This movie begins with Spock literally flaming.
I wasn't a huge fan of 2009's Star Trek reboot, as I'm sure I have mentioned once or twice on this blog [the subject actually hasn't come up -ed]. As a fun aside, count how many times during that film a character literally holds onto an edge by their fingertips after almost falling off. Here's a hint, it happens to James T. Kirk three times alone. I actually never saw it in regular theatres, catching it in the cheap cinemas which may not even exist anymore. This one I saw opening weekend in all of its 3-D glory. I should have written this right away and saved you all the horrors of actually watching it as well. Sorry about that.
The first thing to note about Star Trek Into Darkness is that there's a fine line between paying a loving homage and blatently ripping off. For example, Star Trek Nemesis thought it was paying loving homage to The Wrath of Khan but in reality had slid across that line into blatent ripoff. When I saw Nemesis on opening weekend, while Shinzon watched the Enterprise back off while unfurling his ship's superweapon I cried out in my best Ricardo Montalban "No...you can't get away...from hell's heart I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee". The audience exploded in laughter, realizing at that moment why they had felt this moment oddly familiar.
Star Trek Into Darkness doesn't just rip off Wrath of Khan, there are so many lines from that film in this one that I watched the credits at the end wondering if Nicolas Meyer received a writing credit for the screenplay. [he didn't, by the way. Nicolas, call Third Edge of the Sword World Headquarters for any assistance you may require on legal advice. -ed] I suppose the first spoiler we should drop here is that Khan himself is actually in the movie.
I had wondered about that one actually, about 6 minutes after watching Star Trek 2009 and finally coming to grips with the massive disgusting continuity destruction it enabled for this wacky high-energy rendition I wondered how, if at all, they would bring Khan into the franchise. Part of me idly wondered if they'd actually blow their Khan load (calm down, Zachary Quinto, I didn't mean that literally) on the second movie. I instantly discounted that silly possibility however as surely they wouldn't be so desperate for a strong villain so quickly. Yep, they were.
But I want to deal with the Khan bit a little later. Let's go back to FaggotSpock and his flaming volcano adventure. Basically this is supposed to be the wacky escapades of our lovable crew as they save a primitive culture from a volcano without violating the Prime Directive. In the big exciting conclusion, NCC-1701 rises up from beheath the waves and...no, I'm serious. That actually happened. Not only is this Enterprise apparently capable of atmospheric flight but also able to maneuver around underwater even though its made explicit by Scotty that this isn't something she was designed for. Did it have propellers or something? There was a pretty decent original Trek novel where the NCC-1701 visited a waterworld and they had to use a special shuttlecraft that had been designed for both atmospheric and submersible actions, and then when something bad happened to the shuttle and they were paralyzed you got the dramatic tension that's only possible with the assumption starships can't float. You don't even have to go back to the novels: remember All Tomorrow's Yesterdays? That original episode where the Enterprise ended up in 1969 Earth and had trouble getting out of the atmosphere?
In the end, Kirk sacrifices the Prime Directive to save FaggotSpock, who they gets all prissy at him for doing so. Apparently FaggotSpock had come to terms with his impending death (they did show him in the volcano getting very zen) and was totally willing to die to preserve the Prime Directive. FaggotSpock goes ahead and puts this in his report, which gets Kirk in a shitload of trouble since the Captain's Log sort of lied. Kirk gets smacked down to first officer under Pike, Robert April is still nowhere to be found, and FaggotSpock gets reassigned. Kirk apparently got too arrogant, didn't learn his lessons, etc. etc. etc. For those following along the scorecard at home, in Wrath of Khan this moment didn't occur until Khan opened fire at point-blank range with the Enterprise shields down and killed Scotty's nephew exposing his ignorance and forcing him to come to terms with his failings.
