This week Star Trek Into Darkness finally opened up in the USA, almost a week after some countries, so finally i got to talk about it with my American friends.
Which raised a few things to me, the film in America was dedicated the those that died in 9/11 which i thought was a wonderful thing to do. It is always important to remember those that have died in acts of terrorism. Because in some respects the villain of this film is a terrorist.
In an opening act of the film, although not the first act, a bomb is detonated in London Which gives Khan the means to steal something from what we late learn is section 31. London is all to familiar with terrorism and American directors seem to like blowing us up. Not sure why i guess we are a recognizable commodity so from a film stand point it can make sense, That said i think Noel Clarke was brilliant in this.He conveyed all the emotion clearly on his face and the motivation for doing what he did was raw. It also gives you an early insight into what Khan is prepared to do, he will save one girl while killing hundreds more to get what he wants.
But there is another twist to this plot it harkens back to the opening of the movie, Kirk risks everything to save Spock, his friend. Because as we know when you spend time on a starship you form close bonds with your ship mates, they essentially become your family. To Kirk, Spock is his friend and a member of his ship family, the man who detonated the bomb did it to save his family. In the opening of the film you see two different views on family and two different men doing what they “feel” they have to do to save a member of said family.
Into Darkness is not just a film about revenge its about terrorism, its about people with knowledge and power exploiting that power to get what they want, but it is also about family.
This is evidenced in the scenes with Kirk and Pike. Kirk is stripped of command by Pike, who then goes into bat for him with Admiral Marcus and gets him back as his number one. This is a quintessential part of the relationship between the two, to put it succinctly the father figure looked out for his son. Alas we never get to see more of this as Pike is killed by Khan, the scene where Kirk is crying at the death of both his mentor and his father figure is indeed heart breaking, it is made even more so by the look on Spocks face as he is clearly trying to fathom the emotions in play here.
But other emotions soon come to fore as Kirk wants Vengeance, the second theme running through this film, this is granted by Marcus who is basically Admiral Cartwright. This is a man who wants a war with the Klingons something that he sees as inevitable and has built the ship to win that war, aptly named Vengeance.
This ship has been built with one thing in mind to destroy everything in its path, Marcus is prepared to go to great lengths to get his war even taking the ship to confront the Enterprise when he knows Khan is on board. he is only stopped form doing so by Scotty.
But this does indeed give us a great scene of Kirk and Spock jet packing through space to take over the ship, followed by Marcus getting his head crushed in a scene akin to the one in “Blade Runner” with all the gruesome crunching noises to boot.
Khan and his inevitable double cross, showing kirk has once again has been used and he even tells him this.Kirk apologies to his crew because to him he has let his family down and now quite possibly got them all killed. This is an insightful moment all through this film Kirk has been learning and growing, deferring to Spock on not launching the torpedo’s, taking Khan alive so he can stand trial. Dealing with the loss of Pike and finally realsing that he has been out thought and out maneuvered his luck finally running out. But being the lucky son of a gun that he is Spock has an ace to play and disables Khan and his ship. This is a great scene and Khan cannot believe that he was out witted.
The relationship between Kirk and Spock in this film has been a central core, Spock struggling to understand certain emotions while also struggling to understand Kirk and his friendship. The Ship stand off however is not the only scene that is right out the original Wrath of Khan oh no.
We are treated to a role reversal in a scene i found jarring, Kirk makes the ultimate sacrifice, he gives his life to save the crew and the ship. He does in this film what Spock did in the first one and repairs the reactor at the cost of his own life.
We even have Scotty doing the exact same line, “you better get down here”. But this serves another purpose it is in this moment Spock realises how close he is to Kirk and we get the “KKKHHHAAANNN!” which is no where near as good as Kirks was, but Zachery did it well.
This is a powerful moment for Spock he has lost his friend he realises that the man behind the door is indeed important to him, someone who put everything on the line for him and is now dead because he wanted to save his ship his friends, his family. The touching moment where they connect hands again taken from “The Wrath of Khan”, is very well done.
His emotions in turmoil he seeks out Khan intent only on revenge, so again yet another character ventures down this path. The Spock that JJ has created is far more emotional and lass controlled than Spock prime, this one right now wants nothing more than Khan dead!
The following fight scene is fast, furious and intense. Spock was the perfect choice for this scene. We know Khan is stronger than Kirk, but we also know Vulcans are stronger than humans, so an enraged Vulcan is going to be a match for Khan.
Spock has completely lost it here, his is literally trying to kill Khan it’s only the intervention of Uhura that stops this happening. Something she must prevent because they need Khans “Wolverine” blood to save Kirk who is now on ice.
The fact that the movie wraps with Kirk being saved by Khans blood is ironic, the man who wanted to kill him, inadvertently saving him all thanks to a Tribble.
In this film Kirk grows both as a captain, as a person and a friend. Along side we see Spock go through his own transition growing as an individual, learning the value of friendship and family while also getting a better knowledge of grief and the emotions, ultimately an insight into the human condition.
The action scenes aside, the blatant rip offs from Wrath of Khan aside, this film is a Trek story. Humanity,family,friendship,terrorism. All these are dealt with in this film. The critics may have nit picked certain things, as have I in my latest podcast but I do like this film overall.
Would I recommended it yes, would I have changed some things yes. Will I buy the Blu ray, without a shadow of a doubt.