Braving the Dark: Examining What Went Wrong in Star Trek Into Darkness

(Friend of the site and movie aficionado Jacob Dadon has offered us his critique of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek: Into Darkness.)

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I’m a writer. I tend to prize a good story over just about any other factor in a film. Sure, there are some movies where I’m able to detach the story from the action as long as it remains entertaining, but those movies usually don’t leave the same mark as one with a well thought out and engaging narrative. You can have the most competently made movie of all time, with amazing direction, fantastic performances from every actor, and production design that ignites the imagination, but without a solid story to base all of it on, it might as well be for naught. It’s a kiss of death. And so it was for J.J. Abrams’ highly anticipated sci-fi follow-up Star Trek Into Darkness, a movie that for all intents and purposes should have been a triumph, but ended up being such an insulting mess that many die hard Trek fans have sworn it off as the worst film in the franchise. Join me now, as I take a look at just what went wrong in the screenplay and how it might have avoided these hurdles (SPOILERS FOR STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS FOLLOW).

Gonna have to throw in a disclaimer here: I am not a Trekkie. I’ve seen my share of Trek movies and a handful of episodes here and there, but I in no way consider myself a hardcore fan of the series. If anything, I fall on the Abrams side of the scale and am much more a Star Wars guy. I make this distinction to make it known that my grievances don’t come from an angry embittered fanboy perspective, but from someone ultimately concerned with how the story is told. So let’s start from the beginning. The first Star Trek film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, hit theaters in December of 1979, and, well, it failed to make a splash. The plot was dense and moved at its’ own pace, to the detriment of the audiences’ patience. So while it did well financially, it was a critical disappointment, and the studio wanted something better. They got rid of the TV folks and brought on actual filmmakers for the sequel, and in June of 1982, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was released. The film was a huge critical success, with nuanced character interactions built on years of history, a gripping story of revenge and sacrifice, and literary allusions scattered throughout. Fans constantly point it out as a high point of the series to this day. Indeed, though it’s built on the history of the original series and even requires the viewer to at least have some passing knowledge of one the episodes to explain the lead antagonist, the movie still holds up remarkably well on it’s own. So well, in fact, that the series has been chasing its’ success ever since. This is important as it plays directly into what went wrong in the most recent film. Fast-forward twenty seven years to 2009, thirty years after the release of the first Trek picture, and the release of a rebooted franchise starring the original cast of characters in younger, fresher roles. Directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the reboot took on a decidedly more action movie approach as opposed to the rather intellectual based plots the series is known for. And despite a number of plot holes and conveniences that strain the fabric of believability in the already fantastic universe, the directing, acting, and generally well-shot action is able to rise above the faults and essentially re-energize an ailing franchise. It left fans and non-fans alike excited and looking forward to what would come next.

Which brings us to 2013, and the release of the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness. Once again directed by J.J. Abrams with Damon Lindelof joining writers Orci and Kurtzman, the film tried to maintain an air of mystery about it until release, with the main antagonist, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, being kept under wraps until the movie began screening in theaters. It’s possible that this “mystery box” approach is partially to blame for the reception the film got, as the truth of the character’s identity was so beyond obvious to anyone paying attention that it was just baffling that they even tried to keep up the façade. It’s possible people went into the film hoping it couldn’t possibly be that obvious, only to be disappointed to find that yes, yes it was that obvious. And while that is most definitely one of the more glaring problems the movie has, it’s far from the only one, and not even close to the biggest. So, let’s go through the movie scene by scene and break down just why it doesn’t work the way the screenwriters built it.

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The film begins on a remote pre-spaceflight planet, where the crew of the Enterprise has engaged in some hijinks in trying to rescue the fledgling people from an active volcano. Things go bad, Spock is put in danger, and Kirk is forced to defy the Prime Directive in order to save his friends’ life, exposing the Enterprise to the indigenous populace and accidentally creating a new god for the culture. Despite a few plot inconsistencies and nitpicks (they use a cold fusion device to “freeze” the volcano, even though cold fusion isn’t exactly cold, but whatever), the scene is a fun reintroduction to the crew from the previous movie, with each character getting a quick moment to shine and setting up the familial element between them. The most glaring problem comes a little earlier: one of the very first lines out of Spock’s mouth is “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Fans of the series will recognize this line as a famous axiom that an older Spock bestows on a similarly aging Kirk in Wrath of Khan, a saying that carries an important theme through the entirety of that film. In Into Darkness, while the line does have some pertinence to the situation they find themselves in, it’s more a bigger indication of the mindset of the writers: plunging the memories people have of the older, more well-received films, and then repackaging them for their own script. The 2009 movie is guilty of doing this as well, with a number of small throwaway lines here and there being direct callbacks to previous Trek movies. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it shows a lack of imagination on the part of the writers, and it makes it easier to take more damaging shortcuts, a trap these writers fall into later in the movie.

