In this week's printed paper, thanks to Paramount Pictures' peculiar decision to skip over Portland's army of critics until after our deadline, you'll find an odd artifact standing in for our regular review of Star Trek Into Darkness. It's a review written from Britain, where the movie opened days ago, by old Mercury hand Matt Davis.
Matt didn't like it much, and he got on to talking about his recent divorce before wrapping up. (That will make it sound like you shouldn't read it. But you really should. The whole thing is quite funny and a great bit of writing.)
HOWEVER! Paramount finally decided to let us at the thing last night. And I drove to befuddling Bridgeport Village to watch it. And then Senior Editor Erik Henriksen let me write a review. And then he posted it. SPOILER ALERT: I kind of really, really liked it. With some reasonable quibbles.
For all the gloom at its heart, Star Trek Into Darkness is a harmony joyride. And it's brilliantly funny—funnier than the franchise's actual stab at comedy, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof nail pitch-perfect renderings of well-known characters, and then a group of actors who are proving increasingly comfortable in those roles make them their own.
Pine's Kirk, unleashed in bedrooms and bars and everywhere else he goes, is the tempestuous, rakish flirt everyone only thought William Shatner was. Karl Urban's McCoy finally, gloriously lets fly with a full complement of curmudgeonly one-liners. And Simon Pegg, as a frantic, flapping Scotty, may be the very best thing about this entire movie (he wrote, while pouring out a glass of Seagram's for Jimmy Doohan).
That isn't to say this movie is perfect. Far from it. In some ways, despite all its winks and nods and Easter eggs, it was unfortunate Abrams decided this second movie, just like the original crew's, had to revolve around the same villain. Fuck an alternate universe with unlimited possibilities!
Earlier, I even typed the following potentially blasphemous statement:
It's among the best entries the franchise has ever produced—maybe even better than Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the vaunted 1982 movie it's clearly designed to parallel (and not always for the best).
Read the whole thing here.