We really liked it! Go see it! Reading any further will contain SPOILERS!
First of all, this isn’t our full review. These are our initial thoughts – we JUST saw the movie so we’re still processing. Look forward to the complete review, along with a rating, coming soon!
In a lot of ways Beyond pays off the character arcs that begun in the 2009 Star Trek and continued through Into Darkness. Take the Kirk/Spock relationship – They begin as openly hostile rivals that, by the end of the first Star Trek have resolved to work together, knowing that they could one day become close friends. Into Darkness continues their bickering, but there’s clearly respect now, and by the end of that film they have a deep personal connection. They kind of don’t have an arc in Beyond, because they’ve arrived to the place where we want their relationship to be, and it’s satisfying and enjoyable to watch. In general one of the really smart things Beyond did was give us great character pairings and sustain them throughout the movie. I left the theater just wishing I could see more of Bones and Spock hanging out together. I also loved seeing a more mature, more confident Kirk.
The plot of Beyond is a surprisingly straight line, but this (perhaps surprisingly) provides a lot more tensions. They don’t really let you out of the progression of the movie by cutting to some subplot. They also dedicate more time and detail to aspects of the film I assumed would happen more quickly, like the devastating attack on and destruction of the Enterprise. This sequence becomes far more consequential and also makes for one of the best extended scenes I’ve seen in any Trek film.
In some regards this simple plot makes Beyond less ambitious than Into Darkness. Into Darkness, for example, attempted to revive the most well known villain in Trek, keep the identity of that villain a secret, and then play off Wrath of Khan further by reversing the roles of Kirk and Spock to comment on how these versions of the characters relate to each other. Beyond doesn’t take those kinds of risks, but it’s a much cleaner script, and there is some depth to it that lurks mostly in the back half of the film, and for too brief a time.
That’s the main problem with Beyond that I have, and it’s sort of strange because it’s that I wanted more. The concept of the villain is only revealed at the very end, and it’s a great concept. It retroactively adds layers to his actions, but I think it might’ve been better to let us know the story of Krall much earlier in the film. It’s a gamble, of course, since this would’ve probably disrupted that ‘straight -line’ plot we described, but I think it would’ve been worth it, and could’ve given us the next great Trek villain. Instead we’re left to mostly imagine the ins and outs of his long existence on the planet and how that affected him.
– That opening sequence was so. silly. I liked the idea of it, but that was maybe too much. The design on the aliens was nice but the CGI really stuck out. They felt like cartoons.
– Kirk says he ripped his shirt again lol
– They say they were 3 years into their 5 year mission, so at about the time TOS ends, and in Beyond they now have the Enterprise A, just about on time.
– That station was pretty cool, right? The music during that section was fantastic.
– Why am I not more embarrassed to like a movie where they destroy the enemy fleet with Beastie Boys? And that the scene pretty much worked?
– I hope the Commodore is in the next movie, she seemed like she could be cool.