Then we switch to futuristic London where they still drive cars and 1 Edmonton Place isn't nearly so impressive alongside its other supertall buildings. The black guy from Doctor Who, looking almost exactly like the black guy from seaQuest (Ford, the second in command who was later in Day Break, not the sort of black guy from the second season when the DeLouise family took over and ruined the show) is crying as his daughter has some sort of terminal disease. A mysterious man who later turns out to be Khan apparently has a miracle cure that will save her life. In a teary-eyed scene we don't at first understand a weird cloudy chemical is put into her IV (I think its the same substance that Mystique put into Cerebro in the first X-Men movie to incapacitate Xavier) and she recovers. Next we see that black guy from Not seaQuest is in Starfleet, as he's wearing a Starfleet uniform and can I just complain about this too? You see, in the Original Series each starship had its own insignia: the 3-pointed star that was later the design of the NextGen communicator badges was the insignia for the NCC-1701, which after the legendary exploits of Kirk was made into the fleet-wide insignia sometime between the II-III-IV trilogy and Star Trek V. Yet in this movie, its already fleet-wide. Was Kirk (who just got demoted) really so legendary by this point? Anyways, a crying black guy from Doctor Who is still crying as he sends an email (I have coworkers who bring me to tears when I *read* their emails, but this is new to me) and then blows up the underground complex. Nearby, Khan smiles.
An emergency meeting of captains is called: Khan is going by some boring name like John Smith (though that may be Doctor Who's name) but apparently everybody knows who he is: black guy from Doctor Who fingered him as the villain in that email (seriously Quinto, calm down) and now a gung ho Admiral from the Deep South (in honour of the great Peter Weller I will avoid any bad jokes about Robocop or Buckaroo Bonzai, even though both movies photon torpedo the living shit of this one out of the water) is anxious to bring him to justice for the murder of Starfleet employees working in this records storage depository in one of the world's most expensive cities. It's not clear at this point if money has been eliminated in the Star Trek universe but you'd think this sort of facility is awfully expensive to maintain. They've been scanning for warp signatures so they know that Khan's still in the area, and they found security footage from the London attack showing him comandeering an atmospheric cutter at the scene. He's on Earth, and the resources of 8 starships are apparently of value beyond any other resource because those are the only people at this meeting. FaggotSpock's logic is failing to analyze the situation properly and Kirk keeps asking about the case Khan's carrying that nobody else seems too worked up about. Suddenly Kirk reminds them all that they're in San Fransisco and that along with giving FaggotSpock a way to get over the icky of touching Uhura the city also now contains 8 top-notch Starfleet captains as per emergency protocols. Was the attack on a mere records storage house perhaps to make this meeting take place so that....and in movie logic of course this thought literally occurs simultaneous with the attack from Khan, who's using the cutter's not-beam weapons and not-torpedoes to attack the facility. They call for emergency response teams to come around in their own cutters to take Khan down and apparently forget that they all have starships in orbit. I mean what is Scotty, who is presumably on the bridge of the Enterprise right now, doing? Even if he's not monitoring his captain it's not like Kirk didn't have a communicator. Pike did too by the way, but oh yeah Pike has totally died just after having a heart-to-heart talk with Kirk in a bar in a scene that only existed to setup his death so I didn't cover it. Kirk uses a very very big hose to bring Khan down (okay, Quinto, get the fuck out of this room you're getting annoying) but slowly enough for the cold angry stare between the two men as the cutter loses engine power and Khan disappears in a shimmering transporter effect.
