Great direction and a show-stealing performance from Benedict Cumberbatch make this a must-see for summer.
(Ricci Kearney already provided a review of Into Darkness...but I thought I'd present my take as well. :D )
So I have this friend. I won't name her, for the sake of anonymity, but let's just say that she isn't too fond of J.J. Abrams' take on the Star Trek legacy. I'm not sure what put her off more – the contemporary replacements for William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (who will always be Kirk and Spock to some people) or the whole overuse of lens flare – but she just doesn't feel like giving the sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness, any sort of chance. Let's be honest, some fans are going to be like this, no matter what Abrams throws on the screen for the second time around.
And to me, that’s kind of a shame, because part two actually plays more of a fan service than the original did. We get to know characters better this time around, we get a better (if slightly mixed) story that really shows what everyone can do in a time of crisis, and, best of all, we get a whopper of a villain who manages to make the original's Eric Bana look like he was just hamming it up all along. In short, it's an improvement all around, and one of the summer's best flicks.
The film focuses on John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), a near emotionless man responsible for a terrorist act in London that leaves the Starfleet shaken. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is already on thin ice for a daring rescue on a planet when he saw his first officer Spock (Zachary Quinto) in danger, but insists on going after Morrison when he sees more of his sinister agenda in play. What follows is a game of cat and mouse that, surprisingly enough, involves classic aspects of the Star Trek lexicon, while staying quite current in the surroundings. It's a nice trick that Abrams pulls off with utmost aplomb.