Spoilers Directly Ahead…
Its gutsy to take on Star Trek 2. But then to attempt a recreation (and an inversion) of its most famous scene? Man… not sure how I feel about that.
But let me back up a tad. Star Trek Into Darkness zips right along, the action sequences faithfully dropping jaws in a manner that allows it to compete with summer blockbusters in 2013. The actors, especially Chris Pine, have now made these characters their own. Consider the difficulty of doing that- the original cast of Star Trek are so ingrained in the public consciousness that when a “reboot” occurred in the late 80s, they went with a whole new crew of characters and called it “The Next Generation.” The very notion that we would or could accept a new Spock or Kirk seemed impossible, but I am more than ready to hand the reins to this new cast. And yeah, I guess I even liked the (eventual) bad guy played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is asked for the most physical evil performance in one of these movies since Christopher Lloyd in Star Trek 3.
But the big budget blockbuster aspects of this don’t make much space for the talkative, nay, ponderous, nature of the earlier Star Treks, especially the ones with the original cast. Granted, the budget in the Shatner/Nimoy days didn’t really allow for the kind of action seen in Into Darkness, so those movies relied on intellectual gamesmanship and strategy as much as, you know, Shatner throwing haymakers.
In fact, in Wrath of Khan, Kirk and Khan never even come face to face. Instead, the battle is one of wits, and I think I liked that a little better than a series of action scenes, even if they are as good as the ones in Into Darkness. I get that Khan here is a superman, but we only see that physically. Never did we really see what a master manipulator he could be, and I missed the intellectual games he played with Kirk in Wrath of Khan.
That final moment, which essentially recreates the Spock death from Wrath of Khan, just can’t match the emotional impact of the original version. With that, we had the entire original run of the series to get to know those versions of the characters, so losing one meant a lot more (not to mention, I never felt for even one second that Kirk was going to remain dead). Khan’s vengeance meant more, too, since we knew what Kirk had done to him in the past and what that eventually ended up meaning for Khan and his men.
That said, I like that this movie had the balls to take on this story and give me a different version. I enjoyed this more than Iron Man 3 in the blockbuster battle for summer 2013. Who is going to top it?