REVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto. Dir. J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abram's second foray into the Star Trek universe is arguably as successful as his first. As a non-Trekkie, the 2009 reboot of the nearly 50 year old franchise is one of my favorite movies, and the second entry is a fun-filled, fast-paced, action adventure on par with the first, if not quite exceeding it. All your favorite characters are back on the bridge, including Chris Pine as James T. Kirk and Zach Quinto as Mr. Spock, two examples of quite possibly the best recasting in cinematic history, having taken over for the inimitable Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. They make both characters entirely their own, exhibiting wonderful timing and easily reinvigorating one of pop culture's most famous bromances. The rest of the cast is in equally fine form, with Karl Urban and Simon Pegg shining in comic relief as Bones and Scotty, while Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho) and Checkhov (Anton Yelchin) return to make up the core crew of the Enterprise. Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock fame is the villain-who-shall-not-be-named here and has a great time displaying that wonderfully sinister baritone of his as he threatens and stalks our heroes through future Earth and space. The key to the enjoyment of these new Star Trek films is the interactions between the characters, the friendship among the crew, and the witty one-liners and conversations that persist throughout the breakneck action sequences and life threatening situations that Abrams bombards you with. You feel the weight of these friendships, which allows the movie to stick with you in ways that similar light-hearted fare, while enjoyable, often doesn't (Iron Man 3, anyone?) As J.J. Abrams goes off to helm the relaunch of another iconic sci-fi series, he leaves this one in good shape for whoever follows in his footsteps- let's hope we get to see this crew embarking on new adventures and exploring new worlds for lightyears to come.

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