For those who love the Star Trek universe, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that writers Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof are going where others have gone before. The good news is that it worked and in fact, it works well.
Star Trek Into Darkness, unlike the 2009 reboot of the film version of the franchise, gives us a villain from TOS. It brings back all of the principal cast from the reboot, although the alternative timeline that reboot established has progressed a bit. Captain Kirk is now in command of the Enterprise, with Spock having chosen to be his first officer. They are involved with a difficult mission and as usual, Kirk ignores the Prime Directive in order to serve what he considers a more important goal.
As a result, he is removed from command and Admiral Pike is given “the chair” back, although he has insisted that Kirk serve as his first officer. Spock has been transferred to another ship and it seems like Kirk will get a second chance someday. Then a tragedy takes place. A library archive in London is blown up by a Starfleet officer, only not everything is as it appears. The archive isn’t an archive and “Admiral Marcus” (Weller) holds a meeting of all starship commanders and first officers currently on Earth at Starfleet HQ in San Francisco. The meeting is brazenly attacked by “Commander John Harrison” (Cumberbatch) although eventually his real identity will be unveiled. Kirk is given back command of the Enterprise, Spock is reinstated as first officer and they are sent to kill Commander Harrison who has hidden somewhere that Starfleet should not be going.
A new science officer “Carol Marcus” (Eve) transfers aboard the Enterprise just before it departs to hunt down Harrison. The question is will Kirk do as he is ordered, or will something else happen?
Were this not a science-fiction film, which are almost universally overlooked during the process of choosing the winners of Oscars, Benedict Cumberbatch would be a serious contender not just to get named one of five. He might well have a chance of taking home the gold. Considering the iconic actor whose role he is taking, he manages to not just make it his own; but to shine like a supernova in it. Newcomer to the series, Alice Eve is excellent in her somewhat limited role and Peter Weller shows he still has the chops that made him be “Robocop”. The core cast are just fine, perfectly chosen for their roles as they were in the reboot. The film is taut and J.J. Abrams can always be counted on to deliver edge of the seta action. There are things I could nitpick about, but this is Star Trek in its only current incarnation and that alone gives it a lot of slack. Especially when it comes to minor things. See it on a big screen, where the visual and audio experience will be on display at its finest.