Cut to another meeting room and now Angry Southern Admiral is really pissed, and gives Kirk the real story. This John Smith guy they've been talking about wasn't just some random Starfleet officer turned unexpectedly evil, he was a brilliant tactician and specialist who was working in Section 31, which is by the way what was underground in London rather than a mundane records storage system. It now makes even less sense to build this in London rather than Winnipeg, by the way. Also, this is typically when most people think its sort of cool that Section 31 got brought into this universe: Section 31 was the source of a few plotted episodes of Deep Space Nine as a shady dark side to Starfleet that used Odo to infect the founders with a horrible virus to bring them all down and wasn't afraid to kill Federation citizens as necessary to advance their goals. So was it kind of cool that Deep Space Nine got brought into this universe? No, not really: Section 31 also was featured in an episode of Enterprise, which means that yet again we are reminded that Enterprise continuity -- that horrible horrible show that Trek fans like to pretend doesn't exist -- is still 100% valid in this universe. Admiral Archer still had a stupid dog to banish Scotty with and Section 31 is around. Thanks for the kick to the face, JJ Abrams. Anyways, Admiral Marcus (the angry Southern guy) has been able to trace Khan's transport to a remote area of Kronos, the Klingon homeworld. He used Scotty's transwarp transporter from the first movie (2009, not 1979) to beam into this deserted area of the planet where the Klingons don't go at all for reasons we're never told that probably make no sense. They have either detected his lifesign or know that they will be able to detect his lifesign, and since he's the only possible person in this area that the Klingons never ever ever ever ever go to then some of the Section 31 technology he was working on can be used to kill him. The Enterprise is ordered to take a shitload of super-powerful long-range torpedoes which can be used to discretely blow up a giant section of the Klingon homeworld without being pinned on Starfleet, and fire them from the border of Klingon space where certainly they are in no danger of being noticed. Pace the Mitchell and Webb skit about Princess Diana, the Klingons are notoriously slapdash about their own borders. I mean they only send 47 ships to blow up Nero just one movie ago. A dozen movies and a lifetime ago they sent 3 cruisers to blow up a nebula that had wandered into their space without permission. They attacked a Voyager space probe with such ferocity that a piece of worn out old metal literally cried out in pain. They send two battleships to take out Captain Beverly Picard's medical ship, and three battleships to punish old Admiral Janeway for screwing them over on a business deal. These are tough hombres!
On the Enterprise, Kirk has to fire Scotty after he refuses to allow the torpoedoes on board. Apparently the drive system of these weapons is classified and Starfleet wants them on the ship with no questions asked. I don't see why Kirk doesn't just get Admiral Marcus to send Scotty exactly enough information to placate him and be done with this. Surely Section 31 had planned at some point to put these torpedoes on starships, non? This would be part of the basic setup, non? The various Trek series have shown us that on the whole Chief Engineers tend to be pretty picky about this sort of thing. Silly move, Section 31. Had you done this, well, I won't spoil it for the readers but you're totally the skip to the end crowd so you know what I'm talking about. Naughty naughty, Section 31.
We're also introduced to a sexy British blonde girl who's a weapons expert who's also interested in scanning the torpedoes and monitoring Scotty's reactions to them. She acts very suspiciously in front of both FaggotSpock and Kirk. She's hot, so guess which one of them doesn't want her on the ship and starts a secret investigation into her? Anyways the Enterprise warps to the border of Klingon space and oh shit they got sabotage and the engines aren't working. They're close to where they wanted to be so they get on with the mission and make Chekov, who at this point in the original series is striking out with girls under the shadow of Landru, pretend he's an engineer and fix the problem which nobody seems to think is sabotage even though its pretty obviously sabotage. FaggotSpock appeals to Kirk to not follow these orders, as they are more George W. Bush (pbuh) than Gene Roddenberry. At the last minute Kirk agrees, and decides to take a confiscated mining shuttle to Kronos with a strike team to capture Khan and bring him to justice. This mining shuttle was probably confiscated from Harry Mudd as I'm sure we'll learn in a deleted scene when this comes out on DVD. Not to completely piss on the orders of the extremely angry Admiral who gave Kirk his command back, Kirk orders Sulu to take the conn and use the long-range torpedoes as Plan B. Make Khan think Sulu's the captain and totally serious (like what happened with Chekov in Star Trek V) while Kirk's strike team gets to work. As Kirk flies to Kronos Sulu gets on the horn to Khan using his fake name and orders him to surrender to the incoming strike force.
