Star Trek: Beyond is getting mixed reviews right now. Many are complaining because it's mindless entertainment, that the bang pow tone is too much to put up with. Basically, it's a rehash of the same old themes that have always defined the Star Trek universe.
So what exactly is the problem?
The fact is, Justin Lin's flick is indeed fun. The usual themes that some are unhappy about are precisely what makes this movie a great ride. Longtime fans know what they want from Star Trek, and they're getting a lot of it with this installment.
It's everything that's good about the series.
Explosions, phasers, bloodthirsty aliens, impossible situations; this is what JJ Abrams' vision for Star Trek is, and it's definitely at play here. The new cinematic universe is just an amplification of what the TV series, and subsequent first run of films. was.
This is Star Trek with the volume turned way up.
It's been this way with the last two movies, and this one is no exception. All of the positives are here, and the biggest positive of them all is the cast. This group of actors has gelled so well together that they now seem like a family.
Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are Kirk and Spock. They have each inhabited their roles perfectly, because they have paid such respect to William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy's performances.
The dynamic between the two is very much alive, as they constantly struggle with friendship versus duty. It defines their relationship, and that is especially true this time, as both characters seek to leave their posts on the Enterprise.
But circumstances ultimately prevent that from happening, as they lead the crew against a new enemy.
Krall is a stereotypical villain in the beginning, but the twist surrounding his true identity is a good one, even if it's easy to see coming. Idris Elba is top notch in the role, but had his character's motivations been revealed a bit sooner, he would have been a much more effective antagonist.
The link between the current series and the first film series is established once again, as Ambassador Spock's death is revealed to Quinto. He even finds a photo in Spock's belongings, and that photo is of the original cast in full uniform. The movie is dedicated to Leonard Nimoy, as well as to the late Anton Yelchin, who portrayed Chekov.
Yelchin's untimely death does make STB bittersweet, but it's the fast paced action and the chemistry among the cast that truly keeps the film moving. Star Trek: Beyond is not breaking any new ground, but it doesn't need to. This film is fun, exciting, intense, and that's all it needs to be.
This movie does extremely well with continuing the groundwork laid down by Abrams, and while it's not anything new, it's more of the same that makes the franchise work in the first place.
STB captures the spirit of the original, while updating the story for today's generation. So to Star Trek fans that have always wanted to see their favorite universe grow and thrive again, it's all anyone could ask for.