Following that opening scene and a quick introduction to our mysterious antagonist, we rejoin Kirk and Spock on earth where they face the consequence for their actions during the intro. Chided and reprimanded by his mentor and father figure, Admiral Pike, Kirk is stripped of command of the Enterprise and kicked back to the academy. In quick succession, mystery villain coerces a Starfleet agent to bomb a secret facility by saving said agents’ ailing daughter with his magic life giving blood, and Pike reinstates Kirk as his first officer, believing that he deserves a second chance. I’m gonna be honest here, these scenes with Bruce Greenwood’s Pike are probably my favorite scenes in the film. Greenwood brings a genuineness to the role, and the way he and Chris Pine play off each other is really believable. The father-son relationship doesn’t have a lot of time to really develop, but what’s there is well done, and it’s good enough to make the next scene hit a little harder. The top Starfleet brass meets to discuss the bombing, but surprise! It’s a trap set by our mysterious villain, now known as John Harrison, to get all the important people at Starfleet in the same room so he can take them all out at once. Kirk quickly dispatches Harrison’s ship and the mystery man beams away across the galaxy, but not before dealing a mortal blow to Pike. Going back to the relationship between Pike and Kirk developed from the last movie and through the two scenes they shared together, this scene ends up packing a bit of a punch, with Kirk losing the closest thing he has to a father. This is the pinnacle of the film. The emotion works, the action is exciting, and the villain’s motivations remain mysterious, keeping the audience intrigued and wondering what’s going to happen next. The script has built up it’s own mythology between these two characters and is delivering in an emotionally satisfying way. Sadly, it’s all downhill from here.

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Stricken by grief and driven by revenge, Kirk petitions Admiral Marcus, the military leader of Starfleet, for his ship back and permission to go after Harrison. Marcus agrees and gives Kirk some experimental torpedoes to bomb the man from afar without raising tensions with the already hostile Klingons, whose home planet of Kronos the villain is hiding out on. With Kirk restored as captain and Spock back as first officer of the Enterprise, we hit our first major stumbling block. The first half hour of the film spends its’ time establishing that Kirk’s actions have consequences. He goes about his adventures thinking himself infallible, and he doesn’t seem to regard what long reaching effects he might be causing. Not coincidentally, this is a similar lesson that Kirk is forced to learn in Wrath of Khan, that sometimes he’s put into a no-win situation and has to make hard choices. But by removing him as captain of the Enterprise for all of ten minutes before giving it back to him and sending him off on a precision military strike, the writers are undermining any sort of character growth Kirk might have had by the whole experience. He essentially demands his ship back and doesn’t meet an ounce of resistance, and any lessons that may have been learned from being stripped of his position are drowned out by his need to punish the man who killed his father figure. It’s possible this could have been brought back around later in the movie, with Kirk reflecting on what Pike was trying to teach him and becoming a more responsible leader, but for the most part Kirk continues to operate on instinct and gut reaction, leaving the people around him to deal with the damage left in his wake.

Further showing off the shortsightedness of the screenwriters, Kirk’s quickly established thirst for revenge is almost just as quickly abandoned when he acquiesces to Spock’s concerns about condemning Harrison to death without a trial first. The hard-edged Kirk lasts for about 5 minutes, just long enough for him to fire Scotty so he can conveniently show up on the enemy ship later in the film in order to save the day. This is, once again, a problem only created by the screenwriters for reasons unknown to me. It would have been so easy to keep Kirk focused on killing Harrison, and on the way to Kronos he becomes plagued by doubt and instead of just bombing the planet, chooses to meet the man face-to-face to look his mentor’s killer in the eye and deciding then that the better solution is to bring him into custody. The way it’s currently written, Kirk fires his friend for not agreeing with him, then turns right around a minute later and reverses the policy that led him to that decision in the first place. It’s sloppy character work, and as it’s presented in the film, serves only to put Scotty in a certain place for plot purposes and once again completely throws away any possible growth or change Kirk might have been able to endure.

