Blog #386: Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness


After four very long years of waiting, the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek, Star Trek: Into Darkness finally hit theaters.  I have been out of my mind waiting for this movie.  I really hope they don’t wait another four years before the next one.  But, before we start talking about the next one, I have a whole lot to say about with this one.

No Spoilers

Star Trek: Into Darkness is absolutely amazing.  It was incredibly well acted by the principal cast as well as newcomers Peter Weller (Admiral Marcus), Benedict Cumberbatch (John Harrison), and Alice Eve (Carol Marcus).  There was plenty of action and phenomenal special effects.  The story was well paced and logical with a number of unexpected twists.  There were several references to previous events in the Star Trek universe.  J.J. Abrams is a genius.  There were a few little issues here and there, but they are minor, and I really can’t go through them without spoilers.


(As always, quotes may not be exact, I can only take notes so fast.)

So, I want to start off by answering the one question that has been on the mind of every Trekkie for a long time now.  The question that has kept people awake at night (might have just been me).  Yes, I will now answer your most burning question of all about Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Yes my friends, there is lens flare.  Just not as much of it as last time.  Okay, just kidding, I’m saving the big reveal for later that I’m sure everyone already knows. 🙂

If you saw The Hobbit in IMAX, you may have gotten to see a special preview of the first several minutes of Into Darkness.  That has since been altered, or at least reordered.  Originally, it started in London then cut to the Enterprise on a mission.  The actual movie has this reversed with the Enterprise’s mission being completed first.

“You just stunned our ride.” – Dr. Leonard McCoy

We start out in a really cool forest on an alien planet.  Kirk (though he is wearing a cloak and you can’t see his face yet) is running through the trees carrying something.  He comes upon a large creature which rears up in front of him.  He pulls out a phaser and stuns it.  As the beast falls out of the way, you see another cloaked figure behind him who removes his hood and you can see that it’s Bones.  The beast was apparently their get away ride.

They take off running to stay ahead of the natives who are in pursuit, with spears flying by their heads and striking the trees around them.  Bones asks Kirk what he’s carrying.  Kirk says he has no idea, but they were bowing to it.  It’s not clear at this point why Kirk stole their idol.

“I am…surprisingly…alive.” – Commadner Spock

On board a shuttle craft, Sulu and Uhura are getting ready to lower Spock into an active volcano so he can try to save the planet.  As they lower him, the cable snaps and Spock falls, though he and the device he’s carrying manage to land on a rock in a sea of lava.  The shuttle is damaged by the ash spewing into the air.  Sulu and Uhura have to fly away from the volcano and abandon the shuttle.

As Kirk and Bones run by a tree, Kirk throws the scroll up on a branch where it opens up and most of the pursuing natives drop to their knees and stop chasing them.  Kirk and Bones then jump off a cliff into the sea and swim to the Enterprise.

Spock prepares the device and we see a cut to the natives’ temple being destroyed.  We now realize that Kirk stole the idol so they would follow him away from the volcano.  More importantly, the natives see their temple destroyed.

“If Spock were here, and I were there, what would he do?” – Captain James T. Kirk
“He’d let you die.” – Dr. Leonard McCoy

Aboard the Enterprise, Kirk and company try to figure out how to save Spock.  The only chance they have is to take off, fly over the volcano, and transport Spock out, but the natives will see them.  Spock uses the “needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” line.  Kirk decides to break the Prime Directive and they rescue Spock.  The natives see the Enterprise, abandon their idol and start worshiping an outline of the shape of the Enterprise they draw in the dirt.

I think this was a great opening to the movie.  We get some the classic Star Trek elements in “the needs of the many,” the Prime Directive, and it being broken.  We also get something that I don’t think we’ve ever seen the original Enterprise do before.

“I can save her.” – John Harrison

After the title screen, we cut to London and a couple waking up to go visit their sick daughter at a hospital.  While what her condition is was never revealed, she is clearly in bad shape.  Her father, a Starfleet officer, goes outside and a man comes up to him and says that he can save her.

