I thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness from beginning to end and left the theater wanting more. The cast did a much better job of fulfilling their roles this time around. The relationship between Kirk and Spock is the vehicle that drives the story on its plotted course. They trust each other with their lives, but they still have some kinks to work out, which is fun to watch unfold but frustrating at the same time, especially from Spock’s perspective.
This was the first time I’ve seen Benedict Cumberbatch’s work, and DAMN, he was amazing. He should be the villain of every movie from here on out. I’m a casual Trek fan at best, so I didn’t find the need to search for spoilers, which made the movie even more enjoyable for me. Cumberbatch plays John Harrison, a terrorist who bombs Federation strongholds.
Later on, Harrison’s true identity is revealed, and some elements in place heavily suggested he, in fact, could be one of the most merciless foes in all of science fiction. I was on the edge of my seat, hoping that particular name could come out of his mouth. Cumberbatch didn’t disappoint me as he looked Kirk right in the eye and said, “My name is…KHAN.”
The film’s pivotal moment deals with a role reversal of the infamous “Wrath of Khan” moment. There are two schools of thought, and both sides of the argument are well-founded. In the original film, Kirk and Spock’s long, storied relationship was well documented. In J.J. Abrams’ film, they have only known each other for four years. Therefore, seeing Kirk and Spock on the opposite side of the glass didn’t carry the emotional gravitas required because they didn’t earn it.
This version of Star Trek is meant for a new generation of fans while keeping its predecessor’s ethos alive. This doesn’t mean you have to keep true to the ethos. If you take the “Wrath of Khan” movie out of the equation, then the moment worked on its own merit. Spock finally saw his friend learn how to put others’ needs ahead of his own while making the ultimate sacrifice. The bittersweet lesson of friendship, along with a warning from the past, caused the all too familiar scream in a different form.
Often times in sci-fi, the past and present collide to dictate the future. The current incarnation shares a distinction from the past that resonates profoundly because of how well Kirk and Spock’s moment came off in the first film. If this never happened back in 1982, it would never have materialized today. One showed the end of a friendship while the other saw the genesis of what will become a legendary friendship that will set the tone, under a new light, for years to come.