The “Star Trek” reboot by J.J. Abrams is unique and innovative: it’s respectful of established continuity and lore while boldly and consciously creating its own. With the presence of the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in the new universe, the past is reverentially referenced, but this altogether different timeline offers new possibilities, and is able to explore previously untouched territory.
“Star Trek Into Darkness” is the sequel to Abrams’ 2009 mega-hit “Star Trek.” Fast-paced and vibrant, “Into Darkness” further expands on the team dynamic of the space-faring
Enterprise crew, led by Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine). It immediately kicks off with an energetic chase scene and a tense mission, heralding an escalation of conflicts and even more bombastic encounters.
New characters are introduced; “Sherlock’s” Benedict Cumberbatch ditches his quirky detective for a more stoic and deadly figure, while Alice Eve appears as weapons expert Carol Marcus. Older characters are splendidly focused on; Kirk’s brash but noble nature is reiterated, while First Officer Spock (Zachary Quinto) is once again clearly characterized as dichotomized between his human and Vulcan halves. There’s also a tiff between Spock and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) that runs in the background, but it ultimately comes off as unimportant.
“Into Darkness” is simple but spectacular—there are many familiar, even cliched story concepts that Abrams and company breathe new life into, and it’s a grand, summer-sized sci-fi caper that’s still in touch with its long-established star-faring roots.