J.J. Abrams' reboot of the Star Trek franchise four years ago is the most successful reboot since Christopher Nolan put Christian Bale in a bat suit.
"Star Trek: Into Darkness" is the essence of a summer popcorn movie.
It has familiar characters we're all fond of: who doesn't enjoy the company of Captain Kirk, Spock and the rest of the iconic crew?
There are lots of elaborate action sequences too. They're set on earth, on other planets, and out in space between warring spaceships. This action starts from the very opening minutes. Before the opening credits even roll, Spock finds himself trapped on a rock in the middle of a roiling volcano.
And it has a great villain too. The rising British star Benedict Cumberbatch plays the dynamic, if blandly named, John Harrison.
He's tougher than Kirk and smarter than Spock (and has a deeper voice than both of them put together,) so he makes for a formidable foe.
Finally, there are a lot of little acknowledgements (and a couple of big ones) to Star Trek's past that should bring a smile to longtime fans, without getting too much in the way of a first-timer's enjoyment.
All that being said, why didn't I like it anymore than I did? Well, in the end, although it has all the right ingredients, they don't all come together in a satisfactory whole. The screenplay packs so much into its 2 hours and 15 minutes that the movie feels more slapdash than organic. This seriously compromises the ending, or rather endings which seem to be just one thing after another, rather than one development building on another to reach a powerful and satisfying climax.
"Star Trek: Into Darkness" is entertaining all right, but underwhelming.