Early UK & NZ Into Darkness Reviews Very Positive – Including Empire, Total Film, Guardian and more

There are more reviews for Star Trek Into Darkness coming in from overseas and and they remain, in general, very positive; even, in some cases, glowing. Today we take a look at some of the latest (spoiler-free) reviews coming from the mainstream press in the UK and New Zealand including Empire, The Guardian, Total Film and many more.


Early UK & NZ Into Darkness Reviews Very Positive

A few days ago TrekMovie reported on the first reviews for Star Trek Into Darkness (primarily coming out of Australia). More are now coming online, now including some of the mainstream press in the UK and New Zealand. The latest reviews have the film earning earned 4 to 4.5 stars out of five from the NZ and UK critics. The consensus is the film is a fast-paced action adventure romp and while it’s not perfect, none of its flaws are fatal.

Below are some quotes and summaries of the latest reviews. Again note that while the reviews are spoiler-free the comments below some of them are not so bear that in mind before clicking the links.

The UK’s Empire Magazine: 4/5 stars. Its reviewer Ian Freer extols the film’s sense of fun and adds,

“If this is Abrams’ final frontier, he has left Star Trek in a good place, both in the fictional universe and as a franchise. In some sense; the title is misleading. Into Darkness is a blast, fun, funny, spectacular and exhilarating. The rule of great even numbered Trek movies continues.”

Empire Complete Review

In addition to the print review, Empire also offers a podcast which covers Star Trek into Darkness in addition to some other films, such as Iron Man 3. The Star Trek part of the discussion begins at 52:30 minutes and lasts ten minutes. James Dyer discusses lens flare, 3D adaptations and Klingons. He adds it feels "Trekkier than the first film’, it is much faster paced and is lovingly put together": Empire Podcast

Total Film: 4/5 stars. Reviewer Matthew Leyland notes:

“Mostly, this is 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… this is a franchise flick that demands fanboy foreknowledge far less than it does slack jaws and high stamina.”

Total Film Review

Unlike their colleagues in Australia who gave the film a mere 2/5 stars, Time Out UK gives the film 4/5 stars. Dave Calhoun comments that it is

"[Star Trek Into Darkness is] a stop-gap tale that’s modest, fun and briefly amusing rather than one that breaks new ground or offers hugely memorable set pieces.”

 However, he goes on to add:

"Only when we’re treated to a gratuitous, over-the-shoulder underwear shot of Alice Eve as the Enterprise’s new recruit does this breeziness tip into recklessness. It’s here that we sense the filmmakers’ worry that the whole thing might be a bit too boyish and sexless."

Time Out London Review

UK Guardian: 4/5 stars. Andrew Pulver says the film is

"an astute, exhilarating concoction"

Guardian Review

Digital Spy: 4/5 Stars. Emma Dibdin focuses on the characterizations in her review, saying:

“It’s character-rich writing across the board that makes Into Darkness the triumph it is but Spock’s journey stands out, re-introducing emotional seems from 2009’s Star Trek and taking them to their logical (if you will) extreme…There are moments in Cumber-batch’s hypnotic, placid performance where you’ll question whether Harrison is a villain at all – until he strikes, and you wonder how you ever doubted it. He is genuinely terrifying, quasi-reptilian, combining visceral physical threat with a knack for emotional manipulation that wrong-foots Kirk in much the same way it does us.”

Digital Spy Review

Clickonline 4/5 Stars. Reviewer Daniel Anderson is also impressed, saying

“Star Trek Into Darkness is the finest film yet from JJ Abrams, something that bodes well for his future take on that other great franchise, Star Wars Episode VII. Great action, a compelling story and a spectacular performance from Benedict Cumberbatch make this one of the highlights of the summer movie season.”

Click Online Review

UK site Den of Geek: 4/5 Stars. Chris Pine fans should be happy with Simon Brew’s review which notes:

"It’s arguably Chris Pine who’s the hidden-in-plain-sight gem here. His James Tiberius Kirk bubbles with humour, rebellion and non-conformity, before revealing a steel undercoat when re-quired. "They conclude, "“An exciting, entertaining and pretty excellent blockbuster. Let the clamour for another film start right here…”

Den Of Geek Review

The UK’s HeyUGuys: 4/5 stars. Reviewer Jon Lyus is even more effusive about the film, saying:

“Star Trek Into Darkness will send Trekkers into paroxysms of delight. The rest of the audience will be thrown back and forth from enjoyment to frustration but ultimately leave satisfied.”

