Picture Zero Dark Thirty with bright pullovers and laser guns and you’ll have Star Trek Into Darkness, whose heavy-handed political parallels just might feel smart in a summer of Vin Diesel crashing cars. In the opening minutes, Khan Noonien Singh (Benedict Cumberbatch) terrorizes London, then makes like Osama and flees to the mountains of an enemy planet, causing Starfleet Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) to order his assassination, sans trial. Here justice will be served by the blubbering James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), who so bleeds his humanity across the Enterprise's deck that it's a wonder Chekhov (Anton Yelchin) doesn't slip. Again, the central conflict is between the Captain's swaggering impetuousness and the cold-blooded logic of First Mate Spock (Zachary Quinto). After setting up its War on Terror allusions, Star Trek Into Darkness becomes Paradise Lost in Space: It's a battle for the good captain's soul, as Kirk is torn between Spock's wisdom and Admiral Marcus's war-mongering. Can Khan destroy him simply by smashing his moral code? J.J. Abrams externalizes Kirk's turmoil by making him spend every second scene suffering unsolicited advice about what to do. The character feels neutered, despite an early romp where he beds twin hotties with tails. His only real love is for the Enterprise, that hermaphroditic ship shaped like three phalluses and a flattened boob. Abrams, meanwhile, lifts Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan's climax, thievery that will enrage the devout as it suggests the Star Trek saga is merely a game of Mad Libs in which he plugs characters and catastrophes.
Star Trek Into Darkness is not showing in any theaters in the area.