J.J. Abrams’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the sequel to his prequel, delivers the goods, even if some of the goods are less than fresh. Since Disney has also entrusted him with the “Star Wars” franchise, I guess he’s officially Hollywood’s anointed one for all things outer space.
Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) are the emotional core – such as it is – of this space odyssey. After Kirk disobeys a Starfleet dictum and rescues Spock from a bubbling volcano on a prehistoric planet, heads roll. Kirk feels unloved by the man he rescued, but, hey, the guy is only half human. (I’ve often wondered if the Vulcan half is actually the emotional half.) Their rapprochement is the film’s true climax, even more than the battle royal between the Enterprise and a very bad, cyborg-like guy whose name is John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) but who actually inhabits an identity hallowed in the annals of Trekkiedom.
Since 9/11-style terrorism is very much on display here, I suppose it’s fair to say that “Star Trek Into Darkness” is a sci-fi blow-out with overtones of the real. Series founder Gene Roddenberry would, I think, approve. Grade: B (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.)