Star Trek Into Darkness came, saw and conquered. However, despite earning a galaxy of rave reviews from fans and critics alike, and even though it beamed up a whopping $467 million at the worldwide box office, the latest big-screen Trek adventure polarized the fan base.
Many fans loved the film. They considered it a fast-paced action movie that built upon the camaraderie of the characters as established in Star Trek (2009). For them, it had plenty of political intrigue, and timely intrigue at that. Supporters also appreciated the performances, particularly those of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller and Eve, and the surprise appearance of Leonard Nimoy elicited cheers. The aliens (and their primitive/exotic world) in the opening sequence were visually spectacular, as were the visual FX throughout the film. The U.S.S. Vengeance was an awesome sight to behold. And composer Michael Giacchino nailed the score, many moviegoers felt, complementing the action and the pathos perfectly.
Other fans, meanwhile, disliked the film’s title and/or didn’t appreciate the intense secrecy surrounding the project, particularly as it pertained to John Harrison… or Khan. Upon seeing it, there were fans who didn’t care for a storyline that paralleled the events of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, insisting that this new incarnation A) should have forged a new path and/or B) that it hadn’t earned the right for Spock to scream “Khaaaaaaan!” following Kirk’s demise. And there were complaints about the lens flares, Keenser, the Alice Eve underwear scene, the new-look Klingons, the Enterprise-rising-out-of-the-water sequence, and so on.
Whatever anyone's feelings about the film, several things are certain: Millions of people worldwide trekked to theaters to experience it and a large portion of them saw it more than once. J.J. Abrams and his team have clearly reinvigorated the franchise. Many longtime Trek fans embraced it and, just as importantly – quite possibly more importantly, in fact – younger moviegoers have been exposed to Star Trek as a result and are dipping back into the past to check out The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, as well as the TOS and TNG features.
Now we look to the future and look forward to seeing what writers Roberto Orci, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay -- and the next film's director to be named -- have in store for Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew. Will they boldly go where no one (and no film) has gone before?