Next we cut to Kirk’s house/quarters.  He’s in bed with twin aliens who have tails.  Really, what more needs to be said?

Kirk and Spock go to see Pike.  Kirk thinks it’s about a five year mission that they have been chosen to undertake.  It’s not.  Kirk never reported the incident with the volcano, while Spock reported it in every detail.

“Do you have any idea what a pain in the ass you are? – Admiral Christopher Pike
“I think so sir.” – Captain James T. Kirk

Pike lectures Kirk and tells him that Admiral Marcus has taken the Enterprise away from him.  Pike is the new Enterprise captain and Kirk is being sent back to the academy.

Harrison gives his blood (or a serum made from his blood, it’s unclear) and a ring to the officer with the sick daughter.  The officer gives his daughter the blood and her bio readings immediately improve.  He then goes to the a Starfleet records archive in London.  He sends a message saying that he was made to do this by John Harrison and drops the ring in a glass of water where it explodes, taking out the whole building.

“I don’t know what to say.” – Captain James T. Kirk
“That is a first.” – Admiral Christopher Pike

Pike finds Kirk in a bar.  He tells him that he convinced Marcus to let Kirk stay aboard the Enterprise as first officer and that Spock is being transferred to another ship.  He tells Kirk he believes in him, and Kirk is visibly moved.  This is a really great scene.  I just wish (and I’m not sure how they could have done it) had this come a little earlier.

Pike gets a message that they need to attend a meeting.  They arrive from the meeting and before it begins Kirk and Spock talk/argue about following rules.  Kirk tells Spock he will miss him.  Spock, being the stubborn Vulcan he is, can’t make himself reply.

It is so great seeing the evolution of Spock and Kirk’s relationship.  It makes me wish we could have seen how it happened in the original universe in canon.  Sadly, that’s never going to happen.

Admiral Marcus announces that one of their own, John Harrison, is responsible.  Kirk looks at the visual records from after the bombing and sees Harrison stealing a bag.  He makes the point that the archives are public.  Attacking it doesn’t make sense, it would be like blowing up a library.  It’s also noted that Harrison stole a ship, but that it has no warp capability.

Suddenly the ship appears outside and starts firing into the room.  He is blasting the hell out of the place.  Kirk grabs a gun and tries to shoot him down.  Spock grabs Pike who is seriously wounded and gets him out of the line of fire.  Kirk manages to creatively disable Harrison’s ship, but Harrison beams away before the ship crashes.

Spock mind melds with Pike as he dies.  Kirk gets to them and is obviously devastated.  Apprehending Harrison has just become personal.

Scotty finds a portable transwarp beaming device in the wreckage of Harrison’s ship and discovers where Harrison has gone.

Scotty also mentions that the device uses his transwarp beaming equations that Starfleet stole (he may say that in a later scene, my notes are unclear).  I think this is very important.  In the original timeline, Scotty didn’t invent the transwarp beaming equations until many years later.  The original Spock gave him the equations in the previous movie.  This means that the original Spock’s trip back in time has further altered the timeline beyond the immediate affects.  It is a good example of how the original timeline will continue to skew more and more as we go forward.

Kirk and Spock tell Marcus that Harrison is on Kronos, the Klingon home world, in an abandoned city.  Marcus admits that the archive was a cover.  It was actually a Section 31 intelligence and weapons development facility.  Kirk requests to be reinstated as captain of the Enterprise so he can go after Harrison.

Marcus points out that landing on Kronos could start a war, but gives Kirk an alternative.  He’s going to send him with a payload of advanced photon torpedoes developed by Section 31.  He says they will be invisible to Klingon sensors and orders Kirk to park near the neutral zone and blast the entire area.  Kirk requests Spock be reinstated as first officer and Marcus grants his request.

After a brief scene with Kirk and Bones where Bones is concerned because Kirk didn’t show up for his medical exam, they board the shuttle to go to the Enterprise.  Spock expresses concern about their mission saying that it is both immoral and illegal, but Kirk is having none of it.