Let’s fast forward a bit. The Enterprise arrives at Kronos, Kirk, Spock, and Uhura hit the planet to retrieve Harrison and have an altercation with some Klingons, but are saved by Harrison with some big guns. Quick side note: this is more of a personal nitpick than a straight up problem with the script, but the way Harrison takes out the Klingons really bothers me. I understand that he’s supposed to be something of a superman, but he takes an entire platoon of a dangerous and militarized race by essentially standing in one place and shooting some guns. If Harrison had maybe done more to evade fire from the Klingons, had actually employed some kind of tactical cover as opposed to just standing and shooting guys as they came at him from his completely uncovered and exposed position, it might have done a little less to diminish the threat the aliens pose within the story, especially when they’re presented as such a huge threat to the future of Starfleet. Anyway, Harrison gives himself up to the Enterprise and claims that he’s not the bad guy. As proof, he tells them to crack open the torpedoes Admiral Marcus gave them and take a look inside, and upon doing so, they find a bunch cryogenically frozen folks. What follows is the point where the movie really starts to fall apart.

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When confronted with how he knew about the people in the torpedoes, Harrison finally reveals who he truly is: “My name… is Khan.” And so the worst kept secret of 2013 is revealed, and boy, does this scene play out terribly. First, let’s discuss the line itself. It’s delivered in a dramatic and ominous manner, as if the characters should be taken aback by the revelation. But they have absolutely no reason to know or care who Khan really is, as his true identity holds no meaning for them. Following that train of thought, why does he stop at Khan? Why not Khan Noonien Singh? Why not fully introduce himself to these men who obviously have no idea who he really is? The answer is simple: the line is not written for the benefit of the characters in the story itself, but rather to play on the expectations of the audience. Star Trek has become a staple of modern pop culture, and even though a great percentage of the people aware of it have never actually seen an episode or even a movie, certain aspects of the franchise have made themselves known outside of the franchise proper to become more popular, elements that supersede the source material to become more widely known, elements such as “Live long and prosper”, tribbles, “Make it so”, and yes, Khan. Most of the audience this movie targets likely hasn’t seen Wrath of Khan, and an even higher percentage of them likely haven’t even heard of the episode of the original series that introduced the character, “Space Seed”. But nearly everyone in the audience is still aware of Khan as a character, a villain that causes trouble for Kirk. So the revelation of the character in Star Trek Into Darkness is played solely to shock the audience, not the characters in the story itself. This is a fundamental problem with how the story is constructed, as the writers are more focused on trying to get that “gotcha!” moment, to the detriment of the story itself.

The involvement of Khan in the film in the first place is another issue. The character is far and away the most famous antagonist from the Star Trek fiction, so much so that the writer’s claimed to have been accosted by questions about whether or not they’d introduce him into the rebooted continuity. This is one of the… let’s call it “excuses” they give for making Khan the antagonist. Rather than try to subvert expectation and try to deliver something unique and different, Kurtzman, Orci, and Lindelof fall back on the safest possible route they could take by adapting a character everyone knows and expects. Now, that’s not to say adapting characters is entirely bad. Taking an established character and going in an unexpected direction with them could definitely make for an interesting story, and the writers actually do seemingly take a turn into this realm for a brief period. After Admiral Marcus shows up in a new giant black super-ship (called the USS Vengeance, because it’s EVIL) and tries to destroy the Enterprise in order to get rid of his perceived mistakes, Kirk makes a deal with Khan and they team up in an attempt to save their respective crews from the Admiral. This is one of the few times where the script manages to subvert expectation, and actually make for an exciting development, so of course it needs to be ruined a scene later.

