The Star Trek Into Darkness movie opens on May 17th in North America (and May 9th in the UK, Australia, German and some other countries). The film has had two gala premiere so far and a handful of reviews have come out of Australia. There aren’t enough reviews yet to form a consensus, but we have compiled some spoiler-free comments from the early reviews below.
EARLY INTO DARKNESS REVIEWS
Although it will not open in the US until May 17th, a handful of journalists from Australia have already posted their “Star Trek into Darkness” reviews. So far it is just a handful and the big newspapers and entertainment TV shows have yet to weigh in. There really are too few to form a consensus (only one of the early reviews is linked by review aggregators Rotten Tomatoes and Meta Critic). So far early press response is mostly positive, but there are some mixed as well. But there are perhaps some themes emerging in some of these early reviews. Below are are some of the things being said about Star Trek Into Darkness:
Be advised that while each of the reviews is spoiler-free, the same cannot be said of the comments that follow the articles. Proceed with caution.
Another Abrams action-packed thrill-ride tied to Star Trek history
If there is any universal agreement it is that Star Trek Into Darkness continues the energy of the 2009 Star Trek film and faithfulness to the series that was its inspiration.
“Fantastic fun: a two-hours-plus blockbuster that doesn’t bog down in exposition or sag in the middle. There are reversals and rug-pulls galore, most of them executed with whiplash skill.” Though they go on to admit, “Trouble is, at a certain point peril-fatigue starts to creep in, putting the story (like the overtaxed Enterprise) at the risk of burning out.” – 4 Stars (out of 5)
– Total Film (UK)
“Star Trek Into Darkness” is a hell of a lot of fun, maintaining such constant velocity that by the time you’ve half-formed a criticism in your head it’s swept away by the next plot-twist or action sequence. It still has that urgency that made the first film so appealing, those big, optimistic messages of right vs wrong in a world at war.”
– IGN (UK)
“Into Darkness is more of what we saw in 2009. It’s a riveting action-adventure in space, complete with interpersonal relationships. The bro-mance between Kirk and Spock is in full force here. Grown men cry. And yes, it looks like a JJ Abrams film."
– 3 News NZ
Star Trek Into Darkness really is one of the best looking sci-fi movies of our time. It’s more spectacular, more beautiful, more action-packed than just about anything I have seen in recent memory. It was always going to be difficult to follow-up the perfectly rebooted universe of Star Trek with a sequel, but JJ Abrams has raised the table stakes once again for every director looking to make a decent sci-fi.
– Gizmodo Australia
Also uniformly praised is Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison, for example…
“It’s with John Harrison that the film truly ignites. The narrative weaves around him like a weasel, teasing us with his ambiguous loyalties and indeed, his ambiguous identity…" “Cumberbatch himself has never been better. While he’s proven his ability at volatile emotional-detachment with his role in ‘Sherlock,’ he is, here, a true snake; an expressionless, sliver of a man whose mask only slips when he lunges for his prey. The Enterprise crew look trivial against him, their uniforms retro and goofy against his men’s magazine sleekness. Even Spock, quite the regal figure, looks small next to him."
– IGN (UK)
Too much Star Trek? Too American?
It’s not all love for Into Darkness, however. For some reviewers the film was too, well, Star Trek for their taste. Blake Howard from Graffitiwithpunctuation (who admits he is no fan of the franchise still gave the film a healthy 3.5 out of 5 stars), however he had some quibbles (laced with hope for the future)…
“I missed essential references that were transforming some of the more mediocre scenes into significant signposts for fans.”
“This isn’t the franchise defining ‘middle’ picture that this reviewer was hoping it to be. It’s not the Empire Strikes Back of an Abrams trilogy; and consequently it didn’t quite hit the emotional crescendo of that kind of film…Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t ready to stretch to the unknown pockets of the universe just yet; instead it relishes in the evolution of the key characters in the wake of their defining challenge. It’s a rousing adventure and Abrams has laid the platform for a healthy and long lasting franchise.”
– Graffitiwithpunctuation (Australia)
The most unenthusiastic review came from Time Out Australia whose Nick Dent awarded the film a mere 2 (out of 5) stars. Dent’s concerns seem to go beyond just fan-service to the political, specifically with regard to the themes of the film, which he deemed too American, writing…
“Hard-core Trekkies will wet their jumpsuits at the return of friends and foes from the series’ distant past but there’s a sense of been-there, done-that about the proceedings. Exploring the universe with an open mind will have to wait for the next film; this one’s just another playback of America’s obsession with domestic terrorism.”
– Time Out (Australia)
Bottom Line: Still Too Early To Tell But (Mostly) Positive So Far
It is too early to say there is a consensus as there is only a handful of reviews out there now but an early theme seems to be that Star Trek Into Darkness is a film for people who love Star Trek or action-adventure films. However, the major outlets (Guardian UK, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, etc.) have yet to weigh in so the consensus can change over time.
TrekMovie will continue to monitor overseas reviews as the film premieres work their way to North America.
EDITOR’S NOTE: TrekMovie.com First Review Coming May 10.
An update from an earlier post regarding TrekMovie review of Star Trek Into Darkness. As of now TrekMovie’s review of Into Darkness is set to go up on May 10th, which is the embargo date for USA-based outlets (as the film opens wide in North America on May 17th). If Paramount changes its rules then TrekMovie will post a review as soon as allowable.
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