A blond officer in a blue uniform comes up to Kirk and says her name is Carol Wallace, and that Admiral Marcus has assigned her as a science officer (she is also an advanced weapons expert).

“Jim for the love of god.  Do not use those torpedoes.” – Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott

Aboard the Enterprise, Scotty refuses to accept delivery of the new torpedoes.  He asks for specs, but is told they are classified.  His concern is that not knowing what their fuel is, that it could be something that would affect the warp engines.

I find this to be slightly weak.  The suggestion that the warp engine is so sensitive that the torpedo’s propulsion system could affect the warp engine seems far fetched at best.  I suppose it was the easiest way to get Scotty to resign, which he does when Kirk orders him to sign for the torpedoes.  Personally, I think they would have been better off with Scotty being concerned because he has no records of safety testing of these devices, no diagrams and blueprints, no specifications, all of which would certainly be reason not to want them on board.  I’m not sure the sensitivity of the warp engines was the best way to do it.  In fact, the above quote would make more sense if it was not about the warp engines, but about the devices safety.  All in all, though, this is a very minor thing.  The import thing is that Scotty is off the ship.

“Go put on a red shirt.” – Captain James T. Kirk

On the bridge, Kirk makes Chekov Chief Engineer and tells him to put of a red shirt.  The look on Chekov’s face is priceless, as if he’s just been sentenced to exile in Siberia.

Kirk announces their mission to the crew, but at the last minute heads Spock’s concerns and decides to lead a mission to capture Harrison, once again not following orders.

Spock confronts Carol Wallace, revealing that she is actually Carol Marcus, the admiral’s daughter.  She asks Spock not to tell her father, but before she can explain why, the ship rocks violently.

We learn there is a warp drive malfunction, temporarily stranding them in enemy space.

“Attention: John Harrison. This is Captain Hikaru Sulu of he USS Enterprise. A shuttle of highly trained officers is on its way to your location. If you do not surrender to them immediately, I will unleash the entire payload of advanced long-range torpedoes currently locked on to your location. You have two minutes to confirm your compliance. Refusal to do so will result in your obliteration. And If you test me, you will fail.” – Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
“Mr. Sulu, remind me never to piss you off.” – Dr. Leonard McCoy

Kirk, Spock, and Uhura leave on mining ship to capture Harrison.  Sulu is left in command of the Enterprise, where he transmits their intentions to fire their torpedoes if he does not surrender.  Sulu doesn’t really get to do a lot in this movie, but this is his moment, and he delivers the above message perfectly.

On the shuttle, there is a rather complicated discussion between Spock and Uhura with a few comments from Kirk.  Uhura tells Spock that he never gave her a second thought when he was in the volcano, that he didn’t feel anything.

Spock says he chose not to feel when the thought he was going to die.  He says he mind melded with Pike as he died, and felt what he felt.  Spock says he felt the same things when he saw his planet die.  He says he chooses not to feel because he does care.

I can’t say that I completely got that, but Uhura does.  Later she is not pissed at him anymore.

“Captain, this ship will not fit.” – Commander Spock
“IT WILL FIT, WILL FIT, WILL FIT!” – Captain James T. Kirk
[The ship scrapes through.]
“See, I told you it would fit.” – Captain James T. Kirk
“I am not sure that qualifies.” – Commander Spock

The mining shuttle is attacked by a Klingon ship.  There is a great chase scene and the wonderful scene everyone has seen in the trailer where the ship barely fits through between two buildings.

They think they have lost the Klingons, but run into three ships and are forced to land.  Uhura goes out to speak with the Klingons, who have really awesome cranial ridges.  She tries to convince them that Harrison has no honor and for that reason they should help them to capture him.  The Klingon grabs Uhura by the neck, but it’s not really clear if he means to hurt her or just scare her, or at least, it’s not clear in my notes.

Out of nowhere, Harrison attacks the Klingons with a rifle in one hand and some kind of bad ass phaser cannon in the other.  Kirk, Spock, and the security officers come out of the shuttle shooting at the Klingons, but Harrison takes out most of the Klingons and their ships himself.  I don’t recall if the two red shirts died, but I think they must have (though at the time they were not wearing red shirts).  Harrison disarms Spock and asks Kirk how many torpedoes they have.  Kirk tell shim they have 72 torpedoes, and Harrison drops his weapon and surrenders.  Kirks, Spock, and Uhura, sort of look at each other for a moment, confused.

Kirk sucker punches Harrison, then keeps on punching him over and over, throwing in a few kicks for good measure.  Unfortunately, Kirk’s rage over Pike’s death doesn’t really get relieved, as Harrison takes each blow and stands there as if being hit with a feather.

Once back on the Enterprise, Uhura and Spock share a kiss, as their conversation on the shuttle seems to have ended their argument.

McCoy takes a blood sample from Harrison.  This is important later.

Kirk and Harrison verbally spar and Harrison gives him coordinates near Earth, and tells him that the answers he’s looking for are there.  Harrison also suggests that Kirk open up one of the torpedoes.

“If it isn’t James Tiberius Perfect Hair.” – Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott

Kirk calls Scotty, finding that he’s in a bar, as if there was anywhere else Scotty would be, and asks him to check out the coordinates.  Kirk also admits that Scotty might have been right about the torpedoes.

“Don’t agree with me Spock it makes me very uncomfortable.” – Dr. Leonard McCoy

Kirk wants to open a torpedo, though both Spock and McCoy think that might be inadvisable, a rare moment when they agree, and the above line is delivered perfectly.  Spock reveals to Kirk that Carol Wallace is actually Admiral Marcus’s daughter, in a fairly humorous exchange.

Kirk speaks with Carol Marcus about the torpedoes.  She tells him that she had access to all her father’s projects, but that when she questioned him about the torpedoes because they had vanished from the records, he wouldn’t even speak to her.  It’s for this reason that she forged transfer orders to get aboard the Enterprise.

This all takes place as she and Kirk head inside of a shuttle craft and she starts to change her clothes.  Kirk turns around and she is in her underwear.

This scene has been talked about a lot.  Okay, it wasn’t necessary for her to be in her underwear to be ogled by Kirk (and most male members of the audience).  However, there did need to be something to foreshadow a future relationship between Kirk and Carol Marcus.  Admittedly this wasn’t the only way to do it, and something more meaningful would have been nice.  Abrams made a point in an interview I saw that earlier in the movie we saw Kirk with his shirt off, and this was a counterpoint to that.  Also, it would be just like Kirk to turn around when she told him not to, that’s very consistent with his character.  I think everyone is making too much of it.

“You know when I dreamt of being on a deserted planet with a gorgeous blond there was no torpedo.” – Dr. Leonard McCoy

Dr. McCoy and Carol go to a deserted planetoid to work on the torpedo.  Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, they still have received no response from Starfleet regarding the capture of Harrison.  Chekov reports to Kirk that he found the engine damage and that it is extensive.  It’s pretty clear they were sabotaged.

On the planetoid, McCoy’s arm gets trapped inside a panel on the outside of the torpedo and the torpedo arms itself.  Carol manages to disarm it just in time.  Inside the torpedo they find a cryo tube with a person inside.

We cut to Scotty who is in a shuttle heading to the coordinates Harrison gave Kirk.  While we don’t see it, we hear a communication between the structure Scotty finds and another shuttle reporting they are bringing aboard The bridge crew of the U.S.S. Vengeance.

Bones examines the man in the tube, discovering that he has been frozen for 300 years.  Yes, it’s time for the big reveal.

