Director J. J. Abrams and writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof have finally hit their stride, after the less than satisfactory first re-visioning of the classic 60's TV series in 2009.
Perhaps the Star Trek hoodoo (odd films are not so good, even numbered ones hit the spot) is destined to repeat itself; or maybe they'll be able to break this in future outings? Stay tuned.
Into Darkness gets back to Star Trek basics: character driven plot (particularly the interaction between the triumvirate of Kirk, Spock and McCoy); thoughtful solutions to tactical problems (rather than solving issues with blazing phasers); and an examination of the human condition amidst an advanced technological society (which is what good sci-fi is meant to be)!
I won't go into too many details about the plot (so as not to spoil): John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a Starfleet agent gone bad, intent on taking his superiors to task in the most violent means. Kirk (Chris Pine) assembles his intrepid crew, to hunt this terrorist down, and exact revenge. However, in true Star Trek style, Spock (Zachary Quinto) and McCoy (Karl Urban) exert their logical and pragmatic viewpoints, and counterbalance Kirk's sometimes single minded gung-ho nature. All is not as it seems, and the crew of the Enterprise must exert all of their considerable technical and tactical skills, not to mention their powers of ingenuity, to save the day.
One of the most endearing aspects of the film is the nod to the fans with smatterings of references to the original series, although the makers of this film have not been bound by them; this is J J Abrams' interpretation of Gene Rodenberry's vision, and a spectacular interpretation it is.
The casting of the main characters is inspired: Pine (Kirk); Quinto (Spock); and Urban ('Bones' McCoy) not only look like the originals, but have really gotten to the crux of their characters. Also deserving special mention is Simon Pegg as Scotty and Cumberbatch, he plays a wonderful villain.
The film ends on an upbeat note, with the Enterprise about to embark on her five year mission, to boldly go where no-one has gone before, hopefully for many more films to come. 4/5