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As I sit down to write this review, I have no idea what score I will ultimately give Star Trek into Darkness. Should I go with my brain or should I listen to my gut? How can I reconcile the two?

My brain is pointing out that the film does almost nothing with character development. My brain is noting that the film feels like an exercise in seeing how much stimulus the filmmakers can throw at the audience. The pacing is so frenetic that it prevents the audience from experiencing any feelings of gravity; it prevents any registering of emotional relevance for the characters, as well as the viewers. The writing is clever but not intelligent, and the ending is bizarrely anti-climactic.

My gut, on the other hand, just keeps repeating, “yeah… but it was fun!” Star Trek into Darkness is a humorous, enjoyable visual spectacular of a film. It’s engaging and exciting and just plain entertaining. In particular, Benedict Cumberbatch is overacting his little heart out and it’s simply delightful.

I should probably mention that, like so many others, I have been and always shall be a fan of Star Trek. My mother, on multiple occasions, has informed me of my childhood proclivity for acting out scenes from the original series during bath-time. Many of my fellow fans, for reasons I won’t explain, have been calling JJ Abrams’ second foray into Trekdom, “heretical,” “sacrilegious” and/or other terms which suggest Into Darkness has befouled something holy. While I, personally, do not feel this way, I understand where this upset is coming from. So if you’re a fan who has yet to see Into Darkness, be forewarned. It is not reverential; it is referential with a wink and a nudge.

But, let’s get back to my main conflict. What score do you give a film which under-delivers on character and story, but over-delivers on fun? In many ways, Into Darkness is a lot like the popcorn you probably ate while you watched it: satisfying for the taste buds, but it leaves you feeling undernourished. Ultimately, if you go in expecting the intelligence and poeticism of Wrath of Khan you will be disappointed. But, if you prepare yourself for a cheap thrill akin to a theme park ride, you’ll have a great time. B


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