Watched the J. J. Abrams Star Trek movies. I enjoyed the movies while watching, but when I reflected upon them, I felt unsatisfied and disappointed.
The first one is a reboot into an alternate continuity. Lens flares aside, it is pretty, polished, and stylish. Also awkward and pointless except as fan service. Adding nothing truly new to the existing stories, it is an origin story for the fans who already know the details from watching the tv series and prior movies. Despite how it begins and how it establishes a new timeline for the Star Trek universe to play in, very little of the established story is altered1.
Star Trek Into Darkness manages to be both better and worse. It is gorgeous and colorful and cuts back on the lens flares (a bit). It adds some good actors. But for all of the action in the movie, and despite the stellar performance of Benedict Cumberbatch, there is very little story being told. Cumberbatch is incredible and the sole potential reason to rewatch the movie. But casting him as Khan whitewashes the role2 and shows how lazy the writers were in cribbing from Wrath of Khan and “Space Seed“. The writers failed to tell the background story, relying on the audience to already know who and what Khan is. They didn’t do anything new with the character or the events established in prior work. Who knows what could have been done if the movie did more than shoehorn in poor copies of moments from earlier incarnations of Star Trek?
I am disappointed the promise of a new timeline has become nothing but an excuse to copy what has already been done.