I went into Star Trek: Beyond unsure if I was even going to see the movie. The Star Trek reboot has been wholly underwhelming so far, Justin Lin (Fast and Furious) did not instill confidence in me as a serious director, trailers looked atrocious.
Star Trek (2009) created a new Trek universe, one with more action and less science that resembles more of a Star Wars type of set up. JJ Abrams who helmed the writing and production admitted he was a fan of the latter series and not so much the adventures of Captain Kirk that many of us fans had grown to love. On first watch, I thought the film was fun and enjoyed it, but as I delved into it, it missed the spirit of Star Trek, made blatant characterization errors (especially with Old Spock) and felt like a nostalgic caricature more than a film in its own rite. Abrams has a habit of doing this, and I have similar feelings with The Force Awakens. There is one thing he is a master at, however, which few could deny – casting. The cast did such an excellent job, we had hopes for a launching point for at least a watchable series.
Then came Into Darkness. And as the title aptly put, that is what the writing delved into, unable to find its way back out. The movie was a convoluted mess, trying to get to 10-15 minute action scenes and slogging through having to have a plot as if it were a nuisance. Add to it strange role reversed Wrath of Khan rehashes, Spock fist fighting on top of a space ship and a bizarre 9-11 truther plot… it was a pure disaster. I’d all but written off the franchise.
So my expectations were very low coming into this movie, and I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it and thought this picked up how Trek 2009 promised the franchise would blossom, and positively. What’s important is this franchise actually feels like Star Trek again. There were some nice homages to the original trek through it as well. Spoilers begin here.