Star Trek Beyond is the 13th feature film in the series and the 3rd in the rebooted series which is now known as the Kelvin timeline. It’s directed by Justin Lin of the Fast and Furious franchise and he takes over for J.J. Abrams who helmed 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Into Darkness. Now for this entry, I wasn’t all that eager to see it. The first trailer was very action focused. Now I’m not someone who feels that action has ruined Star Trek. I love the action in these new films. However the trailer gave it a feel like one of Lin’s Fast and Furious movies of which I am not a major fan of. Fortunately later trailers presented a more Trek-like affair and my tune changed.
My favorite Star Trek film is the 2009 reboot because it presents the crew at the earliest stages and not where they are during the run of the original series. I loved watching Kirk and Spock’s development to their eventual partnership and friendship. Star Trek Beyond gives us some more development for these two. The Enterprise is about halfway through its 5-year mission and Kirk has developed a sort of malaise. He has become bored with the routine of commanding a starship. He’s also questioning who he is as a captain because he realizes he’s older than his father ever was. He knows his father joined Starfleet for a purpose and he joined on a dare. So who is James T. Kirk? Spock on the other hand is wondering if he is a better served to help the Vulcans to continue to rebuild or stay with the crew. This dilemma strains his relationship with Uhura.
One thing that is positive about this new film is that all members of the crew get ample screen time. Considering that they spend most of the film separated this makes that easier to pull off. Also getting some screen presence is the character of Jaylah, played by Sofia Boutella. A character who really makes her presence known and I hope makes future appearances in the the series.
Another thing I enjoyed was the fan service that wasn’t obvious unless you know Star Trek references. It wasn’t like The Force Awakens (I didn’t have issues with that either), but I could pick up the elements that were sprinkled throughout.
My favorite element of the film was the one I was most frustrated with as well. That would be the antagonist Krall, played by Idris Elba. As the film goes on you realize there is more to Krall than just a destroy the universe. His mission is personal. This is great to have an enemy with purpose. However, the film spends so much time shrouding him in mystery that it isn’t revealed until the third act. The problem is that if we had that information sooner it really would have added some depth to the character and the story, but it was played too close for too long. Even though I felt that was a major misstep, Krall to me is easily the best villain of the new Kelvin Timeline.
The action is what you’ve come to expect from this series since 2009 and still fun as can be. There is an early Enterprise battle that is one of the best in this franchise. And our core cast is still doing a bang up job in there roles. I don’t want to compare Chris Pine to William Shatner but one thing is clear, these men are James Kirk.
Star Trek Beyond doesn’t disappoint in the arena of sci-fi action cinema. Yes it’s more of what you got in 2009 and 2013 from the rebooted series, but some character drama, new characters and an intriguing antagonist make this another solid entry in Star Trek lore.
Final Rating (4/5) Star Trek Beyond gives us some fantastic sci-fi action and character drama. Only letdown is playing the villain too close to the chest until the end. It would have lent more depth to the overall story.