Excerpts From First Overseas Reviews Of Star Trek Into Darkness

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.



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.”

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."

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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For articles with spoilers, comments can discuss spoilers as mentioned in the article.

Violating these rules or discussing potential spoilers not posted at TrekMovie.com and/or linking to other spoilers will result in deletion and instant ban (No Warnings).

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Still, the following fundamental questions remain:







Will you collect fan reviews?

Roddenberry recruit NO ALL CAPS as it is annoying. What you have to say isn’t more important than others

RE: Fan reviews
Once film opens wide we will open fan review section like with 2009. Still debating on if it will open for European dates or May 15 after fan sneaks.

So far, so good!

“Too Star Trek” AND action packed?! Sounds good to me!

Seem that the movie is getting mostly good reviews so far which is an encouraging sign, not that bad reviews will stop me from going, mind you ;)


Nothing I read hear raises a warning flag so I’m still excited.

Dent hasn’t done his homework. Worse, his “America’s obsession with domestic terrorism” line is particularly NASTY, especially written so soon after the Boston Marathon Massacre. Were I his editor…. I’d point out to him that many Australians were killed in a terrorist attack not that long ago on the Indonesian island popular for Aussie vacations.
Considering Bob Orci’s Cuban and Mexican bona fides, a cast which includes Latina Zoe Saldana, Kiwi Karl Urban, Brits Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Alice Eve, Russian-born… anyway… Gene Roddenberry would be utterly pleased that even a Star Trek film has quite an international component both on the production, and the casting sides.
Looking forward to May 15, 3D IMAX day! We’re doing the ‘sneak’ on the first evening of our three-day Amusement Park Physics Day Physics Road Show presentations, and we’re all excited that the release date falls again so perfectly for us, as it did in 2009. :)

So far so good. When the biggest criticism so far is that it’s too “Star Trek”….well….I fail to see the problem.

Looking forward to the movie, but, #9, I would suggest that his comment is more in the spirit of saying that it’s sad we Americans now spend more time dreaming of terror attacks rather than conquering space.

When Trek came out we were headed into space, but now with the shuttle program closed, the only thing infinite anymore is the detention of Guantanamo inmates.

CumberLove just makes his character even more intriguing!!!

Ya’know if it were presented in sock puppet form I’d be tnere.

Too much Star Trek? Isn’t that like saying there’s too much squid in the calamari? It’s such a stupid criticism.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the reviews so far suggest a film with a style and {lack of} substance reminiscent of its predecessor. I understand that the bulk of the posters here will have no problem with that, but for me it’s not good news. Yes, I was indeed hoping for something akin to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK of this reboot trilogy, and if the film doesn’t deliver will sadly regard it as just another wasted opportunity no matter how many one-liners Chris Pine gets off or how much digital gee-whiz the artists at ILM managed to cobble together.

Still, I continue to hope. Roberto Orci may have a hard time believing it, but I do very much want to like this movie.

14. HAHA!

Can imagine Bones saying something like that!

2 out of 5? What the…

I think some people are unclear on the whole talking about spoilers and talking about sites reporting spoilers thing. This includes alluding to spoilers, talking about talking about spoilers. Don’t try and get cute about it, don’t spoil the movie for other people period!

please re-read the spoiler policy above.


Haha, subtle hint embedded In there them reviews lol…

Still wish there had been an arg or acknowledgement that there wouldn’t be one. Oh well.

Regarding the reviewer….Have never understood the great love for TESB, I love the stuff on Hoth but it changes after that. Maybe I was just at the age (21). It’s just smug.

Just turned off FX’s “superhero marathon” and put in Superman II, so you have to excuse me the battle for Metropolis is about to start.

Boborci – are you on the ’round the world jaunt with the rest of the gang? Tell us of your adventures…

This is going to be an exciting movie — surely one of the 2 or 3 best we’ve ever seen. Anyone who exposes (real or even decoy) spoilers here are jerks.

Just as I thought. The most negative reviews came from non-Trekker critics complaining about the villain and Trek’s past. Keep in mind, these are people who never liked the franchise to begin with. Who gives a flying hoot what they think? They’re also in the minority.

Apologies, Anthony, I didn’t think my comment counted as being spoilery. I was just concerned over the movie getting bad word of mouth from some quarters. I will be more careful (if I’m not banned).