As Kirk's shuttle reaches the Klingon homeworld, they begin searching for Khan in this deserted area of Kronos where the Klingons are guaranteed to never ever ever be because they never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever go there. Naturally, they get fired upon by a Klingon warship which Uhura says "must be a random patrol". I don't really mean to harp on this too much but the whole gag is that this is supposed to be a deserted area of the homeworld where the only lifesign detectable from 30 sectors away is the John Smith guy they're after. I mean if this premise doesn't hold up -- which it as of now doesn't -- this whole plot doesn't really make any sense. "We'll fire a shitload of torpedoes at this guy and kill him without angering the Klingons who may or may not have a random patrol in the area totally killed by these torpedoes." And you thought the Nero plot from the last movie was stupid. Okay, you were right, it was actually way more stupid than this one -- so far. Stay tuned.
Kirk is forced to land by this patrol, and rather than come out guns blazing and have about 6 dozen Klingons totally murder him and his people they send Uhura out to talk with them. She confronts the Klingons and says that they are after a murderous criminal who is hiding out in the ruins. There are ruins by the way. If there's a cultural significance to why Klingons outside of random patrols comprised of 5 warships never set foot in here that's never explained. It could be too dangerous to live because of radiation or some shit, but Health and Safety regulations don't really seem like the Klingon's oeuvre. While the Klingons have a little harmless choke-play with Uhura here (Sabretooth's with Storm in the first X-Men was way hotter, by the way), FaggotSpock and Kirk hold off on starting the firefight when the Klingon playing with Uhura gets shot in the head by Khan. Khan starts going all Jason Bourne with laserguns on the Klingons, basically slaughtering all of them single-handedly without getting hit himself. Oh, and also taking down some of Kirk's security team in the process. As he and Kirk fight one-on-one suddenly Khan asks how many long-range torpedoes Sulu has at his disposal (both Quinto and Takei are whining like hungry puppies outside on this one, by the way). When Kirk gives 71 or 73 or some number close to 70 but less than 80 as the answer, he apparently wins Star Trek Price is Right because Khan immediately surrenders to them. Kirk places him under arrest for the murders of the Starfleet personnel and then does the classic "and this is for Captain Pike" punchout move. He does it about 9 more times until he's exhausted by Khan's failure to fall down (or, indeed, flinch). At the time, we in the audience still don't know why.
Back on the Enterprise, McCoy takes some blood samples from this guy to see what makes him big and strong. Khan tells Kirk to open up a torpedo and get a big surprise. Oh, and my name is Khan, in a moment that's supposed to mean more to the audience than to the characters. This is a little something we call not entirely good movie making. Too much of this movie is inside baseball, and this isn't the first one of these to happen -- though it is the first of these for the audience to be aware of, if that makes sense. There was some insider stuff earlier too that will become clear later. FaggotSpock finds it interesting that both the blonde British chick and Khan want to see inside the torpedoes, and goes to confront her as Kirk is given weird coordinates by Khan.
Kirk calls Scotty long-distance at the pub (where else?) and cajoles him into going to check out the coordinates that Khan had suggested. Meanwhile FaggotSpock has looked into this pretty blonde lab technician and found that she lied about her name: she used her mother's maiden name for the purposes of gaining access to the ship, but her actual last name is the same as her father: Carol Marcus. Why this blonde Marcus has a very very very British accent, and her father has a very very very Southern accent, and why Bibi Beech God rest her soul didn't have either of these two accents is really never explained. And it should be, dammit! Anyways since it's time to start ripping off Nick Meyer movies, Bones and Marcus beam to a remote planet to perform surgery on a torpedo. It does almost blow up while eating McCoy's hand but Carole disables it in time. I'll call her Carole to distinguish her from her father who's still in this picture by the way and is about to become the bad guy. They get the torpedo open and discover a cryogenic tube inside. It's of course one of Khan's men. If I go back and rewatch Space Seed will the number of torpedoes plus one be the number of cryo tubes the Enterprise originally discovered*? Now we know why Khan wanted to surrender: his beloved fellow supermen were too important to be blowed up good. Admiral Marcus apparently did this as an insurance policy to ensure Khan's cooperation. Hey, did anybody notice how that totally didn't work and he blew up Section 31 anyways? Wouldn't this have been a good time for Kirk to fire the torpedoes for shits and giggles? They confront Khan again, and he kind of guesses that they've been sabotaged on the border of Klingon space in order to be killed and keep the mission secret. How does Khan know this? Well, he probably could have guessed a sizable part of it seeing how he's the smartest man on the ship at this point. I'm not entirely sure that in this universe FaggotSpock is even second place, but he decides to call the New Vulcan colony in what you're sure they aren't going to do but they totally are going to. If you're lucky enough not to have guessed this I'll be quiet for now and let you enjoy your blissful time. I'm jealous, you bastard. I'm going to love rubbing it in when you find out how horrible this schlock is.