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While Kirk and Khan engage in a big action scene in which both characters are shot out of the Enterprise into space across a field of debris and into the opposing ship (clearly meant to evoke the well received orbital drop from the previous film but not quite achieving the same level of tension that scene did), Spock contacts his older, wiser, parallel counterpart for the word on their new quasi-ally, and from here on the movie is irreparably damaged. Spock Prime claims that he’s taken a vow to never tell the new Spock about his future and to let the events play out as they should, and then the very next line throws that ultimatum out the window and warns him that Khan is “the most dangerous enemy the Enterprise has ever faced.” With this scene, the writers are basically telling their audience “our version of Khan isn’t interesting enough, we’re just gonna turn him into the one from the movie that everyone knows and likes.” They’re deliberately throwing any character development they’ve built up under the bus in favor of nostalgic memories of a character with a pre-established history in order to make their jobs easier for themselves. It’s introducing an older continuity into this new universe, and almost instantly it muddles up the entire purpose of this rebooted franchise. Instead of letting Khan take his villainous turn organically through the beats of the story itself, it’s relying on someone from the past coming in and saying “this guy is evil, don’t trust him”, and betraying the golden rule of screenwriting: show, don’t tell. And at the same time, it has the problem of drudging up the film that many consider to be the pinnacle of Star Trek films, directly inviting comparison to it. Even if Wrath of Khan didn’t hold the reputation it does, inviting comparison like this is never a good idea. As a writer, your goal is to write a self-contained story that stands on its’ own. Comparisons to contemporary work should be something saved for the film school classroom, not blatant enough to pull the viewer out of the movie on the first viewing. And by throwing itself up against that seminal film, Into Darkness winds up hammering the nails in its’ own coffin.

So, following Spock Prime’s declaration that from here on out the movie will be a straight up adaptation of the one everyone likes, Kirk turns on Khan, quite upsetting him, leading to a dead Admiral and Khan now in control of the big scary ship. He exchanges Kirk for his crew, and fires on the Enterprise because he’s the villain now. But luckily Spock was told saw this was coming and emptied the torpedoes of their occupants and armed the explosives, incapacitating Khan’s ship, but not before the Enterprise is sent spiraling towards earth for some reason! What follows is a shameless redo of one of the most well regarded scenes in the history of the franchise. The warp core is busted, leaving the Enterprise crippled, and the only way to fix it is for someone to go in and fix it manually, but doing so will expose them to intense levels of radiation, making it a death sentence. This is the exact same scenario found at the climax of Wrath of Khan, with Spock choosing to make the sacrificial play in that instance. But in Into Darkness, it’s Kirk who happens to be nearby at the time and who throws himself into danger for the sake of his crew. The writers probably figure this simple change is enough to distinguish the scene as a “reimagined homage” rather than a “direct ripoff” (terms used by co-scripter Lindelof), but once the details come together, everything falls apart and the scene is exposed for the pale, lifeless imitation that it is.

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Within Wrath of Khan, the scene is a culmination of all the themes the movie is built around: growing old, dealing with no-win situations, and, looping back to that old axiom, “the needs of the many outweigh(ing) the needs of the few.” Spock sacrifices himself to save his best friend and his crew, and Kirk is, for the first time in his life, faced with something he can’t outsmart his way out of. Khan might be dead by that point, but his vengeance is complete, as Kirk loses one of the people closest to him. But the scene doesn’t end there, and feeds into the rest of the climax, as it leads to Kirk’s acceptance of the loss and more specifically how he chooses to deal with it, not through revenge or grief, but through honoring the memory of his friend and choosing to do more good with the life given to him. In this way we see the fundamental differences between Kirk and Khan, specifically with how they deal with the respective loss of their loved ones, and essentially what makes one a hero and the other a villain.

Absolutely none of these themes are present in the finale of Into Darkness. Kirk is not dealing with the thought of himself growing older, nor is he battling a demon from his past. His actions from one scene to the next change with the whims of the writers, one moment focused on having fun, the next on vengeance, and then trying to show compassion for his crew, then back to revenge, and so on. The character has no solid arc; nothing can be clearly pointed to as the character making any kind of personal growth. And any lesson the character might learn from the sacrifice he’s making is made pointless by the simple fact that he’ll be dead by the end of it. So perhaps Spock is the character who’s meant to learn from this experience? A novel idea, as the character has technically seen slightly more growth throughout the film than any other, attempting to mask his emotions with a Vulcan façade in order to spare himself from more of the grief he experienced in the previous movie during the destruction of his homeworld. It would make sense in that case that Kirk’s sacrifice would be designed to affect Spock the most and bring his arc to a denouement. But this thinking is flawed, because when it comes down to it, Spock is not the protagonist of this movie. He’s certainly one of, if not the most, important supporting players, but in the end, he’s still just that: a supporting player. Kirk is the driving force behind the plot, with the story clearly unfolding around him and his motivations, and by suddenly switching focus to Spock in what should be the emotional heart of the film, said emotion fizzles out and the entire point is lost. When your protagonist undergoes no change throughout your story, and you instead fall back on one of your supporting characters to carry that weight, something is wrong with your script.