“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.”

Good that I’ve blocked disqus & Co.

I haven’t seen it yet—just 1 1/2 weeks to go—, but from reading these reviews, and from my experience with ST09 and other Abrams-directed films, STID will probably be 3 out of 5. :)

PS: I want a new round of TV Trek.

@ 15

Were you really expecting something like TESB? This is JJ and crew, where everything is about the style and none about substance.

It’s not a secret that I’m a big fan of STTMP, and I can remember saying then that no movie reviewer is going to like a movie based on a “failed” TV series. I was pretty much proven right. Reviewers shouldnt let opinions (and expectations) cloud their judgement.

That’s the second time I’ve made Bob laugh. I think I deserve some free tickets or something ; )

Nick Dent’s criticisms were over the top and totally insensitive. The guy should be embarrassed with himself.


I totally agree.


“The Empire Strikes Back” ranks as not only one of the greatest sequels ever made, but as one of the greatest movies ever, period. It’s an utter classic. The best of the whole saga.

@30 I remember leaving TESB totally pissed at the “cliffhanger” ending. Maybe in ’80 I was still smarting from the general reaction to STTMP. Funny TWOK didn’t leave me that way. Maybe it’s that Nick Meyer killed Spock and the Genisis planet sequence was an after thought.

I don’t think we can really expect any kind of Star Trek involving exploration unless it’s on TV. If they made a Trek movie about exploration, chances are only Trekkies would go see it and that wouldn’t result in a large box office at all. I’m still hoping that Trek returns to TV and in the hands of someone that can make a great Star Trek and a great TV show.

IGN’s review is telling:

“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 basically says there’s a lot to pick apart, but like the first film, it rolls by so fast it’s hard to remember what it was by the time it’s all over. I suppose this is like a good magic trick, as long as the trick pays off, it doesn’t matter how much slight of hand is required to distract the viewer from the disappointing mechanics.

It also means that when the DVD comes out, it’s going to get nasty around here …

Nick Dent makes this comment ” this one’s just another playback of America’s obsession with domestic terrorism.” A couple of things here. Dent needs to realize that Star Trek has a long history of making political commentary. See “A Private Little War”, “Omega Glory” etc. Heck, Star Trek IV was an environmental movie.

I applaud the Supreme Court for going deeper. The late critic Roger Ebert complained that Star Trek 2009 lacked those philosophical and scientific ideas. Perhaps this Star Trek will change that.

Finally, Dent has to realize with the recent events in Boston, domestic terrorism is a relevant issue. Issues surrounding terrorism today is how doe we treat the suspect? Rights for a citizen or enemy combatant?

@33 DVD, hell……I’m waiting for the foto-novel.

Porthos who has still not forgiven Richard Anoiable for editing scenes out of the STTMP foto-novel.

@33 DVD, hell……I’m waiting for the foto-novel.

Porthos who has still not forgiven Richard Anoiable for editing scenes out of the STTMP foto-novel.

“Were you really expecting something like TESB? This is JJ and crew, where everything is about the style and none about substance.”

Expecting? Not really! I don’t think anyone was so openly critical of Trek 2009 on this site as myself (and publicly tangled with Bob Orci on any number of occasions as a result). But this IS five years later, and a different film. The theme of terrorism projected into the Star Trek future has potential, as does the idea of Starfleet rediscovering its core values of peaceful exploration and scientific discovery. I also thought the last trailer looked terrific; maybe one of the best trailers for a Trek movie, ever. That said, given my disappointment in 2009 it would be a stretch to say that I’m even hopeful at this point. But I’m certainly willing to give INTO DARKNESS a fair chance.

Mr. Anthony when Sfdebris does a general review of this film with Confused Matthew (like he’s probably going to do next month) are you going to post it here like you did with the star trek 09 review he did?

I mean I trust his opinion far more than IGN or any other mainstream source honestly and I think alot of others when hearing or seeing his work would agree, that he’s far more trustworthy in that regard and I’m just curious if that was a one time deal here.

# 5, Anthony,

Personally I’m fine with reviews after the Euro release dates – I’ve read *all* the spoilers and they have not dampened my enthusiasm one iota!

That said, it might be best to wait until May 16 or 18 …

Failing that, a big ol’ SPOILERS headline should do for the Euro release reviews.

