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'Star Trek Into Darkness': What are early reviews saying?

Some critics have seen 'Star Trek Into Darkness' early. What's the reaction to the new 'Star Trek' film?

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Cast members describing Into Darkness as “relentless” weren’t kidding… A tad more calm interspersed with the storm wouldn’t have gone amiss, but when those rare quiet beats come, they matter… It feels like Abrams still not quite trusting his own rebooted universe, where in every other instance he treads the line between new ground and nostalgia with supreme confidence. Star Trek Into Darkness earns its title, but the dark shades are still primary colors… It’s an exhilarating, emotionally rich and utterly pleasurable journey that wears its love for Trek fans old and new on its sleeve.

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Star Trek Into Darkness… is by no means flawless [but director J.J. Abrams] has made another fine, and fun, Star Trek film… [The sequel] is permeated with Trek lore, some elements expected, others not, but more often than not the story is served well. The excitement, however, comes from the new… The trip into darkness is as good as its predecessor [but] it misses the greatness it might have achieved if it had kept to the crooked path it was leading away from its past.

 Total Film

Mostly, ['Star Trek Into Darkness'] is fantastic fun: a two-hours-plus blockbuster that doesn’t bog down in exposition or sag in the middle. There are reversals and rug-pulls galore, most of them executed with whiplash skill. Trouble is, at a certain point peril-fatigue starts to creep in, putting the story (like the overtaxed Enterprise) at the risk of burning out… But man of the match is, of course, [director J.J. Abrams]. His aim with Into Darkness was to mint a standalone adventure, one that welcomed total Trek neophytes at the door. Mission accomplished…

Graffiti with Punctuation

The J.J. Abrams chorus of writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof aren’t in a rush to progress their characters to their ‘mythic’ status… This isn’t repetitious or laborious, in fact it’s a great device to reveal and explore the essential ingredient of each of the individual iconic crew members… J.J. Abrams applies that big-budget action spectacle to the Trek franchise, whilst staying true to the brand… Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t ready to stretch to the unknown pockets of the universe just yet; instead it relishes in the evolution of the key characters in the wake of their defining challenge. It’s a rousing adventure and Abrams has laid the platform for a healthy and long lasting franchise.

So, to summarize, the early consensus is:

Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t a franchise game-changer along the lines of The Empire Strikes Back or The Dark Knight, but it offers as much – if not more – entertainment value than J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot.

The sequel blends earnest nostalgia for classic Trek lore with innovation and plot/character development, but not always in well-balanced portions.

Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

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