The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.
Finding success in carrying the Fast and the Furious franchise through 3 films Justin Lin has moved to new challenges, with his latest film Star Trek: Beyond out this week and the recent announcement he’ll be directing a sequel to the Aaron Cross Bourne film.
Star Trek: Beyond is the first film in the semi-rebooted series not directed by JJ Abrams, however it maintains a close connection to those films with seamless continuation of character and setting. Picking up a few years into the Enterprise’s five year mission, we find some key crew members struggling with personal issues before all of that is derailed with more urgent events.
Beyond is built on a pretty simple premise and not an unfamiliar one, it weaves things together effectively enough and I was pleased to see Lin’s patience in spacing out the main story beats so that there were still some interesting reveals by the closing act.
Thematically the film does echo (at least in part) some of the more classic Trek tales, and at times the social commentary surfaces with the film touching on real-world issues of 2016 explored through its setting. But there’s no denying that the more contemporary action adventure tones of the previous two JJ films carry through and are in ample supply here.
There’s a healthy blend of comedy mixed in to this very slick looking film, and it’s nice to see Lin’s varied approach in splitting up the central characters so that there’s plenty of Spock and Bones time, as well as Kirk and Chekov, rather than redoing the pairings we’ve often already seen.
Lin has established himself as a craftsman of action sequences and that skill is on display here, the set pieces are both elaborate and interesting, and there’s a healthy dose of variety in how the action is constructed and unfolds both on ground and in space.
The film looks amazing with strong production values and visual effects, and it delivers the villain with the most substance out of this entire rebooted franchise, something the series was in need of following some of the previous antagonists.
Each of the cast are given their time in the spotlight, Karl Urban in particular threatens to steal the show with this entertaining take on Bones, Anton Yelchin is given more opportunity and material to work with here, while Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Simon Pegg are all solid and entertaining in their respective roles.
Star Trek Beyond is a highly enjoyable and fun film, for those enjoying the current film franchise this is easily going to continue to deliver on that. If you’re not already on board with this series, I can’t imagine how this one would win you over.
For me, I rate it better than Into Darkness, and at least on par with the 2009 film, I’m giving it 7 out of 10 stars. Star Trek: Beyond is in cinemas from Thursday 21st July 2016.