* [by the way, in Space Seed there were 84 supermen put into the Botany Bay, but only 72 of them including Khan survived at the time they were found by the Enterprise. -ed]
Scotty by the way has found the coordinates are some weird construction facility going on around Jupiter. I was really really hoping for him to stumble upon a black obelisk but I guess that's just too much to ask. He follows some shuttles inside the massive hollowed out asteroid to find something impressive inside. It's totally the super-powerful dreadnought classed warship that Marcus and Section 31 have been developing in secret. Khan and Carole are helping Kirk fill in the blanks: Marcus wants a war with the Klingons, so he's build the dreadnought and the long-range torpedoes to achieve this goal: have Kirk fire the torpedoes at the Klingon homeworld, infuriate them into war (wait, so these weren't stealth untraceable torpedoes as promised earlier but fake stealth ones that just before they explode do some sort of Porky the Pig routine revealing the Federation just bombed your ass? Every time you sneeze the premise of this movie changed), and then use the dreadnought to kick their asses (like Nero did 3 years ago? Why didn't Marcus think to take more immediate action? And how long has it been between the 2009 movie and Into Darkness anyways?) Of course, the Federation would need to be pissed off at the Klingons too, so why not sabotage the Enterprise engines so she could carry out the mission and then be a target for the Klingon counterattack? Makes almost sense. Of course, Kirk went and captured Khan rather than the Predator Drone strike which seems to have ruined the plans. Now that Marcus knows that Khan is still alive and that he's been rappin' with James T. about Life, The Universe, and Everything the plans have gone from ruined to trashed. Hey, maybe sending that report to Starfleet wasn't such a bright idea.
The Dreadnought drops out of warp and threatens Kirk, who punches it into warp and thinks he's safe. Unfortunately, Marcus has been developing an Ultrawarp and can catch up! For those following along, the Star Trek Roleplaying Game named Ultrawarp as what the Enterprise-D is capable of reaching (the game assumed that "transwarp" was achieved with the Excelsior class while canon claims the transwarp experiments failed by the Excelsior was given standard warp drive and brought into service, which frankly makes slightly less sense). The phrase "ultrawarp" has never been used in anything canon -- and I guess it still hasn't, since we won't count this movie.
The approaching dreadnought immediately starts firing everything its got at the Enterprise (including phasers while at warp, just to piss me off), which gets blown up pretty damned good pretty damned fast. JJ Abrams sure doesn't want to show us a deflector field special effect does he? Come to think of it, I think the only movie to show us this was Generations, and it was a pretty cool looking effect. I have that still at home in poster form, as it happens. Carole phones her Daddy to let him know that she's still on the Enterprise. With his beloved daughter on the ship there's no way he'll destroy them. Did you know that transporters exist in the Star Trek universe? Apparently Carole forgot, this only bought a couple minutes since Carole was beamed over to the dreadnought bridge for a bit of daddy slapping.
