Safe but Fun
Star Trek Beyond (2016): 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.
I'm torn on this film. On the one hand, I had some fun. It's a fun sci-fi blockbuster in an otherwise lackluster blockbuster season. (I know that's two weeks in a row I've sad that but this and Ghostbusters are pretty much the two best films of the summer) But....I don't know I was just expecting more. At the end of the day I felt that Star Trek Beyond was a bottle episode for the rebooted series, and while it was a good bottle episode......bottle episodes just always rub me the wrong way. At the end of the film very little has changed for any of the characters, and I didn't really feel like any of the characters were "stronger because of the experience" or whatever. But....it was still fun! I had an absolute blast in the third act of this film. Which, I guess at the end of the day that's what matters right? It was just surrounded by mediocrity.
So, what did the film get right? Well, first off, in a world where so many films screw up their third act....this one does not. The climatic final battle of this film is amazing, anchored by one of my favorite musical choices ever. You can be SURE that this moment will be in my top 5 favorite movie moments of 2016 at the end of the year. Additionally, the new female character, Jaylah, is an absolute BOSS. Pictured above, she is an extremely interesting character all throughout this film. I honestly would not mind a spinoff film starring her. Additionally, in the second act there's a big rescue mission, and several pairs of characters had to partner up and work together. These pairs had some great moments, and allowed for some pretty good character development. Finally, Bones. Bones is given a chance to really stand out in this film, and Karl Urban plays this character to perfection this time around.
But, when I wasn't having fun.....I was a little bored. The film just felt long to me. Coming in at exactly 2 hours, I felt like about 20 minutes of this film could've been shaved off all throughout. Additionally, the villain is EXTREMELY lackluster. Now I know I had a similar complaint about Ghostbusters, but what made this one so much worse was the fact that the villain was played by none other than Idris Elba.This man is one of my favorite actors in the business. (Please change your mind about James Bond PLEASE) But here his character receives very little development whatsoever until the final act. In fact, his villain was going for Oscar Isaac/Apocalypse territory until the final act, when we could suddenly see that the villain was Idris Elba....somehow. Additionally, I was saddened by how little a role Chekov played in this film. I know they had no control over what would happen to Anton Yelchin long after the movie wrapped filming, I just wish he had had a better sendoff. But overall, Chekov is little more than a passing thought for most of the movie, unlike the other main characters. Rest in peace, friend.
Ultimately, