Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Spock (Zachary Quinto) yelling "Khan"
 I finally got to see Star Trek Into Darkness, and I thought it was awesome. Easily the best Star Trek movie, better than Wrath of Khan...yeah, I said it. I was honestly baffled as to why Trekkers voted Into Darkness the worst Star Trek movie, worse than Insurrection.

After checking the web, I found six reasons why Trekkers hated this movie, and why I disagree.

1. Into Darkness is All Style and No Substance
A lot of Trekkers said Into Darkness is too stylish, and has nothing solid underneath. I won't argue that Into Darkness has a lot of style. There are amazing visuals from beginning to end. But since when is that unique to Into Darkness?

Star Trek has always been about style; the transporter beam has always been a needlessly complex special effect with sparkling lights and swirling images. Likewise, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was all flash and dazzling special effects with very little story. And with its themes of revenge, death, and the overt struggle between the Federation's lofty goals and adapting to a violent world, I would argue that Into Darkness is far from empty.

2. Into Darkness is a Ripoff of Wrath of Khan

Some fans are angry that Star Trek Into Darkness is a 'remake' of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I don't really understand this complaint. If Star Trek Into Darkness had been about Khan trying to destroy Earth with a missile that creates planets called Genesis, you'd have a case. Into Darkness' Khan had almost no resemblance to the original.

To be honest, I thought the story was better than Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I mean, why did Khan hate Kirk in Wrath? For trapping him on a planet that turned into a wasteland. Kirk wasn't responsible for blowing the planet out of orbit; it just made Khan look stupid. But Into Darkness' Khan had been exploited and his people held hostage; he had a right to be angry.

What did Wrath's Khan do? Steal a missile someone else made. What did Into Darkness' Khan do? Create an armada of weapons, disrupt the entire Federation single-handed, almost trigger a war between the Federation and the Klingons, and crash a starship into Earth.

Khan was a brilliant strategist and commander. Into Darkness' Khan was a one-man army. Into Darkness takes Wrath of Khan and makes it its own.

And another thing: do the same fans complain about how Star Trek: The Motion Picture ripped off the original series episode, "The Changeling?" How about the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode ripping off the original "Naked Now?" And exactly how many gods in the Star Trek universe turned out to be aliens, again? If there's one thing Star Trek is known for, it's recycled ideas and storylines.

3. Khan Was the Wrong Ethnicity

Some fans complained that the movie changed the ethnicity of Khan from Latino to white. It's true that Ricardo Montalban was Hispanic. But are you forgetting the original Khan in the episode "Space Seed" was supposed to be Indian? It's all racial bending.

4. The Enterprise Can't Go Underwater

A big moment in the movie comes at the beginning, when it's revealed the Enterprise is hiding under water at the bottom of an alien ocean. Some fans complained it was unrealistic; a spaceship can't endure the pressure of the ocean.

To them I say, it's their world. This is the future. Yeah, you can't take the Space Shuttle and put it underwater, but who's to say the Federation didn't think, "Maybe this ship will go underwater."

Besides, you've got spaceships going faster than light. You're breaking all the rules of science, anyway. If they want to have spaceships that can go underwater, it's their decision. And it looked cool.

5. Alive Eve's Underwear

A lot of people complaining about the scene where they show Alice Eve in her underwear. Okay. Yes, the scene was gratuitous, but you know what? It's not the most gratuitous scene I've ever seen, not by a long shot.

Dozens of movies are released every year with scantily clad women. Its not even the most gratuitous scene in sci-fi. Natalie Portman getting her top ripped off, exposing her belly in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones didn't have fans walking out.

If that's too far off the mark, how about Uhura's fan dance in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier? Somebody argue that wasn't gratuitous. At least Alice Eve was easier on the eyes.

6. Kirk Dies

It seems the scene most fans object to is the reversal of the death scene in Wrath of Khan, where Kirk dies instead of Spock. Into Darkness could have just done the same scene over again, but what would be the point?