“John Harrison was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Admiral Marcus to help him advance his cause. A smoke screen to conceal my true identity. My name is Khan.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“Why would Starfleet ask a three-hundred year-old frozen man for help?” – Captain James T. Kirk
“Because I am better.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“At what?” – Captain James T. Kirk
“Everything.  Alexander Marcus needed to respond to an uncivilized threat in a civilized time, and for that, he needed a warrior’s mind…my mind…to design weapons and warships.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“You are suggesting the Admiral violated every regulation he vowed to uphold, simply because he wanted to exploit your intellect…” – Commander Spock
He wanted to exploit my savagery!  Intellect alone is useless in a fight, Mr. Spock. You can’t even break a rule, how can you be expected to break a bone?” – Khan Noonien Singh

Kirk goes to Harrison to ask him why there was a man in the torpedo.  Harrison tells him that there are men and women in all the torpedoes.  He tells Kirk that the destruction of Vulcan prompted some in Starfleet to prepare for other threats.  Section 31 searched space for anything they could use.  Marcus had a vision for a militarized Starfleet.  Section 31 found Harrison’s ship, though he never calls it Botany Bay.  Harrison spins the truth we know, claiming that he and his people were sentenced to exile, which is probably why he didn’t mention the ship by name.  Harrison reveals to Kirk that his true name is…KHAN!

It is clear that Admiral Marcus broke the rules, and that this whole mission was his attempt to start a war with the Klingons.  Kirk orders Khan taken to sickbay.

On the bridge, the Vengeance arrives, a ship twice the size of the Enterprise.  It is under he command of Admiral Marcus, and he demands Kirk turn Khan over to him.  Kirk tells him that he opened up one of the torpedoes.  Marcus claimed to be sparing Kirk from he truth by not telling him Khan’s people were inside the torpedoes.  He tells Kirk that these men were sentenced to death and escaped Earth.  Kirk tells Marcus that Khan is being held in engineering.

The Enterprise warps away, heading for Earth, believing they can escape.  Carol tells Kirk that the Vengeance has three times the maximum speed of the Enterprise.  The vengeance catches them and starts firing on the Enterprise while at warp speed.  They come out of warp near Earth.  Carol goes with Kirk to the bridge and says that she is the only one who can get her father to stop the attack.  When Admiral Marcus realizes his daughter is on board he beams her away.  Marcus says he’s going to destroy the Enterprise.

“If it’s any consolation, I was never going to spare your crew.” – Admiral Alexander Marcus

Kirk tries to save his crew by offering himself up.  Marcus refuses, but tells him that he was going to kill his crew anyway.  The vengeance is about to destroy the Enterprise when it loses power.  Scotty calls Kirk to tell him that he’s onboard the Vengeance and has temporarily disabled the ship.  The Enterprise has no power to beam him back.

“Bones what are you doing with that tribble?” – Captain James T. Kirk

Kirk puts Spock in command and goes to sick bay to try to talk Khan into helping him get aboard the ship to stop Marcus.  Between verbal jabs between Kirk and Khan, Kirk asks Bones what he is doing with a tribble that he is giving an injection.  Bones says the tribble is dead and he’s injecting Khan’s blood since it has regenerative capabilities.  Khan agrees to help Kirk, since if the Enterprise is destroyed, all his people will die too.

On the bridge, Spock calls New Vulcan.

Kirk and Khan eject themselves from an airlock and use thrusters on their flight suits to change their trajectory.  This is an amazing scene.  They have to avoid debris, which they don’t always do, and they are nearly killed.  Khan actually ends up saving Kirk’s life when his display is destroyed and he can’t navigate.  Scotty opens the hatch on the Vengeance just in time for them to make it inside.

“I am ashamed to be your daughter.” – Dr. Carol Marcus

Aboard the Vengeance, Kirk, Khan, and Scotty fight there way toward the bridge.  On the bridge, Carol slaps her father saying the above line.

“I thought he was helping us?” – Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott
“I’m pretty sure we’re helping him.” – Captain James T. Kirk

On route to the bridge Kirk tells Scotty to stun Khan when they reach the bridge.

“Khan Noonien Singh is the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise ever faced.” – Mr. Spock (Original)

On the Enterprise, new Spock speaks with original Spock.  While at first original Spock says that he vowed never to tell him anything that could alter his destiny, he warns him that Khan Noonien Singh is the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise ever faced and that they were only able to defeat him at great cost.  New Spock asks him how.

