Everybody on the roller-coaster, put your hands up! That's a direct order from Commander Fun! There are jerks out there that probably went to undergrad at UCLA that are being quoted in ads for Star Trek Into Darkness for using words like, "whiz-bang!" or "fun!" or "adventure!" or "rip-snorting!" in their film reviews. We would be so blessed to have rip-snorting added into any sentence, especially one about Star Trek Into Darkness.
The movie isn't bad. It is entertaining, but if it were rip-snorting, that would actually mean there was a possibility of people getting dirty or facing some consequence. This movie, this $99.99 add-on protective casing for your iPad that your dad got you, believes that it has form, function, and maybe even some brains under that fantastic dye-job.
The trouble is that Star Trek Into Darkness is trying to serve wine to young people when it should just serve cheese to people that like cheese. Lots of people like cheese! It's on almost every kind of sandwich imaginable. It's awesome. If I had to give up cheese or chocolate for the rest of my life, I'd give up chocolate. While trying to serve that many tastes, Star Trek Into Darkness' helmsmen had to sacrifice logic in the name of, well, creating a living homage to The Wrath of Khan. That's when the plot holes start cracking open.
:: MASSIVE STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS SPOILERS ::
Why was the Enterprise under water and not in space?
Likely because of the magnetic (?) interference the volcano was giving off. The volcano was identified was a world-killer, and could have been messing with the beaming, so they had to park her nearby. Just like in Lost, Damon Lindelof doesn't know how magnets work, and assumes nobody else does, so he leans pretty hard on that miracle.
Is Damon Lindelof a hack?
Yes. He wrote or co-wrote Lost, Cowboys & Aliens, Prometheus (our review), and now Star Trek Into Darkness. What are your feelings towards these movies and shows? They all kinda have neat concepts ultimately marred by an inescapable blubber of bullshit. I wouldn't trust this guy to push a fucking broom.
Why didn't they beam Spock straight out of the volcano?
Checkov mentions that they needed line of sight in this case, again, because of the funky, convenient interference. They also violate the Prime Directive.
Back on earth, why does Kirk have a three-way with cat-people?
Because he probably grew up watching Avatar when he was young. Hey, that's a pretty good joke right there!
After blowing up the captain's meeting, why does Khan beam to Kronos?
Okay, here's where the movie really starts to drag its ass across the carpet. At this point, we have to assume that Khan, nee John Harrison, formerly kept on a pretty tight leash by admiral-Robocop to access his beg, sexy, savage, British brain, is gaming the system. Khan got everybody important into a room so he could frag them, then he bolted to the other side of the galaxy. Why? Besides the obvious, why Kronos? One would assume he was taking refuge from admiral-Robocop's pursuit, assuming he knew admiral-Robocop was hellbent on war with the Klingons, but not quite ready to execute the pre-emptive strike. If so, did Khan assume that he would be safe? Or did he assume that whomever was sent in his pursuit would be armed with the torpedoes with his frozen people in them?
Did he WANT that? Did he not know where his people were? Was Khan hoping that admiral-Robocop would show his hand and try to leverage him, and then he'd get his cryo-sleeping crew back? Why didn't admiral-Robocop go do the job himself if the situation was this mysterious and volatile? What the heck, man?
So either way, it was stupid for Khan to go to Kronos?
Yes. He should have either known flight to Kronos was feeble because:
a) Admiral-Robocop would have nuked him off the surface, hoping for any excuse to start the war (that Khan knew he wanted)
b) He would have nuked him off the surface using the people-torpedoes, killing two birds with one stone
c) The possibility that somebody would actually attempt to arrest him was slim
Wasn't Khan kinda surprised that Kirk had the 72 torpedoes?
Yes! Immediately, he threw down arms, thus proving that as smart as Khan was, he had begun improvising at that point. Kirk was out for vengeance, Khan saw him during his attack on the conference room, and Khan could never have anticipated Kirk's change of heart from frothing blood-vengeance and attempt a live-arrest.
Right? Man this is stupid.
Are space coordinates in Star Trek just like street addresses?
