‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Early Reviews – An Exciting and Satisfying ‘Star Trek’ Movie

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Paramount is going to release director J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness into U.S. theaters later this month. It will arrive four years after Abrams proved able to breath fresh life into the geek-favorite sci-fi franchise – which is nearing the 50 years of existence (and relevance) benchmark – with his critically-acclaimed and lucrative cinematic reboot.

Does the final result justify the, by and large, highly-secretive marking buildup (maybe less secretive in recent weeks)? We’ve collected together informative excerpts from the initial wave of Star Trek Into Darkness reviews to arrive online, so you can hear it straight from the horses’ mouth.

For the full reviews, click on the respective links below (NOTE: These excerpts are all SPOILER-FREE):

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The Guardian

Director JJ Abrams has followed up his sensational 2009 Star Trek reboot with a sparkling 3D sequel… And the flashes of crackling, knowing comedy have been retained, punctuating the shuddering fight scenes and chase sequences that are the very currency of the action blockbuster… Everyone is a little more battered, a little less dewy-eyed. People are unlikely to charge out of the cinema with quite the same level of glee as they did in 2009; but this is certainly an astute, exhilarating concoction.

Time Out London

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ is a brisk, no-nonsense sci-fi action sequel built around a conflict between the crew of the Starship Enterprise with a slick, slippery new villain, John Harrison [who’s] played with relish and poise by Benedict Cumberbatch… The result [this time] is a stop-gap tale that’s modest, fun and briefly amusing rather than one that breaks new ground or offers hugely memorable set pieces.

Star Trek Into Darkness Kirk Spock Black Shirts 570x311 Star Trek Into Darkness Early Reviews   An Exciting and Satisfying Star Trek Movie

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

The Telegraph

[The 2009 'Star Trek' reboot] represented a fresh start for the Trek canon, and was fired by a swashbuckling spirit and full-blooded sense of adventure… This sequel starts in the same confident frame of mind, but after around 45 minutes it finds a comfortable spot [and] reverts to old bad habits…. A large portion of Star Trek’s audience may well be satisfied by a film that amounts to not much more than an incredibly pretty and sporadically funny in-joke. [But] that pioneer spirit? It’s gone.

Film Ink

And so, after all the hype, the secrecy and the manipulations of the marketing machine, the final question remains; is the film any good? Thankfully the answer, for the most part, is a resounding yes… Visually, Star Trek Into Darkness is stunning… And yes, J.J.’s trademark lens flare runs rampant once again, which occasionally plays havoc with the film’s otherwise impressive 3D transfer… [This] is a big film, building on the foundations of its predecessor and holding true to the nature of the franchise. Combining humour, action and drama, Abrams once again delivers an original experience that feels nostalgic without any hint of being either stagnant nor stale. It’s an impressive feat, and one worth catching on the big screen.

Digital Spy

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.

Star Trek Into Darkness International Trailer Enterprise Star Trek Into Darkness Early Reviews   An Exciting and Satisfying Star Trek Movie

HeyUGuys

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.

 Star Trek Into Darkness Early Reviews   An Exciting and Satisfying Star Trek Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

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.
  • This is an enjoyable viewing experience for older and younger Trekkies, as well as those who just love a good action-packed sci-fi blockbuster.

UPDATE: Here is a 3D version of the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer:

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Look for Screen Rant‘s official Star Trek Into Darkness review when the film opens in U.S. theaters, beginning on select 3D/IMAX screens on May 15th, 2013, followed by a full theatrical release two days later.

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TAGS: star trek, star trek into darkness

40 Comments

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  1. Can’t wait for this one!

  2. Going to be great! Heard there’s good substance to go with all that action. As much as I want to see Iron Man 3, I am much for excited for Star Trek Into Darkness :D

    • more excited**

    • I heard it lacked substance lol

  3. Judging from the excerpts from the early reviews it looks like the story has diverted away from being about the crews’ discovery of its place in the larger Star Trek universe. I was hoping for largely the same as the first one, but I digress. I will though reserve judgement for when I’ve actually seen it for myself.

  4. Pioneering spirit is gone?! That concerns me. Trek is suppose to be about a ship of intrepid people on a trek through the stars discovering new life, new civilizations. I’m sure the movie will be fun but JJ needs to put the trek back into Star Trek.

    • Bang on the money.

    • The difference between Star TREK and Star WARS is right there in their respective titles.

      Hopefully in the third film they will get back to exploring the unknown. It’s much harder to come up with an original exploration story however — particularly one that will satisfy a summer moviegoing crowd — and I’m not altogether sure this particular crop of writers are up to the task.

