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Star Trek Into Darkness (PG-13)
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Caution: potential spoilers.

This is the second movie in the franchise reboot that began with Star Trek. Personally, I liked it more than that movie. Um... I want to mention I think it's a bit odd that the title apparently isn't meant to include a colon, but that's not the first time that's happened, with Star Trek movies. And it's not important. I'm also not sure what "Into Darkness" even means, but again, not really important. One thing I really need to mention is that before this movie came out, there was rampant fan speculation about the identity of the villain. Everyone was all "Is it Khan?" (If by some chance you are among the uninitiated, Khan was introduced in an episode of the original series, and later became the villain of the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.) I can't remember for certain, but I think I may have managed not to be spoiled about the answer to that question before the movie came out in May 2013. I didn't actually see the movie until February 2014, on DVD, and by then I'd definitely known the answer to the question for awhile. I will not answer that question, here. I'll just say the villain is played by Benedict Cumberbatch. And he doesn't disappoint. I will also say that the movie takes place prior to the episode in which Khan was originally introduced, but the movie has certain plot points which are intentionally very reminiscent of plot points from "The Wrath of Khan" (albeit some of them... juxtaposed). I couldn't help thinking, even before seeing the movie, that if it was Khan, it wouldn't make much sense from a timeline perspective. However, it's important to remember that the events of the previous film altered the continuity of the franchise in any number of ways, so... it's not difficult for the writers to explain seeming inconsistencies in a believable way, with a quick, throwaway line of dialogue.

Anyway, it begins with the Enterprise crew on a random mission to observe a very primitive planet, but they end up doing things that defy the Prime Directive of noninterference with such worlds. This is important to the plot in an immediate way, and later on it turns out to have neatly set up one of those juxtaposed plot points from the original second movie. The upshot is, Kirk gets demoted, and the Enterprise is supposed to be returned to the command of Admiral Pike. However, Pike ends up being killed in the villain's attack on Starfleet headquarters, and then the villain uses a transwarp transporter to escape from Earth to the Klingon homeworld, Kronos. Admiral Marcus agrees to give command of Enterprise back to Kirk, who is sent to find and kill the villain. However, Spock is against this, because no matter his crimes, the villain deserves a fair trial. So Kirk finally agrees to capture him instead of killing him. Meanwhile, a scientist named Carol Wallace (who we like) has been assigned to the Enterprise. There is a plot twist about her real identity, which did not surprise me in the slightest.

So, after the Enterprise arrives at the edge of the Neutral Zone between Federation and Klingon space, Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and a couple of random lieutenants take a small ship from there to Kronos. They are confronted by Klingons, who at first were wearing helmets that covered their entire heads. I couldn't help wondering if the filmmakers were trying to avoid the issue of whether they'd look like Klingons from the era of original series or Klingons from the era of the original movies onwards. But before long at least one of them took off his helmet, and he definitely looked... closer to latter-day Klingons. Anyway, I don't want to give anything away about what exactly transpires with them, so let's just skip forward to the villain being captured and taken back to the Enterprise.

Um... gosh. I don't really want to spoil any more about the plot, actually, but a lot more happens. There is a different character who becomes more of a villain than the main villain. And... there's a scene with Carol that reminds me of a scene I've long been planning to write in my own book, and I hate when that happens, because I always worry that if I ever bloody finish my book, and it gets published, people may think I've stolen all sorts of ideas from all sorts of things that came out before my book, even if I had my ideas before these things came out. That's been happening to me with this book since like 1999. (I really need to learn to write faster.) But the scene in the movie doesn't turn out like the scene in my book, anyway, so maybe it's not important. Anyway, in closing I'll just say the movie has lots of little shout-outs to things from various Star Trek eras of shows and movies, which should all be fun for serious fans. And, you know, it's just a really fun and exciting and funny and touching movie.

Followed by Star Trek Beyond

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