Star Trek Into Darkness
As of this review, Star Trek Into Darkness has been out for a week and a half. Rather than writing a head-first review of the film I think that I should write a reactionary response about the many other reviews I’ve seen online and tell you what I feel that this movie is truly about. Because whether you want to believe it or not, Star Trek Into Darkness is a love story. I’ll get to that in a minute, bear with me. WARNING: There are spoilers in the following.
As long as I can remember, I have been a Trekkie. It started with me watching every series with my father growing up. To the disenfranchised, Star Trek is some nerd fantasy of flying through space on an oddly shaped starship working with aliens and blowing things up. But when Gene Roddenberry wrote the stories that he shared with us on TV and in film, it was more than that. You see, Gene Roddenberry had this vision that in the future after a terrible war that wiped out most of humanity, man put aside his petty differences with one another and strived for a better future. He understood the human race as a Nomadic people that cannot be contained by one land and that we must explore to better understand our existence. It was here that I among the numerous other fans learned is the true reason for Star Trek. To better ourselves is to better the human race.
With the numerous crews and ships over the years, whether it was Picard vs. Kirk, The Enterprise E against the Enterprise D, there is no undeniable fact that the crew as a whole, with the most family-like strength was that of the original crew. Within that crew, no two members had more kindredness than that of Kirk and Spock. From two different worlds they learned from each other to become better people and that is a lesson we can still learn from today. As J.J. Abrams set out to share Star Trek with a new generation and creating an alternate timeline to preserve what so many have given us in the past, I wondered how the crew would act as a team not coming from the same history.
In 2009, Star Trek assembled the TOS crew, but not as a whole. It wasn’t until four years later that they were finally working together as that of what we found so comforting in the main timeline. Alt-universe James T. Kirk came from a background of criminal mischief and lawlessness without his father’s guiding hand. Spock, when the demolition of his home world was thrown into a world of chaos and destruction. Into Darkness showed that Spock learned the value of friendship and what it meant to be more human, with all of its flaws and emotions that Vulcans purged themselves from. He unfortunately learned feelings in Into Darkness, such as anger and fear, with the death of Jim in the warp core (I’ll get more into this twist of fate soon.) With that, Jim learned humility, finally understanding that, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. To sacrifice yourself to greater the human race is the ultimate lesson.
Not only after the end of this film do Spock and Kirk share brotherly love and respect for one another, Kirk also learns the humility and responsibility of what’s personified as “The Chair”, which Admiral Pike so quickly took from him after violating the Prime Directive early on in the story. Because after fully understanding what Star Trek means, a captain has to respect and love his Captain’s chair, before you can respect and love the rest of its crew.
As for the rest of this film, I think it’s bloody fantastic. There are ramblings of, “Why Khan?” to “This is a complete rip off of Wrath of Khan and the Search for Spock”, etc. You forget that these characters all still exist even if the timeline was skewed. Khan and his people were still tossed into space after the 20th century on the Botany Bay, it was only a matter of time when he showed up. Benedict Cumberbatch emulated the way Ricardo Montalban chilled us to the core in Wrath of Khan. The play on Admiral Marcus being the true enemy and using Khan to his own advantages of self-preservation of the human race was quite ingenious. After Star Trek, the Federation was shown that they have enemies far superior than them out there to wipe life from existence.
Now, the character twist of Kirk entering the warp core to save the ship may have seemed a blatant rip-off from Wrath of Khan, but it proved necessary for the aforementioned lessons of humility. When teary-eyed Spock screamed “Khan” as William Shatner did all those years ago, you truly understood that Spock had tapped into his human side. It was maybe one of the greatest ways that Abrams and Co. could have paid homage to the past while moving forward.
As we move on to the yet-to-be-announced Star Trek III, The Search for Kirk (Just kidding. But I WILL copyright that If I have to, Abrams), I’m excited as all get-out. We have the five-year mission that will lead into the inevitable war with the Klingons with a crew that is of what we remember them to be. No matter how it plays out we have the sense that the buildup of the storyline is to its climax and the third act is going to be magnificent.
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