Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek Into Darkness is the second installment of the reboot of the Star Trek franchise. It also represents a reboot of the most infamous villain in the Star Trek universe, Khan Noonien Singh.
In the original series starring William Shatner, Khan was discovered by the Enterprise along with dozens of his followers in cryogenic freeze inside of a freighter that had been adrift for something like 200 years. His true identity was for a time a mystery until Kirk and Spock discovered that Khan was the genetically enhanced leader of a group of supermen and women who 200 years earlier had nearly conquered the Earth.
Khan and his followers took over the Enterprise with the help of a smitten crew member, intent on returning to Earth to finish what they had tried and failed to do two centuries before. Kirk narrowly escapes death when the crew member comes to her senses and Khan’s plan is foiled. Rather than returning them to Earth for trial, it is decided to leave Khan, his followers and the crew member on a habitable planet where they can be free to start new lives. And that was the end of the episode.
Fast forward nearly 2 decades and we have the events depicted in Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan, arguable the best movie of the entire Star Trek franchise. I’ll not spoil the movie for those who might want to watch it. But what happened in both the original series and in the movie are made irrelevant due to the change in the timeline on the day Jim Kirk was born as shown in Star Trek (2009).
The change in the timeline didn’t occur before Khan was born though, nor did it occur before his reign on Earth and his eventual escape and cryogenic freeze. What did happen differently was how he was discovered, and when, and by who. We aren’t told exactly how all that happened, but by the time we are introduced to the bad guy in this movie, we still don’t even know who he is exactly. The rumors before the movie came out suggested it might be Khan, but that isn’t confirmed until Kirk and Spock apparently capture him. More precisely, he surrenders, for reasons that don’t become apparent until later in the film.
Interestingly, rather than being immediate adversaries as they had been in the original series and Star Trek II, Kirk and Khan are forced to join forces in order to combat a mutual and unlikely enemy.
I would highly recommend that both movies be watched, preferably with the older one coming first. The homage that is paid to the first within the scenes of Into Darkness can then be properly appreciated. The writers took great care to not attempt to recreate the events of the first, in fact it is a 100% new story. But some rather Trek shaking events happen in both movies, and the writers went to great lengths to honor the first movie but without simply having a do-over.
Ultimately the story of this Into Darkness movie was very well sold. The acting once again was great, with big emphasis on the casting. The choices of actors to play the crew is perfect, staying so true to the original characters. Khan is played by Benjamin Cumberbatch, and it is hard to imagine a better actor for the role.
If you enjoy science fiction, or if you are a fan of Star Trek, then this movie is a must watch!