Here is one of my only problems with the movie (well two of them actually).  WE NEVER GET TO HEAR THIS CONVERSATION.  Did original Spock tell him everything that happened in The Wrath of Khan?  Did he only tell him that they used his own inexperience and arrogance to defeat him (by suckering him into the nebulae)?  I would tend to think the latter, but we just don’t know for sure.  This really bugs me.  The best I can figure, based on a later conversation between Kirk and Spock, is that he must have told them how Kirk stalled by telling Khan they would give him what he wanted, the Genesis materials, using what Khan wanted against him.  I just wish I knew what was said.

Another thing of note here.  New Spock has this conversation on the bridge with original Spock with everyone on the bridge hearing him.  In the first movie, everyone became aware that they were living in an alternate timeline caused by Nero coming back through time.  What I didn’t think was common knowledge was that his older self had come back through time.  I feel like the conversation should have been private between new Spock and original Spock.

In any case, it was really awesome to see Leonard Nimoy as Spock again.  I really hope this isn’t for the last time.

Kirk, Khan, and Scotty make it to the bridge of the Vengeance.  They stun everyone accept for Admiral Marcus (and his daughter, obviously) and then Scotty stuns Khan.  I am still unclear after seeing it three times if Khan is playing possum or was really knocked out.  I’ve got to believe it was the former, because of something later, but we’ll get to that.

On the Enterprise, Spock hatches a rather transparent plan when he orders all senior scientific and medical officers to the cargo bay.

Kirk tries to arrest Admiral Marcus, but Khan wakes up and incapacitates everyone before he kills Admiral Marcus right in front of his daughter.  I would hope that in the next movie she has some recurring issues after saying she was ashamed to be his daughter and then watching him die.  This is something that should affect her going forward, as presumably she will be in the next movie (unless they move past her relationship with Kirk before the next movie, but that would seem unlikely).

The next scene is so great, I just need to quote it all.

“I’m going to make this very simple for you.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“Captain!” – Commander Spock
“Your crew for my crew.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“You betrayed us.” – Commander Spock
“Oh you are smart, Mr. Spock.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“Spock, don’t…” – Captain James T. Kirk
“Mr. Spock, give me my crew.” – Khan Noonien Singh
What will you do when you get them?” – Commander Spock
“Continue the work we were doing before we were banished.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“Which as I understand it involves the mass-genocide of any being you find to be less than superior.” – Commander Spock
“Shall I destroy you, Mr. Spock?  Or will you give me what I want?” – Khan Noonien Singh
“We have no transporter capabilities.” – Commander Spock
“Fortunately mine are perfectly functioning. Drop your shields.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“If I do so I have no guarantee that you will not destroy the Enterprise.” – Commander Spock
“Well, let’s play this out logically then, Mr. Spock. Firstly, I will kill your captain to demonstrate my resolve, then, if yours holds I will have no choice but to kill you and your entire crew.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“If you destroy our ship, you will also destroy your own people.” – Commander Spock
“Your crew requires oxygen to survive, mine does not.  I will target your life support systems located behind the aft nacelle.  And after every single person aboard your ship suffocates I will walk over your cold corpses to recover my people.  Now, shall we begin?” – Khan Noonien Singh
“Lower shields.” – Commander Spock
“A wise choice, Mr. Spock.  I see all 72 torpedoes are still in their tubes.  If they’re not mine, Commander, I will know it.” – Khan Noonien Singh
“Vulcans do not lie. The torpedoes are yours.” – Commander Spock
“Thank you, Mr. Spock. – Khan Noonien Singh
“I have fulfilled your terms, now fulfill mine.” – Commander Spock
“Well Kirk, it seems apt to return you to your crew.  After all, no ship should go down without her captain.” – Khan Noonien Singh

Khan beams over the torpedoes and sends Kirk, Scotty, and Carol back to the Enterprise.

