Admiral Marcus

Khan infiltrates the Vengeance, and takes control by killing the ship's captain, Admiral Marcus.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoryDiscretionShot

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