First of all: MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT. Stop reading if you haven’t seen it. Seriously. STOP READING.
Okay. You have been warned.
Second of all: do note — I loved the movie. Most of it. Totally cool awesome stuff like volcanoes and space and destroying my adopted hometown (though they spared AT&T Park, I think). But then the more I thought about it, the more things stuck in my craw. I’ll try counting them, but I will lose count. Bear with me as I rant:
1) Dumb title. It’s stupid. Too generic. And they’re ALWAYS going into darkness. It’s space after all. The only worse title would be… I don’t know… Insurrection.
2) I loved seeing Carol Marcus return. Great reveal. But why make her British? Is this an alternate universe thing? OK — make Khan British for Benedict’s sake, that’s cool. But for what’s her name?? Really? Maybe Kirk f*cked the Brit out of her in the other life. I don’t know. I just thought it was odd.
3) What’s up with Old Spock showing up as the Oracle to explain all? LAME. Not only did it feel cheap, but it didn’t add to the story, other than to give a fun ‘Check out yet another tie-in cameo’ moment. Young Spock could have still figured things out without asking Old Spock for info. It would have been better dramatically as well.
4) Though I love me some Wrath of Khan, I gotta admit I’m getting sick of all the references. Does JJ know that there’s more to Star Trek than that one movie? How about some new ideas? Because recycling old ideas with a twist not does a new idea make (see the Yoda speak there? See, JJ — I can play both sides of the street, too). And if you don’t start a Klingon War in the next Star Trek: Just Watch It, or if you mention Botany Bay, Genesis, or any other WOK reference, then I will officially explode.
5) KIRK DOESN’T DIE. Period. I mean, by definition, Kirk doesn’t die. He cheats death and that’s what makes him Kirk. Killing Kirk just makes him another character. And that’s bullshit. Why don’t you go kill James Bond while you’re at it? Fuckers.
Killing Spock in the real Wrath of Khan was great — in part because it was unexpected, but also in part because Spock is not the main character. Killing Spock tests the main character of Kirk in an ultimate and heartbreaking way. Here, killing Kirk is not only derivative of the other movie, but it also kills the main character, not a supporting one. Before the movie’s over, no less. Which means all the supporting characters have to carry the load, and that’s just not cool storytelling. So Kirk DOES NOT die, any more than Chuck Norris doesn’t kick the shit out of you. The closest Kirk comes to death is getting stuck in a fading astronaut hologram in a Tron-like spiderweb — but he still DOES NOT DIE. This current death is a copy of a better moment in another film, and it’s dramatically false.
And then: Spock yelling Shatner’s Khaaaannn! is just a whole big load of fuck you.
But then the diarrhea begins to roll downhill into Act III and fuck us all like a shit snowball:
Old Spock says Khan is the greatest adversary we’ve ever seen. So stopping him should require more than just Khan running away and Spock trying to catch him. Yeah, the fight scene was cool, but where’s Khan’s master plan? Where’s a surprising twist? And what the fuck is Uhura doing in a fight???? And why aren’t the Klingons there???
Seriously, think about it: They made a big stink about trying to avoid/start a Klingon War. Then Khan pisses off the Klingons (on some planet that’s supposed to be uninhabited; Liars), and the Klingons disappear. So it would make great sense if somehow at the end, after a big climactic fight, the Klingons show up to deliver the coup de grace by enacting their revenge on the dishonorable Khan, and take him away from mankind forever. Alive or dead, fuck it, who cares — the Klingons got him. And they don’t want to start a war either — not yet. Then that great dramatic promise that was introduced would actually be paid off rather than left dangling. I mean, did Damon Lindelof write this thing or something??
Wait… He did? Fuck. That explains it.
It might also explain why it’s never really explained why Khan blew up the Archives. At the time, it made sense, since it was a trap to lure all the heads of the military (Although it’s not explained why they would meet in a heavily windowed room rather than some protected bunker). But then, when the other truth comes out — that the Archives held evidence of secret weaponry – then why did Khan destroy the evidence that would have condemned the Federation? I mean, this was like Prometheus, with all these ideas that get contradicted by other ideas. Did Lindelof write this thing or something?
Wait… I said that joke already? Sorry.
But then, you know, it might also explain how a small great moment like the sliding doors completing Scotty’s “Holy Sh—“ line can get cheapened by actually using the word “Shit” twice later on, and in a family movie no less. Not only is the curse wholly less than clever, but to teleport Tom Hanks into here: ‘Are you cursing?! There’s no cursing in Star Trek!!”
It might also explain why there was such a strong foundation laid from the beginning about how we feel at the verge of death. Spock dealt with it, Pike dealt with it, Uhura complained about it, and this movie was off and running and about to say something cool about the human condition. And Lindelof loves talking about death; that’s what Lost was all about. But then Kirk failed to defy death and he sorta whined about being afraid or something, and he died, and it became pretty clear that any honest theme or emotion would be sacrificed for the sake of an unexpected plot twist or self-referential dramatic jackoff moment. I mean, who really wrote this —
Oh, right. Lindelof.
So really, in closing, all I want to say is that I loved this movie. But then I realized I didn’t. And I want to love it. But I can’t. I certainly do love parts of it, and the Star Trek tone and banter is really good, but then just when I think I can talk myself into loving this movie like a true fanboy should, I remember yet another thing that pisses me off: how horribly telegraphed it was that McCoy would come up with a zombie tribble solution to Kirk’s death. I mean, this was as subtle as a porcupine in a balloon factory. And how could they introduce a zombie tribble without having it replicate and overtake the Enterprise by eating everyone’s brains??!!
I mean, seriously, how awesome would that be. Not even World War Z has tribble zombies, I bet.
Okay. Now I’m really outta here. Ultimately, with all its fun and flaws, Star Trek Into Darkness was more effective in its dramatic manipulation than it was in its dramatic storytelling, and for that I have to say:
Fuck you, JJ. And the Lindelof horse you rode in on.
I will now sit back and greatly anticipate the hopefully named Star Wars 7: It Arndt Lindelof.