“Spock’s cold but he’s not that cold.” – Dr. Leonard McCoy

Khan attacks the Enterprise, but soon after the torpedoes explode on his ship.  McCoy tells Kirk that they got all the cryo tubes out of the torpedoes before they armed them.

Still, the damage to the Enterprise is done, the warp core is offline, and the ship gets caught in Earth’s gravity field and starts falling out of the sky in what is one of the greatest action scenes is Star Trek history

“With all due respect sir, we’re not going anywhere.” – Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu

Spock orders the bridge crew to abandon ship, but they refuse.  Scotty and Kirk head to Engineering, as the ship is tumbling with the gravity field down.  This makes for some of the most amazing affects shot’s I’ve ever seen.  One of the best moments is when Kirk and Scotty are crossing a bridge over an open area inside the ship and the ship rolls over.  Scotty can’t hold on and starts to fall, but Kirk grabs him.  Just as Kirk loses his grip, Chekov shows up and saves them.

Chekov goes to press a button, but I don’t have the exact reason in my notes, but it is to help restart the engines.  He does that, but Kirk and Scotty get to the warp core and find that the core is misaligned.  They would need to climb up inside the core to realign it, and they would need protective gear and a lot of time.

“The ship’s dead, sir!  She’s gone!” – Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott
“No, she’s not…” – Captain James T. Kirk

Kirk wants to go inside the core, but Scotty says it will kill him.  Kirk knocks Scotty out and goes inside the core.  He climbs up and starts kicking the misaligned lower portion of the core into position, and after a number of times, the core realigns and Kirk is thrown against a wall.

In one of the best external ship shots in the whole movie, the Enterprise free falls through cloud cover as the thrusters fire.  We hear sound that could be the ship smashing into the ground, but suddenly the beat to death Enterprise rises triumphantly out of the clouds.  This is sure to become one of Star Trek’s most iconic images.

“Engineering to bridge.” – Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott
“Mr. Scott.” – Commander Spock
“Mr. Spock you better get down here.  Better hurry.” – Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott

Spock races to engineering.  He arrives to find Kirk at the glass door to the warp core.  He wants to open it, but Scotty tells him the decontamination cycle is still running.  There is nothing they can do.  What comes next is Oscar worthy.

“How’s our ship.” – Captain James. T Kirk.
“Out of danger.  You saved the crew.” – Commander Spock
“You used what he wanted against him.  It was a nice move.” – Captain James. T Kirk
“It is what you would have done.” – Commander Spock
“And this is what you would have done.  It was only logical. – Captain James. T Kirk

Oh my god that was awesome!  J.J. Abrams and the writers, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof weaved one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, into a new story that maintained all the important original elements, turning them on their ear, while still respecting the original.

After Kirk gasps a bit, the conversation continues.

“I’m scared Spock.  Help me to not be.  How do you choose not to feel?” – Captain James. T Kirk.
“I do not know.  Right now I am failing.” – Commander Spock
“I want you to know why I couldn’t let you die, why I went back for you.” – Captain James. T Kirk.
“Because you are my friend.” – Commander Spock

After that exchange, Kirk and Spock put their hands up to the glass.  After several moments, Kirk’s hand falls away from the glass.  You might call Spock’s reaction a bit emotional, and another throwback to The Wrath of Khan.

“Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!” – Commander Spock

As Spock’s scream dies, we cut to the bridge of the Vengeance.  Khan sets a course for Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco.  The Vengeance careens towards San Francisco.  The secondary hull leveling Alcatraz.  The ship hits the water and keeps going.  When it hits land it slides through buildings, wiping out a pretty good size area.  I’m not certain how much of the area destroyed was actually Starfleet Headquarters and how much was just part of San Francisco.  Regardless, this was a spectacular scene.

It has to be said, that it was a bold move to have a starship crash into a city like that.  Especially one being flown by a terrorist.  I personally have no problem with it, but I can imagine some people taking issue with the 9/11 parallels.

