Be prepared – when you climb aboard this particular Enterprise rollercoaster, you will only be allowed off once Kirk and crew have finally got the bad guys.
It is relentless Trek, with plenty of nods to the original characters and events, combined with non-stop action or plot so that you don’t have time to think about some of the weaker threads. Even the lighter conversations take place over an urgent countdown, or Klingon attack.
The Kirk/Spock relationship develops nicely, with Chris Pine settling into the overgrown boy scout antics of Kirk, and Zachary Quinto masterfully meshing his Vulcan and human halves. Benedict Cumberbatch is icy and calculating as John Harrison, and I was mightily impressed by his performance in the fighting scenes (which was something I was not expecting).
In going after the bad guy, there’s a definite feel of post-9/11 war on terror and tracking down “the man who did my daddy wrong”, but I’m not sure pursuing that thread leads to a tidy conclusion as there are too many unanswered questions.
A few petty gripes: the ending was just a little rushed, there are a few loose ends which could have done with either tidying up or being definitely signalled for future films, and mostly, the under-use of the McCoy character. Karl Urban is great as Bones, and far too good an actor to be relegated to a bit-part. The original series places far more weight on the triangle of Kirk/Spock/McCoy, and I hope this is addressed next time round.
Not quite as good as JJ Abrams first Trek outing, but a great follow-up nevertheless.