Hey U Guys Review

New Zealand’s Stuff: 4.5/5 stars. Chris Gardner, says:

“Abrams has crafted another movie with anchors in Star Trek’s past and today’s reality which will be embraced equally by film goers who know a tribble from a trill and those who don’t.”. (You should be aware that the full review contains spoilers.)

Stuff New Zealand Review

The feeling of the current crop of reviews could be all summed up in the New Zealand Herald 4/5 star review. Russell Bailie writes,

"[Star Trek Into Darkness is] one heck of an epic action flick that proves in this blockbuster season, superheroes aren’t everything… Never heard of this Star Trek thing before? Here’s a great place to start.”

–  New Zealand Herald Review


Bottom Line: So Far So Good

While the film still has only been reviewed by a fraction of the total movie reviewer population worldwide, the response so far appears quite positive.

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.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Awesome news!

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

IM3 is doing good box office in foreign markets that Trek does well in, too. Hopefully this bodes well, considering that pre-sales have been reported to be healthy…

So far, I read positive things such as “fast paced, no expository lagging in the middle..good summer film..” but how much of this film is STAR TREK?

I’m having doubts…

More than slight spoilers in Stuff New Zealand Review, I would say.

I grow fatigued….AGAIN.

@ 4

I love your name because I’ve always criticized Star Trek 2009 as a good movie but light in Star Trek terms. I’m for great action and fun as the next guy but still yearn for a Star Trek film to be Star Trek. Here’s some hope. The Supreme Court has announced they wanted to go deeper for the second movie and the Prime Directive is in the clips and the first nine minutes of the movie. IMAX. I’m hopeful.

@ 4

I love your name because I’ve always criticized Star Trek 2009 as a good movie but light in Star Trek terms. I’m for great action and fun as the next guy but still yearn for a Star Trek film to be Star Trek. Here’s some hope. The Supreme Court has announced they wanted to go deeper for the second movie and the Prime Directive is in the clips and the first nine minutes of the movie. IMAX. I’m hopeful.

These reviews were obviously not written by a Star Trek fan. They didn’t complain at all, thought it was a good film even though it was nothing like the stuff that came before that killed the franchise (even to the point where we as fans tuned out)…

Can’t wait. I don’t wanna pay 15 bucks a ticket to get bored to tears, watch my Enterprise get controlled by a joy stick or have some PC message rammed down my throat. Save that for when it returns to TV

‘”It’s arguably Chris Pine who’s the hidden-in-plain-sight gem here.’

Yes, I have known that for quite some time. His portrayal of any character shows this. His character portrayals can indeed be the “hidden-in-plain-sight gem” bringing a something a little special to a film which might otherwise be dire.

I love seeing him in film. I have not been disappointed at all with anything I have seen of him. Maybe he has surpassed himself in STID…7 more days to go until I get to see “my captain” and I think he will be very much Jim Kirk with a few recognizable prime/Kirk qualities in there as well. So excited, so nervous.

I hope I will wholeheartedly agree with all those positive reviews!

hey Anthony … did you see this?
Rotten Tomatoes’s tomatometer has STID at 100%!!!!

“How much of this is Star Trek”?

Star Trek has had MANY action episodes. Know your history.

Let’s get this straight – a theatrical version of “City” won’t work in film. It just won’t. Nobody’s actually seen it and people are crapping over it because it has action. I hate to break it to you people, but Star Trek has had action episodes and not a single person in 40 years has complained.

This reminds me of when shortly before TNG was released, people were petitioning Paramount to not make it.

Put in your ear plugs naysayers, the buzz is getting louder and louder!! :). Can’t wait!!

Thanks Anthony… Great Spoiler Free Reviews!!!

Nice to hear great things about Pine’s Kirk!

I don’t get fans who say this doesn’t sound like Star Trek.


By that I mean, Star Trek is many things to many people and has evolved over time with the expectations put upon it by its own success and the expectations of a real world audience, from Roddenberry to Meyer and Benett to Berman and now Abrams, each era of Star Trek has brought something new to the table so what is Star Trek? I’d say Trek was too many things for it to be narrowed down to specifics and so the thought of this or its 2009 predecessor not being Star Trek is like suggesting that digital books aren’t books because their not written on paper? Sure ok we all love the physical book, the book is still around but does that mean we shouldn’t explore new ways for people to read?

