I hate writing movie reviews sometimes. I’m not quite sure why anyone would read them ahead of seeing a movie other than a simple “yes see it” or “no don’t,” because they just give you preconceived notions of what to expect, and warp your perception before the film even starts.
Rather, I think reviews are much more useless after you’ve seen a film so you can really discuss it. In my Star Trek review yesterday, I simply had to say “there were some questionable and unclear aspects of the plot,” rather than “the plot sucked because of X, Y and Z scenes.”
Well, I’m doing that today. Into the Darkness is a film I’m liking less and less the more I think about it. Yes, the original Star Trek had its share of issues and plot holes, but Darkness is much, much worse to me, and I don’t understand how it’s racked up such positive reviews.
I sat down and wrote out all the frustrating, confusing or ridiculous moments that bothered me in the film. See if they match up with any of your own.
1. I understand why that volcano erupting in the opening scene would have wiped out that local tribe of aliens, but can you tell me how exactly it would wipe out an entire planet?
2. Okay, so being spotted by primitive aliens species is against the Prime Directive or whatever, but why? Why is it that a bunch of stone age aliens can’t see a spaceship if it means it will save their lives? It’s better for them to just die instead of tell their kids some sort about some magic flying sky god who saved them?
3. When Kirk is demoted to first officer because of this incident and Pike is given the Enterprise, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character death more obviously telegraphed.
4. I had no issue with the rather clever way Harrison blew up the archive/secret lab, but when he attacks Starfleet HQ? You’re telling me with all your superhuman intelligence, you couldn’t have found a ship with one missile that would have blown up every single person in that room in one shot? Or you could have even just crashed through the window yourself and murdered everyone on the spot like you did later when you killed an enormous battalion of Klingon warriors single handedly. Instead, who even died? Pike and… a few random extras?
5. Then he’s teleporting from Earth…to the Klingon homeworld. Okay, what the f***? I get that they’re researching “advanced warp technology” but that’s just ludicrous, to suddenly have the ability to beam someone across the entire galaxy. Why even have space ships anymore if that technology exists?
6. What the hell was the point of keeping Harrison’s identity a secret? We all thought he was Khan as soon as his character was announced, and guess what? He was Khan. And really, this reveal only is aimed at the Star Trek enthusiast audience, who already guessed that’s who he was in the first place. The rest of the audience, and everyone in the movie for that matter, doesn’t care. When he goes “My name is KHAN!” everyone just sort of shrugs because that means nothing to them.
7. Carol Marcus being disguised as Carol Whoever was more relevant to the actual story, in theory, but I have never met a more thoroughly useless, unnecessary character. I thought she would have some fun interactions with Spock as they sparred over science, which she didn’t, then I thought she’d at least be a love interest for Kirk, which she wasn’t, despite managing to strip to her underwear in a non-sexual way. Rather, the ONLY scene where she MIGHT have been important was when her father showed up to blow up the Enterprise, but he beamed her off straightaway anyway, and she just became a damsel in distress.
8. I guess she helped disarm that torpedo to save Bones, but I take issue with the fact that they claim the transporter couldn’t distinguish between him and the torpedo, so they couldn’t beam him up. Seriously? You beamed up Spock inside a pool of molten lava and exploding rocks like an hour ago!
9. Speaking of these torpedos, what the f*** was up with these torpedos? They were like the entire crux of the plot, yet never once did I understand what the plan was with them. So, Khan smuggled his crew inside the torpedos, but then Starfleet ordered them to be shot at him when he was hiding on the Klingon homeworld? Did they know that there were people in them? Was the plan to fill the Klingon homeworld with 72 superhumans that would wreck havoc and start a war? Did Khan know that the Enterprise would show up with these torpedos that housed his crew? Why would Starfleet have brought Khan’s crew to him inside torpedos which would kill him and them? Just to be a dick? All of this was incredibly goddamn confusing.
10. Similarly weird was Khan’s origin story. Yes, I know it’s the same as the original series, but the way it was explained was incredibly unhelpful. So Khan and his crew were all 300 year old genetic experiments with superhuman strength and knowledge, that are capable of designing weapon systems in the present day somehow. Sure, fine. But 300 years ago when the move takes place in like 2260 would be 1960. In the original show, these genetic-inspired wars took place in the ’90s, which was the future back when the show was made, but here it’s just confusing for anyone who was trying to do the math in their head, like me.
11. The only part of the plot that remotely made sense to me was Admiral Robocop trying to bait a war with the Klingons. But how did he know that Khan would beam himself to that planet? Also, why the hell DID Khan beam himself to that planet? These grand master plans on both sides seem to have mostly been made up on the fly unless I’m missing something.
12. The women in this movie sucked. Like, as characters, not through any fault of the actresses. I’ve already explained how Alice Eve’s Carol was incredibly useless, but I was sad to see Uhura relegated to the same fate. She existed solely to humanize Spock in a few scenes, and then she talked to the Klingons for two seconds until she starts to get choked to death. JJ Abrams has given us Alias and Felicity, why do all the female character do nothing in this movie?
13. Just like the film telegraphed Pike’s death early on, it telegraphed that Kirk would live equally loudly. That was supposed to be an emotional scene as Kirk sacrifices himself for his crew and dies in front of Spock (a mirror of Wrath of Khan), but if you had been paying any attention to the film, you knew it was a bluff. The scene where Bones injects the Tribble with Khan’s blood spelled out in big honking letters “SOMEONE WILL DIE THEN BE RESURRECTED” and we were simply waiting for that to happen the rest of the film. And then it did.
14. I’m perplexed as to why with 72 other frozen superhumans on board, Bones needed to tell Spock to take Khan alive so his blood could save Kirk. Would none of the other super blood work? And take him ALIVE? Really? You can’t shoot him in the head and then stick a needle in his arm? I’m pretty sure the blood would work fine either way, short of him being completely vaporized.
15. I get that the movie wanted to remind us of the parallel timeline thing, but as soon as Spock talked to future Spock, the movie simply became Wrath of Khan to an annoying degree. We really don’t need these universes to mirror each other to the point where literally the entire story is fan service.
16. Khan the terrorist has to crash his ship into a bunch of buildings because 9/11.