So Star Trek: Into Darkness just came to Netflix. It’s not often a movie goads me into ranting impotently on the interwebs. But, oh, this movie.
Look, I’m not a defender-of-the-canon. I’m honestly not that upset that they cut Bombadil from The Fellowship of the Ring. The changes to Veidt’s big plan in Watchmen, well… honestly the movie version made more sense.
So… an underwater Enterprise? Eh, whatever. It’s dumb but it looks cool and who am I to tell you what the rules to your made-up universe are.
What pisses me off is when a movie insults my intelligence.
Case in point: McCoy, lagging behind the movie-going audience by about 10 minutes or so, finally figures out he can use bio-engineered super-blood to bring Kirk back from the dead. He has 72 cryo-tubes full of super-people, each presumably full of super-blood. He sends for one of the tubes. To harvest blood? No. So he can put Kirk in it while he waits to get Khan’s blood.
Here’s the thing about that scene… they could have let that plot hole slide by like so many others by just not bringing up the other 72 members of Khan’s crew. Instead, they come up with the incredibly dubious and wholly unnecessary-to-the-plot notion that the 300-year-old pod is somehow better than anything the Enterprise has for keeping Kirk in stasis. It’s almost as if they deliberately put that bit in to make sure we noticed the much bigger yawning plot cavity about the readily available super-blood. Plot holes are one thing, but it’s rare to have one rubbed in my face like this.
And oh, Khan. Brilliant. Calculating. Protective of his crew, his family. Has grand, long-term plans for world domination. Willing to plan far in advance, and wait patiently for his plots to hatch.
Then he finds himself temporarily inconvenienced, in command of a badly damaged but still enormously powerful and advanced secret Federation dreadnaught. He may well have deduced that his crew are still alive.
Does he retreat, and bide his time? Does he trade secret Federation tech to the Klingons in return for favors? Nope, he decides to drive the ship into San Francisco. Because why wouldn’t he.
Then, having survived but failed (presumably) to demolish Starfleet headquarters in his suicide mission, does he then do the logical thing and trigger a warp core explosion to vaporize San Francisco? Nope, he runs away.
And then there are the incredibly ham-handed references to the older movies. Abrams likes to scatter little homages to the original series and movies here and there. Which worked well in the first movie. But Into Darkness it’s like he couldn’t stop himself, and the sad part is that they are incredibly bad homages.
The whole Kirk/Spock reversal in the warp core is just cringingly awful, like a good joke that someone stretches out waaaay too long. But if Abrams was dead set on going through with it, the least he could have done is have Spock, when asked for comfort by Kirk, say “you are – and always shall be – my friend“. But no, Spock just gets tongue-tied, as if the writers forgot to turn in their homework on time.
A fitting place to end this rant is the end of the movie. Kirk asks Spock where they should go next. Spock defers to Kirk. OK Kirk, let’s end this stinker on a high note. You’re kicking off your five-year mission, you can go anyplace you want… a little Captain Kirk charm, a little nod to tradition, how about: “second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning“.
Or, you know, you could just go with “take us out, Sulu”. And… roll credits. A fitting end to a movie that can’t figure out where it’s going.
EDIT: I forgot to mention… while a little getting-into-bed-with-alien-catgirls is practically obligatory in a Captain Kirk movie, this film has its brilliant scientist lady strip down to her underwear for Kirk to gawk at for LITERALLY NO REASON WHATSOEVER. Star Trek: Now in 3D Male Gaze-O-Vision, be sure to return your creep glasses in the bin when you exit the theater!