I went and saw Star Trek: Into Darkness
last night. I've never been much of a Star Trek
fan, but the reboot gave me hope by establishing itself as an alternate universe from the original series. This meant the new series was free from the bounds of canon and had license to forge itís own path and become itís own story using itís own versions of the original cast. Basically, Abrams is out to create some good olí Star Trek
fan fiction. Itís with this mindset that I went to see Into Darkness in the hopes of seeing Abrams do something new and unique with a franchise thatís spent too long resting on its laurels.
Itís also with this mindset that every hope and dream I had for this new franchise died a horrible death. Even worse, I can point it all to one scene.†
Raise your shields, spoilers are incoming.
So you learn pretty early on that fugitive James Harrison is actually Khan, the infamous villain from Star Trek II
who is mostly known for killing Spock and making Kirk shout his name for all the Internet to hear. I really enjoyed how Khan was portrayed early on. Heís definitely not a nice guy, but what made him so compelling in the beginning is the mystery that surrounds him and how most of his actions are driven by protecting his ďfamilyĒ (aka his crew). I felt sympathetic to the guy. Sure he mows down Captain Pike and a room full of Starfleet captains, but I might be tempted to do the same if I felt they had killed my family in cold blood. It also helps that Admiral Marcus is a pretty shady dude himself, sending the Enterprise out to unwittingly start a war with the Klingons. It puts Kirk in the interesting situation having to side with Khan or Marcus based not on who he trusts more, but who he trusts less
. Unfortunately, all this wonderful mystery and suspense was absolutely killed by one scene right in the middle of the movie.
Are you ready for this one? You aren't ready. Iím going to tell you anyway.
Right after Kirk leaves the ship with Khan in an uneasy alliance to face down with Admiral Marcus, Spock calls Old Spock from the first movie and flat out asks him if heís heard of Khan.†
Iíll say it again.
Spock calls himself to run a background check on Khan.
It is this scene, this moment that absolutely destroyed all the subtlety and mystery the movie had. Spock just straight up calls Leonard Nimoy and asks if he has ever met someone named Khan. Nimoy first says that he doesn't want to alter the crewís destinies (Fuck you Leonard Nimoy, all you did
was mess with the timeline in the first movie you lying sack of tribbles), but then says that Khan is a really bad dude who canít be trusted and will kill them at a momentís notice. Almost on cue, Khan turns on Kirk and crushes Admiral Marcusí skull like an over-ripe cantaloupe.
After all that compelling drama the first half of the movie presented us with, we go straight into fan fiction mode. Khan goes full bore evil and attacks the Enterprise, eventually cutting power to the ship. Kirk and Spock switch places as Kirk is the one to sacrifice himself for the needs of the many by realigning some radioactive spark plugs and Spock now yells ďKHAAAAAANĒ to the delight of somebody. Then thereís an action sequence to recapture Khan to use his blood to save Kirk and they do the end (now that Iím thinking about it, do they ever explain why Khanís blood has magical healing properties? Maybe I just missed the part).
The scene where Spock calls himself is the defining point that both destroyed this movie for me and my hopes for the franchise. You canít have any mystery about the intentions of old foes from the original series because now we can just call up Old Spock and ask him about it. Even worse, Abrams seems to have no intention of doing something new and interesting with the series, merely content with treading old plots with a fresh veneer of lens flare.
Wouldn't it have been more interesting if Khan was just after his crew and had no intention of conquering the galaxy? Wouldn't it be cool of Old Spock was wrong? What if Kirk had just stayed dead and Sulu became permanent captain? I mean, just do something
new and interesting with this franchise. Unless the trailers for the next movie promise some kind of drastic change, I donít think Iíll be seeing it, because if Skyping with Spock is the best you've got, then I want none of it.