That man, Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch, TV’s Sherlock), goes into hiding in the one spot in the galaxy too dangerous for Kirk and company to follow him to: a Klingon planet. However, never underestimate the idealistic hothead that is Kirk, especially when he’s on a mission of vengeance. For him, rallying buy-in among his crew is a cinch.
The British Cumberbatch makes for a far stronger and more memorable villain than Eric Bana did in the previous outing, thereby doing a better job of mitigating Quinto’s comparatively bland Leonard Nimoy impression and Pine’s tendency to chew lines until they’re properly overenunciated. Khan’s buttoned-up exterior and brilliant mind make him scarier than any alien-looking creature — although Abrams makes sure our heroes encounter those, too.
Again, Abrams really excels at the set pieces, and here they’re bathed in even more vibrant primary colors that look beautiful on Paramount’s Blu-ray. Another good addition to the cast is Alice Eve (Men in Black III), whose underwear scene is as gratuitous as the sequel’s Tribble cameo. Even with Eve aboard, some of the secondary Enterprise members get considerably more to do this time around, notably Karl Urban (Dredd), Zoe Saldana (Colombiana) and Simon Pegg (The World’s End).
On the other hand, geez, is the movie too long! I’ve grown tired of seeing action blockbusters penetrate the two-hour mark, particularly when nothing about the story requires it. Sorry, fanboys, but not even Abrams and Star Trek Into Darkness are above trimming; just count the number of times a character is told something is impossible, only to achieve the impossible — lather, rinse, repeat. Pacing lags like those keep this one from truly approaching its big brother’s warp speed. —Rod Lott