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Plenty of things about this scene ring as wrongheaded fanservice baiting, but the above shot in particular shows just how concerned the writers were with throwing things from previous movies into theirs in order to achieve some semblance of legitimacy while completely missing the message those images carry in the first place. Let’s take another look at that scene in its’ Wrath of Khan incarnation. Spock is dying, he’s saying goodbye to his closest friend, and with his last ounce of strength, he raises his hand to the glass with a Vulcan salute, a silent way of sending Kirk off with his blessing, and wishing him a long and prosperous life. It’s a beautifully realized scene, relying more on actions rather than words to get its point across while at the same time keeping true to the spirit of the characters. Now, back to Into Darkness, where you have the same series of events occur, but the meaning is completely lost. Think about it for a second. Spock is wishing his dying friend, a man who he knows is on the verge of death and has no chance of surviving, to “live long and prosper”. It is entirely emblematic of how entirely up their own asses the writers are that they didn’t think such a simple little detail through. It could have been rectified so easily with the smallest change, having Kirk give the Vulcan salute instead of Spock. It might seem like an insignificant detail, but it carries a meaning that is important to the characters involved, and this film is more concerned with fanservice rather than staying true to the characters they’ve established. And of course, directly following this scene, we get what is probably the worst moment in the entire film.

Mad with grief over the death of his friend, Spock raises his fist to the air and shouts the name of the man who’s earned his ire; Khan. This is a moment that absolutely, positively, 100% does not need to be in this movie. It is there for one reason and one reason alone: because people in the audience know about it. If people see something recognize, specifically from the internet? Surely they’re gonna love it. It’s such a calculated move to gain audience cheers by throwing in something they’ll all recognize, it’s insulting. It doesn’t even make sense within the context of the story. Khan really had nothing to do with Kirk’s death. He didn’t mandate the dangerous new core be installed on the Enterprise, he didn’t cause the warp core to malfunction, he didn’t even force Kirk into the situation that led him to sacrifice himself. It’s a moment purely designed to yell at the audience “HEY REMEMBER THAT THING FROM THE INTERNET?” and expect the viewer to appreciate it. Personally, it immediately took me out of the movie. I honestly couldn’t believe how far they took their “reimagined homage”, to the point that I was unable to recover before the end of the film.

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And oh, what an ending it is. Once again missing the point of the movie it’s trying so hard to emulate, Spock immediately vows to kill Khan for “killing” his friend. This puts him squarely in the same realm as the original Khan, with both characters whose loss of a loved one drove them into a homicidal fury. Khan crashes his big scary ship into San Francisco in what is apparently supposed to be a reflection of 9/11, and then Spock chases Khan through the (populated and seemingly completely unaffected by the giant crashing ship) streets of the city. Meanwhile, Khan’s magic blood finally comes back into the story, as Bones witnesses its’ amazing regenerative power when a transfusion of Khan’s platelets brings a dead tribble back to life (tribbles have human blood? What?) and the movie goes even further down that creatively bankrupt hole it’s already dug itself into. Uhura joins Spock down in the city and together they manage to take Khan into custody, for the sole purpose of undoing Kirk’s sacrifice and bringing him back to life. Way to just completely destroy your big emotional moment, movie!

See, one of the big reasons Spock’s death works in Wrath of Khan is that he stays dead. It’s a moment of clarity for Kirk, one of loss but at the same time an awakening, Spock’s final message to Kirk being to stop worrying about what the future holds and just start living for that future, whatever it might bring. Sure, Spock ends up coming back in the next movie, but within this work, within this story being told, his sacrifice is meaningful. By having Kirk come back to life in Into Darkness, all of the stakes are gone. Any emotional resonance the actions the characters take after Kirk’s sacrifice is lost. There are literally no consequences for anyone’s actions in this film. Kirk violates the Prime Directive and gets demoted, but gets his ship back ten minutes later, now with an improved engine and weapons system. The Enterprise encroaches on hostile Klingon territory and is part of the massacre of an entire platoon of soldiers, but the boiling tensions seem, if anything, to die down by the films’ end. Kirk sacrifices his life to save his friends and loved ones, but don’t worry, because he’s back up and at ‘em before you even get a chance to process the possible paths the series can take from there. When a story doesn’t have stakes, why should the audience care about it? When the writers are more concerned about maintaining the status quo and “paying homage” to previous continuity rather than creating their own lasting stories within a universe more than capable of containing those stories, why should the audience care about what happens to these characters when they’re going to end up in the same place they started?