With the Enterprise crippled and Admiral Marcus ready to deliver the kill strike, a mysterious power failure on-board the dreadnought saves the day. Scotty's on board Captain, and he's taken them down for about 10 minutes. After that though they'll reroute the systems around him and there won't be a second chance. Oh, and he could use a rescue as well. Kirk immediately springs into action, grabs Khan out of the brig and they suit up to do a high-speed EVA stunt to travel over to the opposing ship and take them down. Kirk and Khan do the cool adrenaline action bit where they fly over through a debris field to the other ship, save Scotty from the mean security guy who caught him, and start their move through the dreadnought. Kirk and Scotty lose Khan for a moment, and Kirk orders Scotty to stun Khan as soon as they've taken the bridge: he's smart enough to know that Khan's not participating in this stunt for fun. They do take the bridge, Scotty does stun Khan, but he's got one eye still open gripping his pillow tight: they forgot that he's a superman who can survive a hit like that. As Kirk and Marcus verbally spar over intergalactic politics and probably offend the folks over at The Onion, FaggotSpock gets a hold of New Vulcan. Are you ready for this shit? Yeah, he called up Leonard Nimoy. FaggotSpock and RealSpock have a chitchat. FaggotSpock asks for a cheat code on the Khan file, and RealSpock suddenly goes into the cliched bit of crap about "you know that I have vowed never to give you knowledge about what I know about the future....but for Khan I'll make an exception" and then goes into a brief bit about how the Enterprise was finally able to defeat him but at a great cost. Part of me wants to think that in one of the horrible Trek novels Shatner wrote the Borg were somehow able to revive Khan, but let's just hope this isn't true and maybe the universe will smile on us. This Khan, of course isn't a ball of molecules floating around the Mutara sector but laying on the opposing bridge pretending to be asleep. Admiral Marcus never thought to suggest a few extra stuns to make sure he's down? Marcus knew what Khan was capable of, not that it helped him. In an instant Khan is up, disables Kirk and Scotty and Carole, murders Carole's dad by skull-crushing him, and then beats Kirk up a bit more and gets on the horn to FaggotSpock. He wants his torpedo-encrusted crew returned to him. FaggotSpock totally complies, only the torpedoes get delivered to the cargo bay and explode seconds later, disabling the dreadnought and letting Kirk/Scotty/Carole get rescued back to the ship.
Oh, by the way, the Enterprise is now in near-earth orbit for reasons that again make no sense if you think about them. Not that not thinking about them helps them make sense, it just wouldn't be SERIOUS SHIT if Earth herself wasn't in peril. You know, like it was in The Wrath of Khan, the most boring and unpopular movie of the entire franchise. So the Enterprise is beaten and battered -- I think Khan launched an attack somewhere around his negotiations with FaggotSpock, I really can't be sure -- and falling into Earth's atmosphere. It's okay, they can survive planetary entry and...wait, now they can't? Like at all? Well I guess they are pretty beaten up. The problem is in the engine room: Kirk and Scotty get there to find that the giant aligning rods aren't aligning. They need to be aligned, but nobody can get into that room as its radiated to shit. Kirk punches out Scotty and goes in anyways, knowing that he's on a suicide mission. For those following along at home, this is Spock in the engine room putting the little crystals into the light machine emiting all the smoke in Wrath of Khan. Kirk has to do a lot of running and climbing up thinks that were made for running (the gravity is getting wonky), and finally kicks the aligning things until they align again, giving the Enterprise the power to climb out of the atmosphere. FaggotSpock phones down to give Scotty a big thank you kiss, but instead hears McCoy: "You'd better get down here. Better...hurry". I swear to God at this point during the movie the James Horner score started playing in my head. You know the scene: intercuts of the Genesis Planet forming while Kirk slides down staircases. Eventually FaggotSpock gets to the engine room, and gets told by Scotty that he can't open the door or he'll flood the whole compartment with radiation. "But he'll die." protesteth the faggot. "Sir, he's dead already." Yes, I wasn't kidding about earlier, Nicholas Meyer, call my editor and get to work on some legal action buddy. Your dialogue is extensively verbatem in this movie. FaggotSpock and Kirk get to chat a bit while looking on as the other dies. The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few, etc. etc. There's a decent bit of arc here: FaggotSpock couldn't understand or appreciate what Kirk did for him earlier in the movie and now he does, getting emotional and understanding the deep comraderie involved. In fact, FaggotSpock gets so emotional he cries out loudly to the sky.... "KKKKHHHHHHAAAAAANNNNNNNNN!!!!!"
