I'm not a Star Trek fan, generally. I never watched the original series in re-runs, I did watch several of the movies that resulted but I don't really remember them, and I only occasionally watched The Next Generation and none of its spinoffs over the past decade. But I did enjoy the JJ Abrams reboot in 2009 and I was looking forward to the sequel that came out this weekend (and disappointed at the box office). And it did not disappoint me. A really strong action movie with strong characterization, some callbacks to the best of the original Star Trek films, and one of the great bad guys in film. This is likely to be JJ's last Trek film as he will move on to take over the Star Wars franchise, a franchise I certainly was more invested in as a child than Trek. But he has left the films in really good shape.
Into Darkness starts off with a seemingly one-off sequence on a primitive red planet where Spock risks his life to save their civilization from a volcanic eruption. But there are consequences to the Enterprise's interference in the fates of these people and they reverberate over the entire film. At the same time, an evil former member of the star fleet -- or whatever entity it is that the Enterprise crew works for -- attacks an installation in London and kills dozens. This brings Kirk and crew together to hunt him down in the only place the federation will not go -- a planet controlled by Klingons, on the eve of a potential all-out war with the enemy. It turns out to be a really great setup and although the "twist" is somewhat predictable, the plot was believable and executed well, which is something that can rarely be said about these big budget action films, which often spend so much time on effects that they miss the fact that the movies don't make any kind of logical sense. Logic, though, does not escape the filmmakers here and what results is a fun, thrilling ride that delivers on high expectations.