Great action flic like star wars, exactly.

Robman007, you have the right idea. These reviews sound great all around, and this films sounds like one worth my money.

I am fond of all the Trek films in one way or another, and I attached a weird nostalgia to them despite being too young to have seen the TOS ones in theatres. They are, however, not often the cerebral or even thoughtful films we might think of them as. Star Trek on the silver screen has never really been about exploration or the dialogue in the way the shows have been, and I’m content to let that dividing line remain where it is. This sounds like a film with humanity, heart, and a great deal of action, and I think that’s what the best of Trek films have been.

If nothing else, Trek films are finally demonstrating awareness of the tropes and structure of film in way only a few (TWoK, FC, for instance) have managed. And I can respect that.

Star Trek is a dessert topping and a floor wax.

The problem is, people want one or the other and can’t understand it’s both.

Thanks for the thanks but actually article was written by Geri, a new contributor who is currently assigned to keep track of STID reviews. She will be doing more updates.

I am avoiding reading reviews so as to not cloud my review

RE: RT 100%
we didnt include that because there arent enough reviews being counted yet. I suspect the film will settle down to a more realistic number once the USA reviews go online next week

Dessert topping and floor wax? What?

Wife and I decided early on to not watch the trailers, (except for the 1st one), or read any of the spoilers. These reviews are all the hype we need.

Thanks to Geri for the great coverage.

Looks like this will be the first time two Star Trek films have gotten good reviews in a row. Bennett and Berman never achieved that – kudos to Abrams and company.

By the way, Star Trek is trending on Yahoo UK.

Very pleased that several of these reviews go out of their way to state that INTO DARKNESS is more substantive than its predecessor (admittedly a pretty low bar, but still). I continue to hope.


Don’t forget though, we’ve reached the time and age where it isn’t politically correct to tell the truth.

I don’t trust any of the reviews, or spoilers. Some of them have credibility, but I’m looking forward to sitting in the theater and deciding for myself.

I don’t have my hopes up that it will be a great Star Trek movie, but I am hoping it will be an enjoyable action flick.

So far, so EXCELLENT!!

Thanks for the appreciation, guys. Apologies if I missed any spoilers. There was, as you can imagine, an awful lot of material to cover. Happily it was all so positive.

@19 Perfect!

@24 It’s a med-high bar that saves the franchise.

One thing is clear: The people claiming Abrams’ films aren’t Star Trek clearly do NOT know their Trek history. It’s the most Star Trek-like of ANY of the films to date.


Ahh yes, because we all know film reviewers are famous for holding back their opinions.

Oh boy…

@25: “Don’t forget though, we’ve reached the time and age where it isn’t politically correct to tell the truth.”

Play the victim card again. Cripes that is a stupid thing to say.

These reviews are great and all, but I’m looking forward to reading a review by a real Star Trek fan. Someone who is neither an Abrams-hater nor a Abrams-worshipper. Just just a straight forward Trekkie who just knows every detail of TOS and on, but also appreciates what Abrams has done for the franchise.

@21. Keachick – I think this comes from SCTV.

Anyone remember the end of The Right Stuff ? Gus Grissom unable to contain himself as Gordon Cooper lifts off, stands up and hollers “Go, Hotdog,a go !”……yeah, its like that…. go, Star Trek, go !

#33 – Reviews from Trek fans on one of the biggest Trek forums lucky enough to attend the premiere in Australia were very positive.

It seems that most theories surrounding this film are beginning to pan out and while I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun I was hoping for something entirely new instead of a reinterpretation of existing material.

Even for those who weren’t fans of the 2009 movie, what can be said about it is that the story was in and of itself entirely new.

#4 “So far, I read positive things such as “fast paced, no expository lagging in the middle..good summer film..” but how much of this film is STAR TREK?”

Depends…if you’re looking for old school Star Trek, all of it. . This movie appears to fun,smart, action packed sci-fi adventure laced with romance and humor.

if you’re looking for something twisted in technobabble, heavy with yawn inducing soap opera and severely lacking in humor and action then you would be best served to pop in a sampling from the TNG era…you’re not gonna find THAT kind of Star Trek in this movie.

