By James Nelson
After my last post on the latest Star Trek movies coming out, I realized that I had only seen Star Trek Into Darkness once, and it was when it came out. It dawned on me that this was the only movie I’ve not see five or six times over (That’s right, I’ve watched The Motion Picture and The Final Frontier that many times). I was possibly being too harsh on it, so I decided I would watch it again, and this time with proper expectations (knowing that it was going to be one of the mediocre installments). I was wrong. It’s worse than I remembered. There be spoilers here!
Instead of doing a blow by blow review (which I don’t have the stomach to do), I’m going to list the many, many problems it has. I will endeavore to list these in the order of severity.
10. Carol Marcus and Her Clothes (or lack thereof)
This might seem like a nitpick, but it’s not. Why in the name of all that is holy does a woman have to change her duty uniform to go into a “flight suit” uniform? As a matter of fact, why do they have a million uniforms at all, why not one? You know, like they’ve alway had. There was only ever a duty uniform and then a dress uniform (Captains got to wear that weird wrap around V-Neck thing). In addition, the whole scene where Carol Marcus changes is there strictly so we can see her in her underwear. It’s a stupid use of resources, and it’s sexist.
9. The Enterprise is a bitch
There’s no other way to say it. Seriously, in every movie we’ve seen so far the Enterprise has been smacked around relentlessly. First the Narada and it’s overwhelming Borg infused future tech power, and now this advanced space ship made for war designed by Khan, so of course it’s going to decimate a brand new starship (the pride and apex of Federation technology). We have never, in ANY OTHER MOVIE seen the Enterprise so completely outmatched. Even in Wrath of Khan the Reliant was only able to match them because it was a dirty surprise attack. In The Search for Spock and The Undiscovered Country the Enterprise at least got to fire a shot. That’s right: in this entire movie the Enterprise never fired a single phaser.
8. The Captain’s Oath
This is an easy one: The captain’s oath is the opening monologue to the original series? Does it always include a statement about their five year mission? How does this work?
7. Admiral Marcus’s torpedoes
Okay, so Admiral Marcus’s machiavellian plan is to use long range proton torpedoes to execute Khan, without a trial, who is seeking refuge on Qo’noS, knowing that the Klingons would take this unwarranted aggression from the Federation as an act of war. There’s only one problem with this: Khan removed the fuel source of the torpedoes to hide his crew. Normally I’d take this as meaning Marcus didn’t know this, but Khan clearly states later in the movie that he was caught. So if he was caught, and Marcus knew that those torpedoes couldn’t be fired, how did he expect Khan to be killed? The only way this makes sense is if when Khan was caught they didn’t know that they were in the missiles, but we know FOR A FACT that Marcus knew about it because: 1) the Section 31 agents wouldn’t tell Scotty what the fuel source was (torpedoes are people!) and 2) Carol Marcus was using a tricorder on them to check their heart rate. Ugh. There’s too many things wrong with this.
6. The Volcano Scene
So, this is where you are going to start noticing a pattern with the rest of this list. Basically, the writers did not establish rules for how technology works in their movies and blatantly disregarded the rules previously established by the franchise (cause, you know, apparently the Narada going back in time changed the laws of physics too). So, in the scene Spock is air dropped into a Volcano to detonate a cold fusion device to stop a volcano from erupting and killing a pre-warp civilization. 1) This is NOT HOW COLD FUSION WORKS! 2) IF you were able to create a device that could freeze magma pumping from the core of a planet, you would only create a pressurize cap on top of the Volcano thereby creating an even more explosive eruption, a la Mount St .Helens. 3) If you could get said device to work you don’t need to airdrop a human. Starfleet has very advanced probes that can travel at warp and in an atmosphere that could land inside the Volcano, or you know, take the warhead out of a proton torpedo and shoot at the Volcano from high orbit. It would look like a meteor so the pre-warp civ wouldn’t bat an eye at it. 4) God I can’t believe I’m still writing about this, warp drives are not used to hover around. They are for going faster than light. Below that you use impulse or thrusters. NONE of these things require an intake manifold, meaning that it could not get clogged with ash and overheat and explode like what happens here. It’s a closed system. Ash is not a factor.
