While summer 2013 has been perhaps less of a stellar year there was at least one film which managed to entertain me and provide some visual thrills and spills along the way and just like back in 2009, J.J. Abrams has delivered the Summer's best piece of entertainment. Funnily enough, back in 2009 the film in question was this film's predecessor 'Star Trek'.
Taking it's cue from the events of the first film, the sequel plunges Starfleet into turmoil when Earth is attacked by someone who appears to have been one of their own best officers, sending Kirk and Spock out on a mission to track the man responsible down. Except, Kirk and Spock are still struggling to reconcile their different ways of commanding and find that even greater conflict may yet come between them. And just who is John Harrison, the seeming mastermind behind events?
The film isn't perfect but I would say the first 70 odd minutes are actually better than the 2009 film, with an intriguing plot developing, examination of the nature of Starfleet and the Federation and struggle between morality and instinct. Where it does take a turn is in the revelation of who is actually whom - a revelation that feels like it was made to make fans go 'woah' but which doesn't fully pay off. The film also then does become more of an actioner as the extended finale plays out before a finale that openly winks at a previous film, but which manages to make it work thanks to a new thematic interpretation for the relationship between Kirk and Spock.
The visual effects are top notch and from a fan's POV sights and sounds of a future Earth are beautifully rendered and realised through locations and CGI. The performances are all solid and most of the cast have quickly settled into their parts and get a little to do along the way. Benedict Cumberbatch is a smooth and seductively voiced villain who plays not only with the characters but the viewer as well and the final moments of the film finally promise some (overdue) deep space adventure.
I'm already ready for the next one in the new series!