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J.J. Abrams has brought true genius in the form of his second film in the Star Trek saga, and Star Trek: Into Darkness leaves the audience reeling with an entertaining and powerfully emotional experience.
The original 1979 movie Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the subsequent series had to follow in the steps of an innovative and boundary pushing 1960’s TV show that had become a cult classic and legend, and when that first flick hit theaters there was a lot of disappointment from a fan base that expected more than a reintroduction and reestablishing of the characters and what has been dubbed a cool looking and fun “sightseeing tour” of a movie. It was a success but did not offer much of the groundbreaking that went on time and again in the Star Trek TV series.
Then came Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and the obscure and wonderfully ruthless, strong, and cruel Khan was the perfect foil for Captain Kirk and company. The gritty movie showed suspense, terror, and a maniac as an edgy villain that propelled its box office breakthroughs into the stratosphere. The characters had flaws, depth, and growth, and they were tested repeatedly in an all too dangerous bout.
Abrams provided a phenomenal reboot with Star Trek and aptly made his series an alternate timeline in the history of this fictional universe that does not need to follow in the original’s giant footsteps while leaving room for new and interesting plots and legendary adventures. So really J.J. was one up on the original film, and with Into Darkness he waxes his reach into the Star Trek mythology with a smart and ruthless killer in John Harrison, played by the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch.
This film will be hard to overtake in terms of its amazing mix of story, villainy, supreme acting all around, and sheer emotional weight amongst myriad thrills.
Visually, it is stunning and fits perfectly into Trekky lore, and there is a sense of awe that comes out of seeing this on the big screen, which is not unlike the Wrath of Khan’s cloudy supernova battle invoked thirty-plus years ago in theaters.
I cannot wait to see what Abrams will have in store for the next in the series.
IMPULSIVE REVIEW Grade: A++
by R.J. Huneke