    • Would you say in the episode “Mirror Mirror” from ST:TOS, that it “concerned you” that the residents of the Mirror Universe didn’t have a “pioneering spirit”????? Or how about any of the other Alternate Universe episodes from ST:TNG thru ST:Enterprise? When you say what Trek is supposed to be about, you are describing the inhabitants of the “Original” Star Trek Universe. As “Original” Spock noted in the last film, once Kirk’s Father was killed creating a reality where Jim Kirk never knew his father, an alternate timeline/parallel universe was created. As Nimoy himself stated, an Alternate Universe HAD to be created for Star Trek or J.J. would have stepped on all kinds of toes in attempting to rewrite Star Trek Canon. The Original Universe can be about discovering new life, new civilizations. This Alternate Universe can be all about kicking ass and taking names.

      • Mirror Mirror universe Trek was about discovering new life and new civilizations….to conquer them. :-) All the series that followed TOS dealt with discovery, especially TNG (less so DS9, but aliens just came to them). This new Trek is a new universe but Starfleet still exists, and they are not just about kicking butts. There needs to be a mixture of space exploration and action.

        • No, “Mirror, Mirror” was about showing life in an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. We didn’t give a crap if they did any “Exploring” between conquering other civilizations. No more than “In A Mirror, Darkly” was about “Exploration”. “Crossover” in Star Trek:DS9 was about “Exploration”? Hardly. Neither were “Through the Looking Glass”, “Shattered Mirror”, “Resurrection” or “The Emperor’s New Cloak”.

          As any old school Trekker knows, “Parallels” was the DIRECT inspiration for the new, Alternate Universe Star Trek. Robert Orci explained this several years ago. The nightmare that was happening in the other, Alternate Universes in that episode had NOTHING to do with “Exploration”, instead it had EVERYTHING to do with showing that the Federation evolved COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in those Universes. The Universe we are seeing in the new Trek films is exactly that. If you don’t like it, go watch old episodes or play Star Trek Online for your “Original” Universe fix. The rest of us will be moving on, like Star Trek always has.

  5. Jesus Christ people, when are you going to realize this 2013 and not 1980? I get old Trek fans want OLD STAR TREK but its the 21st Century, you might as well get with the program because the new movies are great on their own terms.

    • Then what is starfleet for in this Trek universe? Because this old Trek guy remembered that starfleet was about exploration. I suppose it’s just too much to ask to have exploration and action in the same movie.

      • It’s also a peacekeeping and military service, which Abrams seems to be fitting in well. He’s hitting two out of the three, so I’d say Starfleet has a purpose.

      • Well, THIS “Old Trek Guy” understood exactly what Spock was talking about in the last film. Perhaps you missed that bit???? Once Nero piloted his Romulan ship modified with Borg tech thru that Singularity and destroyed the U.S.S. Kelvin, an ALTERNATE Universe was created (i.e. String Theory). If you want the Original Universe Star Trek, go play Star Trek:Online, read an Original Universe book, watch an old TV episode, if you want to see what is happening in the Alternate Universe, go see this film. How is that a difficult concept to grasp?

        • I suppose we just throw continuity out the airlock as well. Since none of you want the old stuff, how will JJ and company handle the space amoeba, the Doomsday device, Nomad, the whale probe, because none of these things were affected by George Kirk dying.

          • For someone who labels themselves an “old Trek guy”, you sure don’t understand String Theory/Alternate Universes very well. George Kirk dying affected the man Jim Kirk became. However, the giant Romulan ship enhanced with Borg technology going back in time and destroying the U.S.S. Kelvin FOREVER altered the way the StarFleet and Federation in that Universe developed. Hence the different uniforms, differently constructed ships, etc. The data that was gathered from the survivors of the Kelvin would have obviously led to a major wakeup call to the Federation/Starfleet of their Universe. The tech they were exposed to in both Nero’s ship and Spock’s ship that was designed by Geordi LaForge (as described in detail in “Star Trek: Countdown” which was written by the writers of Abram’s Star Trek) was far beyond anything the Federation at that time could grasp. That reality changed how the Federation and Starfleet evolved in THAT Universe. Those changes therefore would NECESSARILY affect the disovery of the Space Amoeba, discovery of the Botany Bay, the Doomsday Weapon, etc. The deaths of the Kelvin’s crew led to certain children not being born, certain discoveries and advances in a certain area never having happened. The flipside is that they put more emphasis in pure Military might because if another Borg enhanced Romulan ship shows up, they realize that they have to be prepared or die. It’s that simple. As any “Old Trek Guy” could tell you.