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I’d like to do a quick and simple compare and contrast here, with another big genre movie that released this summer, Iron Man 3. I’m gonna go into a few light details, so if you still haven’t seen the movie, I recommend you skip this paragraph and see the movie for yourself first. It’s another movie built on continuity, technically the fourth in the series, as the events of The Avengers play a significant role in establishing the mindset of the main character, Tony Stark. By introducing the character in an already damaged state, it allows for a significant change to occur throughout the course of the film as the character faces his own anxiety and insecurities at not being able to use his abilities to their fullest extent. In facing this inner conflict, Stark is able to overcome his personal and external demons and emerges a better person. By the end of the film, Stark is a completely different man from who he was at the start. The characters undergo meaningful change, the stakes are raised and the action frequently has consequences. And perhaps even more interestingly, the film manages to do the whole secret villain thing way more elegantly than Star Trek Into Darkness could possibly hope to. By not calling attention to the fact that there would be an antagonist switcheroo, it allowed the revelation that the Mandarin wasn’t who we were all led to believe to be a genuine surprise, and fed into the overall story in a way that made sense without beating the audience over the head with allusions to previous films. Sure, there were people upset at the switch, partially because it’s something unexpected and out of the ordinary, but from a storytelling perspective, it’s really rather brilliant, playing with audience expectation and setting up a unique and interesting take on the character. Iron Man 3 isn’t perfect, but as far as its’ storytelling goes, it gets a hell of a lot more right than Trek.

Now I wanna make a clarification here, that will probably seem to run contrary to the rest of this article: I didn’t hate this movie. In fact, I think it does a lot of things very right. The cast has a rather believable chemistry and works well together. The use of practical sets and effects is invaluable and helps immeasurably to sell the universe, and by the same token, the CGI in the film is some of the best for a genre film and blends incredibly well with the practical sets. The action is fast-paced and fun, and the cinematography is eye-catching and pleasing to look at. A good number of the actual filmmaking practices are things more big-budget genre films should take note of, and it gives me a small bit of hope for the fate of the next Star Wars film. When it comes down to it, this movie really should have been an unmitigated success.

So why did Into Darkness end up such a mess? It’s nowhere near the worst Trek film ever made like some of the more hardcore fans are claiming, but in the end, the bad does outweigh the good and the movie suffers for it. It starts off well enough, and whenever it’s not trying to be Wrath of Khan, it can actually be fairly entertaining. The problem comes when it does try to be Wrath of Khan. The references and callbacks just start to compound on one another, with the original content struggling to support the weight of the material lifted from the 1982 film, and the movie starts to collapse under it’s own weight. There are so many spots where just a small change here or there would have made the callbacks less distracting, and maybe a little more endearing. The 2009 movie managed to handle this balance rather well. It had plenty of references to previous films, but they were spaced out, and none of them were so essential to the plot as to remove the viewer from the experience and directly call out their relation. This allowed its’ own story to shine through, and combined with the stellar acting, direction, camera work, production design, and music, it became a genuinely enjoyable movie. I’ve heard the defense that the problems with Into Darkness are really only highlighted when you’re actually familiar with the older films that are being referenced. Indeed, I originally saw the film with two people who had never seen Wrath of Khan before, and they found the movie quite enjoyable. But for me, as someone who’s made a living out of making movies, it became impossible to see the movie as its’ own entity, especially as the writers so willingly invited the comparison through their “homages.”

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This movie is a prime example of writers over relying on their own nostalgia to mine ideas, and in my opinion, this is absolutely the wrong direction this kind of profession needs to go in. Using a story you love for inspiration is one thing. Taking elements from that story, slightly altering a few details, and expecting everything to fall into place, is just plain horrifying to me. We need more originality, even within established franchises. You don’t maintain interest in a character by keeping them stagnant and unchanging; you do it by allowing them to grow organically and develop on their own. You’d be surprised by the journey they’d take you on if you just let them guide you.

Thanks for reading my long-winded and almost certainly rambling dissection of this dumb movie. Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear your own thoughts, so please, sound off in the comments!