STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS (2013) hits the new release shelf today so I thought it was a good time to look back at the original Trek sequel.
Leonard Nimoy never was excited for a Star Trek sequel, but he was brought back with the promise his character Spock would die, an intriguing idea and a gutsy move for the franchise. In many ways, STAR TREK 2: THE WRATH OF KHAN could not be the greatest Trek film without that death scene. The idea of killing off a main character dictates a darker story line and a Shakespearian ending. A story line of that strength needs a villain of the same scope to help that narrative focus, and we get that in spades with Khan. This film is far from the grindhouse, but it’s 12 kinds of tough and remains a sci-fi classic.
The first Trek film is kind of snobby sci-fi. It’s a meditation on a STAR TREK film. It took adventurous characters and removed the adventure. It’s a slowly plotted piece that I dig but WRATH OF KHAN moves at a breakneck pace towards one of the most shocking endings you could imagine. We follow a captain firmly in charge of his crew as he comes face to face with his nemesis, from there we are treated to some of the best dog-fights we have seen outside of the STAR WARS films. These ships fight like pirate ships shooting cannons, they don’t act like the agile Falcon or Tie-Fighters. These are shots that are looking for a clear mark, not spraying with lasers hoping to hit something. This is not only the best Trek film to this day, but also a personal favorite that has a comfortable slot in my top 25.
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