‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ was incredibly weak. It’s actually a mess from a writing perspective. The biggest issue is the character motivations are so poorly defined. Characters just do things because the plot dictates it, rather than earning those moments. For no apparent reason, they take forever to reveal that Khan is the name of the villain but don’t set up the character in any meaningful way... so the always angry guy’s name changes halfway though and it means nothing. It’s supposed to add mystery to the story… but all it does is make Benedict Cumberbatch feel like a stock character for a reveal that everyone knew about.
They reuse the most memorable moments from ‘The Wrath of Khan’ but rob them of their complexity and emotional resonance. When they have Spock yell: “Khan!”, it’s unintentionally hilarious. The fun interplay between the characters are gone. They don’t develop the relationship between Kirk and Spock in any way, so the most emotional moment in the film falls flat.
While there were a lot of action set pieces throughout the first Star Trek, those scenes were well integrated into the plot and didn’t feel as superfluous as they feel here. The film exists only to give you enough story to bring you to the next action set piece. They are well staged and fun to watch… but there is so much lacking in every other area of the film. It was a complete slog to get through. Also the 3D was a waste… unless you like to have your lens flair stick out of the screen. I hope no one likes that because it’s stupid. Do yourself a favor and just watch ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ instead.