'Into Darkness' boldly triumphs
"Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness." -- "The Matrix Reloaded"
That line of dialogue always has stuck with me and seems like an appropriate intro for this week's review.
2009's "Star Trek" was one of those rare films I thought looked pretty good and was very pleasantly blown away by. Fast forward four years to the release of "Star Trek: Into Darkness," and two things have happened. No. 1: I have spent the last four years hoping that the next Star Trek movie might be just as great, or even greater, than its predecessor. And No. 2, after waiting for four years, it was impossible to watch this film with anything that resembled realistic expectations; the result of which is an inevitable, if ultimately negligible, nugget of disappointment.
The pull-push relationship of hope aside, "Star Trek: Into Darkness" is a fantastic summer movie and a gem among Star Trek films. Some of the beauty of 2009 "Star Trek" was the origin-story feel of reintroducing characters and how the pieces all fit together. The cast members who play the crew of the USS Enterprise is a fantastic ensemble that provides the necessary intimacy for a film that literally spans galaxies. That said, it is Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the film's villain, who steals the show with great effect.
Director J.J. Abrams has a well-documented penchant for secrecy. Until release, the actual plot, and even some of the characters, were virtually unknown. An additional benefit of being a secretive director is the ability to surprise even the most well-informed viewer. Coupled with Abrams' signature style and master filmmaking, the images that are put on screen are truly breathtaking.
Both "Star Trek" and "Star Trek: Into Darkness" feature complicated plots with twists and turns that spiral through all four dimensions. The elegance the first film displayed while navigating those turns is somewhat lost on its predecessor; to be fair, the deduction takes the film from an A-plus to an A-minus.
For me, this is very much one of those films that demands a second viewing to fully appreciate. A second look almost certainly will impart some details that were missed; furthermore, now that the pressure of hoping to like the film is off, it will be much easier to enjoy the ride.
James Gerstner works at the Fort Hays State University Foundation and is the founder and editor of Six Horizons Media at sixhorizons.com. Contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org, @sixhorizons on Twitter, Facebook.com/sixhorizons.