Spock locates Khan, as he jumps from the wreckage of the ship to escape.  They can’t beam him up due to interference.  They can beam Spock down.

Spock heads to the transporter room.  This is a great little moment as he gets on the transporter pad and the sequence starts.  His phaser he’s holding up is set to stun, but before he finishes beaming out, it clicks over to kill.

I’m not a huge fan of the new phasers, they seem too flashy in silver, but giving us a visual showing us that it changes from stun to kill or vice versa can be a tremendous tension builder.

For no apparent reason accept that it looks really cool, Khan grabs a black overcoat off a chair and puts it on as he starts to run away.  I mean, unless he’s cold, but I would think that would have been genetically enhanced out of him.  Spock beams in and pursues.

In sick bay, Bones, Scotty, Marcus, and I don’t recall who else are standing around Kirk’s body.  Bones sees the dead tribble moving on the table and realizes that Khan’s blood can save Kirk.  Unfortunately he doesn’t have any blood left.  He orders one of the cryo tubes brought to him.  They need to preserve Kirk’s brain function until they can get the blood.

Back on Earth, Khan jumps on top of some kind of shuttle.  Spock manages to jump and grab on.  He pulls himself up and they begin an epic fight scene.  Spock of course loses his phaser during the fight.

Bones tells the bridge that they need Khans blood, but they can’t get through to Spock since he’s preoccupied trying to separate Khan’s head from his body.  He briefly mind melds with Khan.  Not really sure what this is for, or if it’s something that will be important in a future movie.  It is possible that this was a way of Khan learning that Spock’s savagery could be every bit as strong as his own, because Khan jumps off the shuttle landing on another, choosing to flee instead of fight.  Spock does the same, not giving him the choice.

On the bridge, Chekov says he can’t beam them up, but he can beam Uhura down.  This strikes me as far fetched.  If he can’t lock on to beam them up from a moving target, how can he lock onto a moving location to beam someone to?  It’s a minor thing that seemed very convenient, like that they couldn’t beam Khan up early due to interference from the crashed ship, but it’s a small thing.

Uhura beams down, surprises Khan and stuns him over and over, but he won’t go down.  This begs the question, how did Scotty stun him on the bridge of the Vengeance?  Was he playing possum?

Spock beats the shit out if Khan.  Uhura tells him they can save Kirk, so Spock doesn’t kill Khan, but he knocks him out.  We see Khan knocked out from his point of view, the screen going dark.  For just 5or so seconds with the screen dark we hear some muffled lines from both movies and Kirk is opening his eyes in a hospital with Bones looking down on him.

“Oh don’t be so melodramatic.  You were barely dead, it was the transfusion that really took its toll.  You were in a coma for two weeks. “– Dr. Leonard McCoy
“Transfusion?” – Captain James T. Kirk
“Your cells were heavily irradiated.  We had no choice.” – Dr. Leonard McCoy
“Khan?” – Captain James T. Kirk
“We synthesized a serum from his…super blood.  Tell me, are you feeling homicidal, power-mad, despotic?” – Dr. Leonard McCoy
“No more than usual.” – Captain James T. Kirk

Kirk gives a speech at the rechristening of the Enterprise six months later.  We see Khan and his crew frozen in storage, begging the question, will we see them again some day?  God I hope so.

We cut away from Kirk’s speech, and though he’s still talking, it’s no longer the speech, and he utters those immortal words.

“Space…the final frontier.  These are the voyages the starship Enterprise.  Her five year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.” – Captain James T. Kirk

Aboard the bridge of the Enterprise, they get ready to leave on their five year mission.

“Come on Bones its gonna be fun.” – Captain James T. Kirk
“Five yeas in space.  God help me.” – Dr. Leonard McCoy

We see that Carol Marcus has stayed on board, and the mission begins.

I can not possibly overstate how amazing this movie was.  Those few issues I had are so minor, that it almost feels like I’m nitpicking.  I can’t wait for the next one!

Thanks for reading!

About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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