Star Trek Beyond is, for lack of a better description, the goods.
When I walked out of the JJ Abrams reboot in 2009, I was giddy about the potential for the series. I thought they did a terrific job casting the film, and by the time the movie ended, they were set to head out into space on their five year mission, seeking out, boldly going, and it felt like they had wiped the slate clean as storytellers so they weren’t beholden to anything anymore other than the characters.
That’s what made Star Trek Into Darkness so confounding. I think there’s great energy to the filmmaking, which I liked when I first saw it, but I’ve never seen a movie more tied in knots to try to trick an audience, and for so little payoff. The moment they decided to make a movie that hinged on Khan as a villain, they painted themselves into a narrative corner, and they never figured out how to get out of it. I thought the film was nearly impossible to review, because it was so much technical skill and so many great actors all in search of a story worth telling. It may not have helped that Roberto Orci’s own politics ended up wedged into the film’s “false flag” storyline, which might have worked if that had been the whole film, but which feels wildly out of place wrapped around the slavishly inverted Wrath Of Khan remake.