Fan reviews look like a lot of fun; as usual, I’ll be here to defend Spock/Uhura, because [Bob Orci I hope you see this] I absolutely love this couple and what they do for the dynamic of the crew of Enterprise.

10 & 14, Agreed, LOL!

15, 27, 30, I don’t get all this love for TESB and how great it was as sci-fi. Like Trek 2009, it was a really good sci-fi adventure flick. It wasn’t super-deep. And its weaponry was reedeekulus [The elephant-like “tanks” so easily defeated by Luke, et. al.] It is my favorite of the SWars trilogy [even though – sob! – Han and Leia are separated] b/c its director, Irv Kirschner, was the best one of the SW films. Also the Hero’s Journey allegory was fabulous.

Sounds to me (from ST2009) like Kirk is on the same journey.

Knowing what I know so far (having seen the spoilers spreading like wildfire throughout Tumblr…seriously, avoid any Star Trek-related tags there if you’re at all afraid of being spoiled), I’m pleased to see a mostly positive set of press reviews. I just hope the public reviews will be just as positive.

The ninth paragraph in the Gizmodo Australia review cites a non-Trek TV show. They could have just as easily fit Star Trek: The Next Generation into that statement. Of course, I’m sure their readership knows the cited TV show better than TNG.

“Been there done that” is cause and effect for us dude – alas star trek essential…!

It’s been a while since I’ve commented on TrekMovie, but #15 has compelled me to respond:

To you sir, saying the 2009 film lacked substance is not very fair criticism, considering the first five minutes involved one of the most touching moments in all of Star Trek. But even if we said it was fair criticism for that movie, I think it’s evident from the trailers that in STID John Harrison is the type of antagonist who likes to mess with the protagonist’s emotions. That to me equates lots of substance by the time the credits roll. It may not end up being as substance filled as TESB, but then again, does Star Trek really need to be copying Star Wars?

Also, good to see you around here again Mr. Orci! I want to personally say, thank you very much for all of the hard work you and the rest of the crew have put into making this movie into another amazing “Trek.”

31 porthoses bitch

It was the Genisis planet with Spock in his sunglasses case was a late decision.

Yeah it’s interesting that the more critical reviews seem to indicate the film is too Star Trek-like, which is a funny thing to complain about in a Star Trek movie. Callbacks and winks are part-and-parcel to reboots these days, especially in the comic/sci-fi genres. Heck, this is Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary year, and the recent slate of episodes airing lately have been jam-packed with references to the classic series. You can get too fan-service-y I suppose, but as long as folks who don’t get the references can still enjoy the movie I don’t see a problem.


Never said or even implied that I wanted Trek to copy or in any way be beholden to the STAR WARS franchise. Heaven forbid. What I did say was that I hoped INTO DARKNESS would fulfill a similar role in the Abrams trilogy that EMPIRE did in Lucas’–it broadened and darkened the themes and mythos of the SW universe kicking the saga’s visual and kinetic sweep to a whole new level. If you like, please feel free to substitute what THE DARK KNIGHT did for Batman, or CASINO ROYALE for James Bond.

As for the substance (or lack thereof) in Trek 2009, after literally dozens of postings here and elsewhere I have no desire whatsoever to reopen that particular vat of Budwiser. :-). Let us respectfully agree to disagree, and look towards the future.

I just noticed the movie opens on May 31st in my country. WHY?


its happens, all countries have diffeent dates. people who live in the uk get to see the film 1 week earlier than people in the usa

I don’t think that review suggested it was too Star Trek. I think it said that it was a redundant movie, retreading the same old things we’ve seen a million times, rather than trying something new and taking us somewhere we haven’t been so many times. #14, 16 It’s more like saying I ordered a seafood chowder and the only meat in it is squid.

Well, it’s better than the reviews that Star Trek the Video Game has been getting. The only problem I’ll have with this movie is if everyone decides, “Hey, our more Earth bound Star Trek worked. Let’s make the next one more Earth focused!”.

I was attending the Moscow premiere…

Sorry to disappoint you, but I do nor share the perspective of those reviews.
In fact now, after INTO DARKNESS, the “original” from 2009, looks like a much better film, and a much original take.

Sorry, but be prepared for a disappointment.