That common issue of catering to a large ensemble is still apparent, and some characters receive short thrift (Karl Urban's Bones is sadly a victim of this), but the central relationship between the captain and his green-blooded first mate shines. Unfortunately, this is also Into Darkness' undoing as Abrams and his team insist on shoehorning in a thematic continuity evident in one of the revered films from the Shatner/Nimoy era. That insistence on self-consciously referencing the past and trying to establish a life-long bond between the two lead characters strips much of the nuance and excitement from the final stages of this sci-fi sequel.
Newcomers to the Star Trek franchise unaware of this almost facsimile occurrence will probably enjoy what's on offer, but seasoned fans will be less forgiving. Nevertheless, Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness is a well-crafted slice of summer escapism which still manages to entertain on the small screen. Here's hoping that next time around the Trek filmmakers will move away from what has gone before and forge their own unique voyages across space's final frontier - before Abrams' own Star Wars sequel gets the drop on them.
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