I found my review of this from 3 years ago!
The Overwhelming Positives :
• The pace is relentless, not a moment spared, the characters interesting and charming, and the storyline exciting.
• Cumberbach is a great icy, intelligent villain with presence and a booming voice.
• There’s several nods to the original (“don’t wear these red shirts”, older Spock, music & mission statement etc) but has plenty of it’s own merit.
• It’s well-crafted, with little and big ideas, and verbal exchanges that are brought back at the opportune time, without hitting you over the head with it.
• Some light-hearted swashbuckling action, with incredible effects, scale and polish that’s never boring. I loved the Dead Space-style humans navigating through space by themselves.
• There’s serious reduction of lens flare which is a huge plus.
• The opening sequence on the red planet of Nibiru (where all the foliage is a brilliant red) is gorgeous.
Other thoughts & nit-picking :
• There’s quite a bit of “follow the rules, you must follow the rules! ok break the rules if you really must.” throughout the whole film.
• They lay it on a little thick with the premise of death right from the get-go. It’s difficult to get invested with what’s supposed to be heavy emotion/drama so early on. Star Trek 2009 had the premise of killing worlds, ST:ID revolves around death (Spock, Pike, Kirk). Combined with big changes (Kirk relieved of command/transferring Spock, Scotty resigning), front-loading the story with these heavy plotlines is a little jarring, but there is a lot to get through in the film.
• Some of the music and spaceship changes really feel and sound like Star Wars, something I didn’t feel in the first one. Especially when they go to Kronos and are chased. (Spoiler: They do not find Kronus).
• Even for a sci-fi film, some of the sequences stretch plausibility and some superhuman bits/jumps remove the threat of death. Also when Scotty’s supposedly keeping an eye on Kahn but he takes control and kills Pike anyway was a bit of a groaner. Never a fan of something having to be profoundly stupid to further the plot!
• Khan’s platelets curing death is a bit of a stretch, but platelets do contain several growth factors involved in helping tissue repair/wound healing, so it’s not too bad.
• The lack of visual effect of Kirk’s radiation is noticeable. Presumably it was left out as people would focus more on that than his words.
• There’s some similar plot points to Star Trek 2 but it plays out much differently so it’s a great mix of both new and nostalgic.
• Capturing and chatting to Kahn is very like what happens to Joker in Dark Knight, Loki in Avengers, Magneto in X-Men, and so on. It’s a way of getting the top heel/face to chat without them fighting, like when two people pledge to not fight each other until the PPV.
• There are a sparse few swears, which is odd as they humorously mask them with ship-noises and timely editing.
• It was very cool seeing Robocop (Peter Weller) in the film.
• When the film came out, most people absolutely hated it. I think because I’d be a casual fan (I watched TNG but really any of the others) and my knowledge of the movies comes from Mr. Plinkett, I loved all the obvious past references (like Spock/Kirk’s soliloquies) instead of hating them ripping off old films. It’s a difficult line to straddle but I feel the movie has enough great things about itself to use but not abuse it’s lineage.
OVERALL : I’d definitely recommend this block-buster sci-fi flick. It’s more action-driven than the character-driven first outing for Abrams, but it’s a very fun, exciting and well thought-out film.
Clicky for my Suicide Squad Review!