Basically. Scotty got the location of the un-findable Murder-Class Ultraship from Kirk (and from Khan), and then sorta drove to Jupiter like he was going to that warehouse a few blocks past the Pinkberry. It houses Halliburton HQ and its security is all automated, so it's very easy for Simon Pegg to walk in the front door of Frankenstein's space-castle.
What about Dark-Enterprise Khan helped admiral-Robocop build?
This actually made sense to me. Somebody mentioned at some point that since the destruction of Vulcan, the galaxy had fallen into a less-enlightened, more militarized space. As odd as it was that admiral-Robocop had to unthaw Khan to "help me learn about brutality and violence, we don't have that in our time!" was fucking dumb, it sort of worked that his character was very un-Star Trek and very keen on war with the Klingons. But still, dude, you couldn't think to build a bigger version of the Enterprise, with a different paint-job, and big guns? He needed Unfrozen Caveman-Cummerbatch to come up with that one?
It's the future. You're enlightened, not a hippie-poet.
Wait, the more-militarized, alternate-timeline thing was neat though!
Indeed, in a lot of ways. The fact that these two reboot Star Trek movies are more action-heavy makes canonical sense. Without Vulcan, the universe is decidedly different. Instead of sending the Enterprise on its five-year voyage to explore strange new worlds, we have a more edgy, terrorized Federation Starfleet. They want bigger guns instead of peace-keeping because the Vulcans are so few to influence the galactic stage with their learnedness. This is a very cool meta-narrative to explain how the new movies get to have more heck-yeah action!
Why was Carol Marcus in this movie?
There is zero reason for her to exist. She got half-naked, almost killed Bones with the bomb, failed to stop admiral-Robocop from firing on the Enterprise with her daughterly plea, and then broke her leg. Nice, uh, bob-cut though.
So it's a redo of Wrath of Khan? That's not allowed!
It's allowed. They didn't succeed, though. It's fan-fic, alt-timeline Wrath of Khan. There's some bullshit predestination speech that Spock Prime makes in Star Trek (2009 (aka Star Trek Babies)) to explain why, despite the differences caused by Nero's interference with the timeline, the universe is trying to right itself and make sure things happen the way they're SUPPOSED to, meddling humans / Romulans and their time-travel be damned. That's why, of all people, Scotty just so happened to be on that ice planet Kirk crashes on in the other movie. It's not coincidence, it's the hand of god.
The same logic could be applied to why Into Darkness, this half-boot Wrath of Khan, can have a role-switch on the reactor-fixing bit. The universe is getting close to fixing itself—but not quite all the way. Seems god's hands are powerful, but inaccurate.
(I wonder what it was like for somebody that hasn't seen Wrath of Khan to see Into Darkness? If you're one of those lucky few, let me know your reaction to Spock screaming after Kirk died. You laughed, right? Everybody around me laughed.)
Kirk was brought back to life! That's a big goddamn deal.
It is. Khan's blood can reverse death. Not sickness, not boo-boos—full-on death. And Bones even says it wasn't technically Khan's blood, it was a SYNTHESIZED version of Khan's blood that he injected into Dead Kirk to save him. So Starfleet effectively has a fountain of youth sitting in the freezer, now that they have all 73 eugenic-freaks napping? Yeah, exactly. Have fun explaining that one away in the next movie. Billions of immortal, sex-crazed tribbles.
The next movie could be good!
It could. Having hopefully shed the need to be Star Trek Babies, the gang can go out into the cosmos and do some cool shit. I'm not kidding, they should take a stab at the Final Frontier story. Sure, Star Trek V was a Shatner-induced stomach-ulcer, but it's a neat concept about finding God at the center of the universe. Go high-intellectual. Put Matt Reeves on directing duties. He's JJ Abram's acolyte, except he doesn't have a Spielberg-complex. There are enough potential sci-fi action blasterpieces out there (Elysium? Pacific Rim? Riddick?), so why not let Star Trek be Star Trek, and be high-minded and cerebral?
Man, it would have been cool if Kirk had stayed dead, for really-reals. Then again, Star Trek Three: The Search 'Fer Kirk would be A Movie Nobody Wants. For fuck's sake, they killed Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean 2, and that third one sure wasn't great. Maybe the lesson was learned.
We wept for Leonard Nimoy. Nobody will weep for Chris Pine.