And as the audience realizes they've been had (and Nick Meyer walks out of the theatre to go call a lawyer, we hope), the dreadnought goes sailing past the Enterprise: Khan's still alive, his ship still has power, and when he swings around he means to deprive you of your life. But the "you" here is San Fransisco which he smashes the dreadnought into at high speed, murdering a few more Starfleet officers and a disco band featuring a guy dressed as a Starfleet officer along with guys dressed as a cowboy and a fireman. FaggotSpock, in the best of Star Trek tradition, beams down to stop him. Could Khan really survive such a crash? FaggotSpock is aware that he's in a movie and uses this movie logic on Uhura to convince her he has to go down. Aren't we all glad we kicked Quinto out of the room at this point? FaggotSpock beams down, does the evil eye gaze at Khan, and Khan takes off. FaggotSpock, in what is the real Star Trek tradition, runs after him.
A brief foray on the subject of running. Star Trek was originally a thinly veiled jogging ad disguised as a science fiction television series. Some of the most classic original series episodes feature a shitload of running, most notably the classic "Shore Leave" where random Enteprise crewmembers would discover something amazing or suffer some sort of peril and cry out, to have Kirk and Spock and whoever is with them coming running after them. The running was featured in several other episodes as well, The Paradise Syndrome being another example coming to mind. In the later series, this sort of fell by the wayside. That TNG episode where Wesley Crusher was going to be executed for crashing a forbidden velvet rope featured a lot of running, but after that they really toned things down. It's sort of a shame really, and it was nice in this movie to see FaggotSpock doing a lot of classic Star Trek style running...though naturally in this movie he runs like a girl.
He does a bunch of Mario Bros style jumps and leaps and climbs to eventually get into the flying transport that Khan is in: it looks like these things are just flying around under their own power, like the garbage disposal droids in that one Firefly episode where Nathan Fillon runs around naked, and Khan is jumping between them to escape FaggotSpock. But it doesn't work, and the enraged half Vulcan is there punching Khan back and forth, both of them losing their phasers at some point. Things aren't going well for FaggotSpock, he's being told by Uhura they need to capture Khan alive. Why? Oh, sorry, I'll digress.
Remember: James T. Kirk is dead. He died in the intense radiation of the engine room. But also remember that this movie is totally ripping off The Wrath of Khan: in that movie, Spock was killed in the engine room of the Enterprise saving the ship from Khan's evil plan. Scotty was knocked out trying to stop him, he and Kirk had an emotional goodbye scene across some plexiglass where they talked about their friendship and how the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one, then Spock's coffin got fired into space. In the next movie, we learn that the coffin landed on the Genesis planet, David Marcus used protomatter in the Genesis experiments without consulting with his doctor (or his Mom, which in this case was the same shtick), and that as a result Spock's body was brought back to life...meanwhile his mind was alive and well in Doctor McCoy who had been mind-melded to remember Spock's katra, which they go back to Vulcan and resurrect with his body. Spock's Mom was played by a much less famous actress than Winona Ryder, whatevs. The key thing to remember her is that Spock was brought back to life from the Genesis Effect. They don't have a Genesis torpedo in this movie, so obviously this ending won't work. But they can't kill of James T. Kirk can they? No of course not.
Hey, remember earlier on in this review when I mentioned that McCoy took Khan's blood sample, in the hope of figuring out what made him into a superman? Well, I hadn't mentioned it at the time, but he put the platelets from that blood into a dead tribble. I didn't mention it because the moment I saw it I realized that somebody would die later on and it would be used to save them. Then Kirk "died". So Khan's blood is going to save Kirk. As FaggotSpock is running after Khan, McCoy sits dejected in sickbay over Kirk's death...as the tribble comes back to life. He throws Kirk into one of the statis units from Khan's 71 or 73 dead friends (killing somebody in the process, I assume. Joaquin, probably) and tells Uhura that they need Khan captured alive to drain his blood and save Kirk. So now we come back to where we were before, FaggotSpock having to capture Khan rather than kill him.
