I might spoil things. I’m not being careful here.
First of all, let me tell you, I despised Into Darkness.
Almost everything about Into Darkness was wrong. The tone of the movie was problematic and the continuous rising action gave us no chance to consider the characters. They chose to punch instead of solve problems with technology. They treated their women terribly; Uhura was almost entirely defined by her relationship with Spock. They relied on the overall inherent public knowledge of Khan to make him scary without actually giving him a story that makes him scary. I think there were other things I didn’t like, but I don’t remember them. I will say that I had no problem with the actors and actresses. I always thought they did a good job, with the crappy material they had to work with.
The point here is that I almost didn’t go see Beyond. I was not a happy Trekkie, and I insisted that I was done with the series forever. The husband talked me into going, and I was still fairly certain that I was going to hate it.
What a surprise!
They started by eliminating the Spock and Uhura relationship, at least in that it wasn’t used to define the characters and acted as an enhancement to the story instead of a tacked on nonsense addition. Beyond took time to breathe, time to chat, time to compare notes, time to develop characters, time to be intelligent and make plans. They used the technology in interesting and innovative ways. Beyond was funny, and not just because they made silly jokes or had large odd looking creatures chasing you, but because they used the traits of the characters to create amusing interactions. Karl Urban was fantastic, and I swear I could actually hear young Shatner in Chris Pine’s performance (the good parts of young Shatner). Also, the music was awesome.
I also liked that this movie made a relevant political statement about peace and diversity. Gene’s vision of Star Trek was always about making people think about the world today while dreaming about the world of tomorrow. Good science fiction is prophecy, and I think Beyond touched on that just enough to maintain the sense of Star Trek that I remember. The villain story wasn’t great, but hey, dumb villains are a Star Trek standard too!
So, in conclusion, if you are a Trekkie, go see Beyond!