Gene Roddenberry, when pitching to studio executives the concept for Star Trek, described the television series as “Wagon Train to the stars.” The analogy was easily understood: hostile natives, from alien planets not the American prairies, would cause the group of people venturing into an unknown landscape to examine their values, presumptions and relationships. From time to time, weapons would be drawn, good guys and bad guys would die, but in the end right would prevail. That was nearly 50 years ago.
The premise still holds with Star Trek Into Darkness. Unlike most beloved television shows turned into major motion pictures, the fundamentals that engendered the loyalty of a generation of fans have not been thrown out with the dilithium. Mythic, with characters that act and react as the audience anticipates. Even the baddies are textbook. Yet, just as the original series did, the plot becomes a commentary on current events. A commentary palatably packaged in a distant future.
Ironman 3 on the other hand forgot its roots for half the film (as I explained in great depth in a previous review). The hero strayed from his essential qualities, whereas Kirk and Spock – The hero and his sidekick – at their core remain the same: wise-cracking, one-upping, sacrificing and pushing emotional boundaries. If they were Bing and Danny, they would be lip-syncing Sisters, on a Miami club floor.
I loved Star Trek Into Darkness so much that I refuse to deliver spoilers. The best advice I can provide is to go see it!