By Eddie Burton (New Jersey)
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Not only is this film possibly one of the best films of 2013, but it’s probably the best Star Trek film since Wrath of Khan. It’s so clever and perfectly written, acted, and directed it’s actually hard to believe. It pays homage to Shatner’s Star Trek while remaining its own creation. Brings similar plot points from other Star Trek films and episodes but adds a twist to them. Star Trek Into Darkness stars Chris Pine as Captain James Kirk once again and he must fight a new villain superior to Kirk. The villain, Khan played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Kirk, Spock and the rest of the team set out to find Khan and stop him by any means. Again this film is so clever and hits everything they do right on target. This film is the Dark Knight or the Skyfall to Star Trek. It gets almost everything right.

First thing, the casting. More specifically Benedict Cumberbatch. To me Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the best actors working right now, giving an outstanding performance as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock among other projects. Once I heard he was playing the villain in this film, I got excited. Wondering what he would bring to the film. Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan in a little thing called perfect casting. His voice, his posture, the way he presents himself is all perfect. You see he’s smart and calculated but deep down feels he’s forced into this position to raise havoc and cause terror and later we find why out he is.

All the rest of the cast do great. Chris Pine, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto etc. all do great in their respective roles but Cumberbatch is the Heath Ledger to the film. He absolutely steals the show and every scene he’s in. If I had to nitpick though, Karl Urban seemed to be on lower level compared to the rest of the cast. I don’t know. Something about his performance just seemed to be overdramatic. Not that he was terrible, it’s just that he couldn’t hold himself superior to the rest of the cast.

The story is a basic revenge story, but the elements they add are very creative and clever. As I see the story unfold, it brings in surprise after surprise. I also like how they made Kirk much more relatable and humanistic. With Shatner’s ego being so big, Kirk wasn’t as complex as he could’ve been. Wrath of Khan showed more complexity, granted, but Shatner was hesitant for change. Shatner’s Kirk was the perfect Captain, breaking the rules but always for the right reasons. Caring for his team and always doing the justified thing. There wasn’t much edge to the character in my opinion. Again I love Shatner’s Kirk but I really love Pine’s Kirk, mainly because he is a punk with potential. Him being cocky and immature adds a lot more to the character. He makes the wrong choices sometimes but learns from them. Which was one of the main flaws with the show.

Characters at the end of the day need to learn something new. They need to grow and evolve. It makes them more interesting and fun to watch. Granted with Shatner’s charisma, a lot of that was overshadowed. But I love how in this film, it shows that Kirk isn’t perfect and doesn’t have all the answers. He messes up and makes mistakes. He’s human and it happens. But they didn’t get Kirk perfect. They completely emasculated him in the film. I recall one scene where it’s Khan and Kirk’s first confrontation and Kirk is continuously punching Khan repeatedly and it doesn’t affect Khan whatsoever. Kirk never seems to get the upper hand, but that’s another nitpick.

Another really cool scene about this film is the atmosphere. It’s really nice to see more of what the Star Trek world looks like. It’s really cool to look at. Also some of the camera shots are so creative like when Kirk and Spock are running on their ship and the inside of the ship flips as does our characters and the camera kind of follow their movement. I also love the cameo of Leonard Nimoy once again playing Spock. Really cool seeing him in the role. I also love the twists the movie brings at you. For example, and spoilers are coming; in Wrath of Khan, Spock dies.

In Into Darkness, they write the same scenario as Wrath of Khan but flip it around and instead of Spock being in the position the character was in, in Wrath of Khan, it’s Kirk that’s put in Spock’s place and Spock put in Kirk’s place. It’s really quite interesting to see what would happen if the roles were reversed. Some will see this as a negative however, due to the fact that the roles in the scenario where changed but the writing wasn’t changed much. It’s basically how it was in Wrath of Khan, which, yeah, I understand if people see it as more of a negative than a positive, but I just love the twist and I can appreciate it for what I saw.

However, the last 15 minutes of the film aren’t anything to get excited about. Not to say it was bad, it’s just not as creative or original as the rest of the film. Compared to the rest of the film, it’s generic. But it doesn’t ruin the film. This film is creative, original, and respectful to the Star Trek phenomenon and it’s for all audiences. Even if you don’t like Star Trek, you will still find this film entertaining.

Rating: Thumbs up with an 8/10 stars

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