Just, I don’t know what to say. It takes 1 minute and 50 seconds to get from the neutral zone to the moon. How? Qo’noS is ten minutes one way from the neutral zone, so lets say 12 minutes. Qo’noS is 90 light years away from Earth (according to Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wikipedia), meaning it’s approximately 9.46×10 to the twelfth power TIMES 90 kilometers away, meaning I can’t even tell you what number that is much less the distance traveled per minute. According to Memory Alpha it should take 5 days to cross 40 light years, so yeah, they just made that up. It takes no time to get anywhere and space is really, really small.
4. Wacky Transporter Shenanigans
So the writers essentially devolved to Dr. Who standards of logic when writing for the transporters. They literally only work when it’s expedient to the plot. For some weird reason around the moon they couldn’t beam to the Vengeance, but later on they could only beam to earth and not beam Khan back to the Enterprise. Admiral Marcus is able to beam his daughter off the Enterprise WHILE THE SHIELDS ARE UP, which is a giant Star Trek no-no. Yet, given his ability to find where his daughter is exactly at the moment in time, he us unable to locate Khan to beam him out.
3. Spock’s Rage
Listen, Spock is a VULCAN. Their big schtick is that they don’t show emotion. It is literally Spock’s thing. Kirk is the horny one. McCoy is the angry one. Spock feels nothing, except he feels everything and has to lock it up in his mind so as to be a real Vulcan. He’s kind of like Elsa in Frozen, he can’t let them know. I get that at the end of the movie he’s angry that he just lost his best friend (but really, they’re not friends, I’ll ge to that in a minute), but in the original series Spock is down right cold blooded. It’s not until the later movies that he starts feeling warm and fuzzy. It’s his lack of emotion that gives so much meaning to the moments when he does show emotion, even if it’s just a minor inflection of his voice, like when Spock says “I have been, and forever shall be, your friend.” That makes those moments carry more weight, and having him go all rage monster in every movie makes those moments work less.
2. Kirk’s Death
Here’s the big one. I get what they were doing. It’s an inverse of Wrath of Khan’s ending and it serves the story point of Kirk cares more about his crew than himself. 1) This theme is redundant. He learned this when he saw Marcus was going to kill him and his crew and there was nothing to do about it. You can see it in his eyes when he says “I’m sorry.” 2) Do feed me some garbage about these two being friends. They’re not friends yet. We’ve not seen them have a long enough, and deep enough, relationship to actually earn that kind of emotional reaction from Spock. The scene just didn’t work because I don’t believe they really understand each other, or that they even really like each other. Spock’s death was after almost 100 episodes and two movies. They shouldn’t have even tried to emulate it (plus you knew he was coming back, so why bother).
1. Khan and his blood
This one earns the top spot because of how blatantly it shows that these guys just rushed this movie (and also had never seen Space Seed). 1) Khan’s full name is Khan Noonien Singh. He’s not white. He’s probably a Pashtun, possibly Indian. The point is with a name like that you don’t look like Benedict Cumberbatch. You look more like Irrfan Khan. 2) If you haven’t seen Space Seed or The Wrath of Khan, this movie does almost nothing to explain to you who Khan is. You know he’s genetically modified (but why?) you know he’s 300 years old (so he’s from the 1950s?), and that for some reason he wants to kill people who are inferior (huh?). So basically, Khan bad, Kirk good? Okay, sure. 3) So Khan’s blood has a regeneration factor (that he obviously NEVER had in Wrath of Khan. Cause, you know, Narada and whatnot changed everything 300 years before they entered the timeline) and it’s used to cure Kirk from being deadsies. This completely cheapens the nature of that death. When Spock dies, we had to go through three movies before he was actually back to normal. We had to spend a whole movie just bringing him back, and in the process Kirk lost his career, his ship, and his son. In this we get some cheap one liners and everything is good to go. Kirk learned that he can do whatever he wants a win, cause he has plot armor.
That’s it. I’m done. I can’t talk about this movie anymore. I’m gonna have to watch The Wrath of Khan just to wash this awful taste out of my mouth.
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