I’m loving all the possitive reviews, this film is gonna come on like gangbusters!

Actually the even number tradition ended with ST3 and cemented with ST:Nemesis, which was the 10th movie by the way.

Just finished watching my BOBW Blu ray hadn’t realized what a bad taste Insurrection and Nemisis had left in my brain for STTNG.

Just out of curiosity what does everyone here plan on watching to satiate themselves for the next two weeks?

“@24 It’s a med-high bar that saves the franchise.”

Was there supposed to be something substantive in this reply? And in any case, “saves the franchise” for what?

Depends…if you’re looking for old school Star Trek, all of it. . This movie appears to fun,smart, action packed sci-fi adventure laced with romance and humor.”

Well, I’ll agree that TOS was indeed all of those things. (Hell ive even over the years read an interview or two where Rick Berman was willing to cop to it.). I’ll even concede, in the interest of fairness (and as I have done previously) that with Trek 2009 Abrams did a fair job of reviving that sense of swashbuckling fun. Where we differ is your implication that TOS at its best is comprised only of those things.


I’m looking forward to Mr Quinto’s performance with the same anticipation as you are Mr Pine’s! And everyone else’s of course :)

Do you think Pine should keep his beard for ST3? I think it really makes him look dashing, like Errol Flynn.

So far, we get 4 out of 5 reviews all the time. Of course, it’s positive and the film will be certified “fresh” at RottenTomatoes if that trend continues, but looking at the trailers and rumors, this movie looks so fantastic I’d give it 6 out 5 if that was an option.

And THIS is the difference between a casual viewer and a Trekkie I guess. Yes, it’s a great popcorn summer flick for those not invested in the franchise but for those wo have been for decades, it’s a whole lotta more than that. It’s gonna be THE movie of the decade (unless you instist on hating it, because it’s not a 60s TV show)…

No beard for kirk, please I know CP has some acne scars ( but all they do is make him ” ruggedly handsome”).

Would be interesting to see Pine in a Steve McQueen biopic.

Hm, not pleased to hear about Kirk hanging from more ledges. He already did plenty of that in the first film. And I would definitely like more character bonding scenes than I’m hearing about here, but I can’t judge until I’ve seen. Kirk can hang from a ledge all movie long as long as it’s an awesome film and there’s a very good reason for him to be doing that hanging.

I’m glad the reviews are positive. I don’t want this film to fail, even if I wind up not liking it. I want to see Star Trek succeed. That’s the only way it will improve. TOS, TNG DS9, VOY and ENT all sucked in their first episodes, so Abrams is actually ahead of those guys in some ways.

#45 not ahead of them at all. Remember they all were introducing new characters so were going to need time to settle. All JJ has done is take classic characters and run with them. Far easier to do.
Good reviews there but i’ve never believed reviewers.

46. Buzz Cagney – I don’t think they had that much of an advantage using established characters, especially since they had all new actors. In fact, that may be seen as a handicap because of expectations and such.

Reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt. I’ve seen movies I didn’t like then changed my mind having seen them a second time. I won’t judge this one until I’ve seen it twice. Unless it’s so bad I don’t want to see it a second time ;-)

No beard for Kirk. Chris has those acne scars but they are not as obvious as they used to be – time and healing. Chris likes his beard – look at all the promo pictures, but that may also be about not shaving too often because shaving can still set off an acne outbreak.

I am looking forward to seeing all the great cast do their thing, whether it be a little or a lot. It is very much an ensemble, with Kirk and Spock in the lead, just as it should be.

Bob Orci has taken note of what I wrote some time back – that the movie needs our hero(s) to run, jump, leap, hang and Kirk, especially, at some point, shirtless – long scene, shot from every angle. I’m not sure I will get my last wish though…:( However, there are already some nice scenes showing those lovely Pine/Kirk blue eyes, etc. I guess one can’t get too greedy and needy…

As for this movie dealing with, hinting on moral, social, philosophical issues, I am sure they will be there. Paying attention is the key.

#19 the dessert topping/floor wax reference is from an snl skit where two people argue about a product called “shimmer.”

It’s a floor wax!

It’s a dessert topping, you cow!

Hey, settle down you two! It’s both!

Good one #6 factchecker

I saw the film in Sydney ;)