If new Star Wars director JJ Abrams now bows out of the Star Trek franchise, then he has set it up for the next generation.
To be honest, this sequel to his excellent 2009 reboot solidly adds to the existing template without being sensational – but does what is required for a summer blockbuster.
British Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch revels in his villainous performance as power-enhanced terrorist John Harrison, who has been tracked to a desolate Klingon homeworld by Enterprise crew – including the returning Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Bones (Karl Urban) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) – after several attacks on federation targets.
Even though it is a tad bloated, Into Darkness has enough touches of ingenuity from Abrams – Trekkie references, comedic touches, action set-pieces and emotional moments – to make this sequel efficiently likeable.
One could argue it probably doesn’t evolve into the breathtaking five-star spectacle that it could have been – but if Abrams makes this kind of progress with Star Wars then the new sequel trilogy is undoubtedly in good hands.
Into Darkness is ‘one small step’ instead of ‘one giant leap’ – but he has boldly taken this popular series to the next level with his expert guidance.