Problem is, Khan's a genetically enhanced superman with years of combat training honed in the 1990s Eugenics Wars (another topic that this movie, along with the horrible 1996 time travel episode of Voyager that introduced The Doctor's mobile emitter, sort of skimmed over), and this gives him the edge in a fight against FaggotSpock's fight techniques which involves a lot of limp wristed slaps and tickle fights. So Khan is totally beating his ass, and not in the way that Cumberbatch and Quinto did in the trailers after these scene was finished. In comes Uhura to save the day. She helps fight Khan, and she brought a phaser which along with a Vulcan nerve pinch weakened Khan to the point where he's down on the ground, and FaggotSpock keeps punching him in the face over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Uhura screams that FaggotSpock can't give into his human urge for revenge, and they need Khan alive to save Kirk's life.
The next thing we see of course is Kirk waking up in bed, sort of shocked and confused. Everything gets glossed over a bit, the Enterprise is fixed and refitted and on Kirk's request is about to do something Starfleet has never considered before: a 5 year mission in space. Remembering at the last minute the dreams of Gene Roddenberry, Kirk gives a speech where he talks about the need to rise above desires of revenge and hatred, as the camera pans to show Khan is still alive and in statis with his bretheren (probably in a Section 31 storage area along with the transwarp transporter and the disease to infect the Founders and the Ark of the Covenant), and Kirk's noble speech calling on the Federation and Starfleet to aim for a higher calling. One almost suspects this is a bit of an apology/corner turning moment. After all, as Redlettermedia's Harry Plinkett has pointed out, this is the third Trek movie in a row (Nemesis, 2009, Into Darkness) to center around anger and hatred and revenge, promising a 'darker' movie than we're used to. And in each case, it's sort of been a bit of a kick to the face. In fact this ending reminds me a bit about Skyfall. That movie marked a bit of an apology to long-time fans of the James Bond series, admitting that the "edgy gritty Bond" of Quantum of Solace was an unmittigated disaster: it worked sort of in Casino Royale same as how the 2009 Star Trek sort of worked, but it ultimately felt empty and without heart. Skyfall ended with Bond going back to the heart of the franchise: tossing his hat on the stand, sexual banter with Moneypenny, and getting a stern word from the man in charge of it all known as M. This movie goes back to the heart and soul of the original series, a five year mission exploring the galaxy and expanding the highly desirable human spirit across the stars. Whoops, sorry about all the bitter angry and gritty revenge plots that make no sense and make you feel like the human race is doomed as your walk out of the theatre, folks! And then, since Star Trek II ended with a voiceover giving the preamble from the original series, and this movie can't help but rip Nick Meyer off, it ends with the Enterprise flying into the unknown as Chris Pine recites the famous narrative:
Hallowed by Thy Name
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done
On Earth, as it is in Heaven
Give us each day, our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from Evil
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory
For ever and ever
Scoff if you must, but at least God isn't still working in Hollywood writing screenplays and hopefully benefiting from royalties. Pretty sure if you've put pen to paper professionally for the Star Trek series over the past half century you'll have had part of your work stolen and put into this movie.
2009's Star Trek was a high speed action adventure with a pretty weak plot that made no sense and spit continuity-wise on everything that had made the Star Trek serii and movies great. But it got butts in seats and that's what counts. Into Darkness isn't as much adventure, the plot's even weaker (and mostly stuff you remember from earlier movies), and spit on some more continuity. In the end it wasn't even as popular, attracting a little bit more backlash from the community at large. That, beyond all else, gives hope that the third JJ Abrams reboot movie will be a little bit better than the first two, and that he won't ruin Star Wars VII. It sure is looking less likely like that film is going to be the kickass success everybody's talking about though, isn't it?
JJ Abram's gritty reboot of The Black Hole should be awesome though. You knew those droids just urged to drop F-bombs didn't you?