    • YEA AND THE NEWER MOVIES DONT HAVE THE PINAGE THAT THE OLDER ONES HAD AND ORIGINALITY.. GEEZ.. LOOK AT WHO’S ACTING THE PARTS.. YOUNG ACTOR WANNA-BES THAT ARENT UP TO THE TASK OF REAL ACTING.. AND DIRECTORS LIKE J ABrams DOESNT come close to gene roddenberry thatswhy people are with the program as you so eloquently put it. The acting sucks and so do the so called plots.. todays acting is not what is was 40-50 years ago. back then everything was so fresh and original today everything seems to be cutting edge digitally of course but mere copycat crappola from older movies that were hits. thats my take on what you stated.. good byre and remember you ‘ll be making comments like this one day when yo uget older and wiser.. in th emean time why dont you watch a season or two of star Trek from the 60s. you’ll appreciate the acting and the originality of the real stars. everybody wants to look like the old stars of yesteryear.. and it just doesnt work forme.. i am a movie freak who loves the classics and the original series of Star TYrek, Next Generation and deep space 9.. and by the way yes we are “Jesus Christ People”…..

      • Well while you cry in your corner, the rest of us will enjoy what should be a great movie from a great director.

      • Yeah, look at the stale, stiff acting from the Original Series. It never ceases to amaze me how people look at “the good ol’ days” with rose colored glasses. I’ve been watching the Original Series since I can remember Ah…..the 70′s, what a garbage decade that was…….Roddenberry almost single handedly destroyed his own creation. Remember how god awful Star Trek The Motion Picture was??? Roddenberry’s fault. Remember how the first season of Star Trek:TNG stunk on ice???? Roddenberry’s fault. Fans don’t think back to the first season of Next Gen and think how great it was, they remember how it started getting better in Season 2 (after Roddenberry and his Roddenberry-ism died)Roddenberry had a great idea, but he didn’t know how to make it all work in a way that would make it commercially successful. It wasn’t until AFTER HIS DEATH that new Star Trek took off. Not before. I laughed out loud over the “LOOK AT WHO’S ACTING THE PARTS.. YOUNG ACTOR WANNA-BES THAT ARENT UP TO THE TASK OF REAL ACTING” lines, yes because as we all know, when you thought top line talented actors in 1966, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelly are the three guys that first popped in your mind. How utterly absurd. Acting that stiff in 2013 would have gotten laughed off the television before the first season was completed. Sorry, I love what those guys did, but comparing what audiences demanded then versus now in regards to acting is absolutely absurd. The “Back in My Day” crowd make me want to thank Odin the All-Father that my brain didn’t get stuck in 1968.

        • Actually, Gene died during Season 3.

          • Typed too much too fast. Left out that in Season 2, Gene Roddenberry’s declining health led to Maurice Hurley taking the helm and Executive Producing the show 1988-1989. Rick Berman took over in Season 3, 1989-1994(though Roddenberry was given/honored with Executive Producer credit up until his death in 1991). Gene’s health and how it lead to the reins of the show being taken over starting in 1988 by Hurley and Berman is discussed in “Trek Nation” by Eugene Roddenberry, Jr.

    • Got my IMAX tickets for May 15th sneak peak. As a hardcore Trek Fan, I enjoy what JJ has bought to Trek. Do I miss the exploration side of things? Yeah, I do, but I’m not going to bash it because it’s lacking it. Star trek is getting something it hasn’t for many years…BIG BUDGET …and then people want to gripe about it ? Well…that’s why they are all the previous movies and series to watch over and over to one’s delight.
      I for one believe Trek needs to me an action pack…when it comes to the theatrical films.

  6. Nice to hear it’s getting good reviews. This is certainly one of my most anticipated of the year. Can’t wait to see it!

  7. Y-a-w-n. I’ll wait for the DVD release.

  8. lmao!!!

    • me too !! LOL yawnnnnnnnnnnnnn !!!

  9. Definitely my most anticipated summer movie (excluding Man of Steel).

    I agree a little bit with the idea that there should be some “TREK” in Star Trek. But I feel that it’s because we are seeing still the early careers of the enterprise crew. In other words, these two movies occur before their five year mission to explore new worlds and civilizations.

    I think a great transition and change of pace would be ideal for the third movie, now that the characters are established, and developed, and they are more like the seasoned crew we are introduced to in the original series. An exploration flick for the third one, with a little more mystery and maybe a little less chasing and explosions would be my best case scenario.

