J.J. Abrams is often dinged by Trekkers for daring to futz with the Star Trek universe (they’ll probably stone him when he revives Star Wars). I thought his 2009 Trek reboot proved the naysayers nuts. And now Abrams boldly goes into Star Trek Into Darkness, and crushes it again. It’s more fun and more intense, without giving less to the characters. The Enterprise crew is back, plus a sexy stowaway (Alice Eve). Zachary Quinto is a marvel as the Vulcan Spock, war between intellect and id raging inside his half-human brain. This brings tension into his bromance with Kirk (a fired-up Chris Pine), the rule-busting starship officer not averse to a three-way with two aliens.
Like the best of Trek on TV, the script, by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and the invaluable Damon Lindelof (Abrams’ co-creator on Lost), is sharply topical. Domestic terrorism drives the plot, putting Kirk and Spock into conflict with a villain for the ages. He’d be John Harrison, and the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) plays him in a tour de force to reckon with.
Spoilers would cause me more trouble than an army of Klingons. One hint: If you rewatch any Star Trek movie before seeing this one, make it 1982’s iconic The Wrath of Khan. Kudos to Abrams for going bigger without going stupid. His set pieces, from an erupting volcano to the hell unleashed over London and Frisco Bay, are doozies. So’s the movie. It’s crazy good.