Honestly, I thought the new scene had really deep resonance, in some ways more than the original. This wasn't two old friends saying goodbye. These were two people thrown together, just discovering their friendship, torn apart. Spock struggled to overcome the emotions Kirk's death caused in a way Kirk never had to. And Zachary Quinto is a better actor than Shatner.

I admit, they should have waited until the next movie to bring him back, though.

What do you think? Should fans be angry about Star Trek Into Darkness? Is it better or worse than Wrath of Khan?

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L.G. Keltner said...

Khan was definitely badass in this movie!


I didn't have issues with most of it. I think that if they were going to make him Khan, they should have revealed it earlier in the film. I didn't care for the use of swapping almost verbatim the ending of this film with the original. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it, I did.

Rusty Webb said...

Loved the movie. All the criticisms annoy me. Thanks for making a stand on this.

BTW - Read Nigel's story 'The Money Tree' and it blew me away. Great job!

Sci-Fi Gene said...

The last point, exactly. Reversing the Spock/Kirk situation at the end of Into Darkness was actually quite clever - but when you sacrifice your life at the climax of a movie in order to save everyone else it is only good manners to remain dead at least until the next movie.

MedeiaSharif said...

These are great arguments against the naysayers. I hope to see this movie.

splicernyc said...

One point regarding the Khan storyline. The original Wrath of Khan was Moby Dick. It was a personal story between a man consumed with thoughts of revenge to the exclusion of everything else and the "white whale" that he blames for his misery. Kirk wasn't responsible for Khan's misery in the original the same way that Moby Dick is not responsible for Ahab's. It's a whale -- it doesn't think that way. If anything, Kirk could have hauled Khan off to prison but showed mercy.

As for Khan's anger: I can imagine tragically losing the woman I love could possibly not fill me with rational thoughts. Khan is presented as a perfect superman with a perfect intellect. What happens when that perfection is presented with tragedy and gets twisted?

Tony Laplume said...

Thanks for doing this. Clearly there are still ways to argue these points, but this is an excellent way to provide both sides.

Although clearly you underestimate Star Trek fans in some regards. They have harped on the similarities between those movies and episodes for years. In a lot of ways, even that issue with Into Darkness is old hat. But I love that you bring up the point about resonance. Because that's exactly what I love about this sort of thing. Even before the prequels it was completely possible for Star Wars fans to appreciate how Luke was becoming more and more like his father just from the losing of limbs and gaining of robotic replacements alone. Imagine those movies without that.

The other problem more dedicated fans will have with your assessment of Wrath of Khan is that you're taking a far more intellectual approach to it, whereas most of them take a very emotional one. If they thought about that movie as critically as they do Into Darkness, they wouldn't be having these problems. When you want to find problems you will. When you don't you won't. Sometimes it's really as simple as that.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Thanks for the shout out on the money tree!

Rollo Tomasi said...

One reason I do not "love" the film is because the real Khan would have rammed the Enterprise and not crash landed Vengeance on Earth.

fjordprefect said...

It sucked because it wasn't a good movie.

fjordprefect said...

Well in the next movie we won't need starships at all since Nu-Khan invented the trans-warp suitcase. Takes you halfway across the galaxy in 10 seconds.

DS9 is King said...

I agree thanks a lot for making a stand on this the trekies just annoy me with the whole THIS IS NOT STAR TREK argument, the whole we want something more Cerebral or all this Action is unbecoming of Star Trek or I want Science not killing the alien bad guy or Star Trek is about Blah Blah and we fans want it to stay that way, thank you for standing up for new trek.

Nigel Mitchell said...

You're welcome. Glad you're on my side

Nigel Mitchell said...

Three favorite scenes in the new movie: the part where nu-Khan blasted up the Starfleet meeting, the part where the uber-spaceship chased them through warp speed, the part where nu-Khan fought the Klingons, the final fight between Spock and nu-Khan...oh, that's four. I'll stop there.

But yeah, that super-blood was a weak plot device. And like I said, they shouldn't have brought Kirk back so quickly


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