  10. I am also going to wait for the dvd release.

  11. HHHAAARRRRRIIISSSOOONNN!!!

  12. I’ll be seeing this over Iron Man 3 after hearing the “twist” in IM3. I enjoyed the 2009 movie so I’m looking forward to this.

  13. I liked the 2009 Trek but grew up on TNG and TOS. That movie shouldve been the set up for exploring strange new worlds, but now that its clearly just a crazy sci fi actioner in space i’m pretty disappointed. Its like how it took the Craig Bond movies three damn movies for him to become Bond as we know him and just to use the damn theme song. If the next Trek doesnt focus on some unknown part of the frontier I’m out, i can barely get excited for this one at this point. Id rather see a final TNG movie than these Abercrombie kids running around in charge of iShips. Pine was good as a very young Kirk, but as Captain Kirk its ridiculous

  14. I really liked the trailer of this movie. Although i thought the 2009 movie was good, not that great. What adds to this one is the villain being played by Benedict. Looking forward to the scenes between him and Pine. And then ofcourse the action pieces seem awesome. So all in all a good entertaining blockbuster is what it looks like. I dont know why people are comparing old and new. Times change. Either change with it or dont. YOur choice.

  15. Give JJ Abrams a break. him being a Non Star Trek fan, I think he has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Being a Star wars fan myself, I will definitely watch “Into Darkness” . Now lets move on to Episode 7!

  16. This new Trek is good sci-fi; I enjoyed the 2009 movie. The problem I have is that they are using the name Star Trek without doing any of the trek. I haven’t seen this new movie so maybe JJ does have some exploration in it. I hope JJ is not making Starfleet just a police force.

    • I’d suggest rewatching the ST:TNG episode “Parallels” and understanding that “Exploration” isn’t the name of the game in all of the Alternate Universes of Star Trek (unless you think Alternate Riker begging to not be sent back “there” was because he couldn’t get enough “Exploration”). Next, get your hands on “Star Trek:Countdown” which details all the events in the “Original” Universe of Star Trek that we then behold in Abram’s “Star Trek”. You also may want to brush up on what “Trek” means:

      trek

      Noun
      A long arduous journey, esp. one made on foot.

      Verb
      Go on a long arduous journey, typically on foot.

      Synonyms
      noun.
      tour – travel – journey – migration

      verb.
      migrate

      If you could point out where “Exploration” is involved in the definition of “Trek”, I’d appreciate it. Simply because YOU want “Exploration”, that doesn’t mean the StarFleet of this Alternate Universe really gives a crap about “Exploration” except where finding more powerful technology is concerned. Romulan Ship enhanced with Borg Tech versus U.S.S. Kelvin changed EVERYTHING (and via String Theory, created a new, alternate Universe). Just like with the Starfleet/Federation of this Alternate Universe, the Star Trek fans who are stuck in the past need to either evolve or go away. The rest of us Old School Trekkies embracing one of our favorite corners of the world of SciFi will be moving forward to the next adventure.

  17. For those who don’t get the Alternate Universe concept and think/thought that these Star Trek stories were going to take place in the “Original” Universe that fans first saw in ST:TOS, I suggest reading this as well as “Star Trek:Countdown”:

    http://trekmovie.com/2008/12/11/bob-orci-explains-how-the-new-star-trek-movie-fits-with-trek-canon-and-real-science/

    Quantum Mechanics ROCKS!!!

  18. As for those Trekkers who missed how the torch was passed from the Star Trek: The Next Generation films to the New Star Trek, I’d strongly suggest getting your hands on “Star Trek: Countdown”, it’s a pretty good story and it ties everything together in details that they just couldn’t do in the film:

    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_Countdown

  19. fine story and the review was so helpful indeed right now my self was looking at the teaser and it all comes in with some excellent process of entertainment and packed with science faction.

  20. Read full review here: http://youngthespian42films.blogspot.com/2013/05/star-trek-into-darkness-review.html

    The Skinny:

    The brilliance of this movie is the social commentary is there only if you want to see. This movie is first and foremost an action movie and I will end it by repeating that. Abrams has crafted a near perfect Star Trek, because it satisfies on most every level. There is plenty of inside baseball jokes and references to please the legion of obsessive fans. The story and characters are clear enough where one could walk in and know nothing Star Trek and enjoy a hell of movie. The social commentary is there if you want it and it biting and real. Though the last 20 minutes are a little rough it is a step form Great to good. I would watch the worst scene of this movie for three hours over any of most of the Sci-Fi offerings of the last decade (Avatar, Oblivion, Star Wars prequels, Transformers, just to name a few turds).

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