With the Star Trek reboot, J.J. Abrams managed to make the franchise synonymous with fast-paced action and intense special effects, not the cerebral, hardcore science fiction of the original series. But with all the promises of Star Trek Into Darkness pushing Kirk to earn his captaincy through a “journey of pathos,” one might think sci-fi drama would take top billing over sci-fi thrills.

The newest Into Darkness featurette suggests that that’s not the case, and that the destruction and frantic combat seen in the first trailer (and again in the Super Bowl TV spot) offer just a taste of the “relentless” and “stunningly beautiful” action in store.

Anyone who sat through the Into Darkness IMAX Preview has an idea of how the term “relentless” could apply to the basic pacing of the film, sporting not one, but two pulse-pounding sequences within the span of 9 minutes. Interestingly enough, that same prologue also gave the first hints at how Abrams will be employing 3D in both close-up action and the larger expanses of space.

The director hasn’t been tempering his excitement for what the 3D post-conversion will add to the film, despite earlier reservations about the process (he must have read our article on the Biggest 3D Misconceptions).

We know for certain that the film won’t be falling into the ‘cash-grab-post-conversion’ category, as it is already said to contain over 1400 effects shots and 40 minutes of IMAX footage. Pair that kind of pulse-quickening space combat, urban destruction and zero-gee diving with the highly-praised new villain John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and we can’t help but hope Abrams knows how to walk the line between ‘relentless’ and ‘out of control.’ That’s without mentioning the biological subplot that will be used to introduce Alice Eve’s Dr. Carol Marcus.

We’d be downright skeptical that a movie trying to do justice to all those elements wouldn’t buckle under its own weight if the previous movie hadn’t turned out so well, and if the task was being left to a cast less capable and, according to Abrams, crazy-smart” and opinionated about returning to their roles.

That being said, we’re not surprised that the bigger and bolder approach to action – along with one seriously complicated villain – left little room for romance. An on screen love story between Kirk and Marcus may not be a top priority, but you know what they say about relationships formed under extreme circumstances…

What aspects of Star Trek Into Darkness are you most interested in – the story, the action, or the characters? Sound off in the comments.

Star Trek Into Darkness opens in theaters (regular and IMAX 3D) on May 17th, 2013.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.