When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.
With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
It's well made, in terms of costumes, sets, and sounds; the cast is fun and never boring to watch- especially Cumberbatch, who totally hams it up as the "perfect" bad-guy; and the plot is fun, understandable, and sometimes emotional. The only flaw with Star Trek Into Darkness, however, is that it feels too much like a big "two-parter" TV Episode.
There's no real Star Treking involved. No travel, no sense of how large and expansive the universe is- unlike with Star Trek (2009) where you would go planet-to-planet, encountering all sorts of fantastical creatures, exotic locales, etc. With Into Darkness, you spend a few minutes on some cool looking planet at the beginning, then the rest of the time is spent between San Francisco, London, and Kronos (for a brief few minutes).
Another thing was Into Darkness's painfully obvious 9/11-George Bush allegory that wasn't even cleverly hidden or done in an interesting way. I felt like I was watching Total Recall (2012) at times rather than Star Trek just because it was an Earth-centered conspiracy story that really had no reason to be a sequel to 2009's fast and fun summer hit.
Also, I've never seen Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan but I can assure you I know the infamous "KHAAAAAAAAAN!" line as it has slipped into pop-culture parody. Well, what better than to bring that line back and use it to kill an emotional moment just to satisfy the sweaty nerds in the crowd?
Lastly, I'm kind of glad J.J. Abrams won't be back for Trek 3; because he handles action-scenes as well as Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight, i.e, not very well and you can't honestly tell what the hell is going on.
I didn't hate Into Darkness though- I really had a fun time watching it. It's a movie that puts a smile on your face if you just accept it at face value. Fun space action with some sexy young stars, tension, and some clever exchanges of dialogue and some of the best costumes and performances you're likely to find this summer movie season.
Setting my complaints aside, Into Darkness is a film I'd see again for the sheer fun experience of it. It might not be as good as the first; but It's a movie that definitely shows the exciting prospect the future cold hold for this franchise, even if Abrams leaves for Star Wars.
Into Darkness doesn't break the bank for creativity, and you won't leave the theater going "Wow! I've never seen THAT before!" but it rides a fine safe line for a comfortable and engaging sci-fi action-film that will please the masses; but struggle to be accepted by the hardcore nerds and cinema-goes looking for a truly substantial experience.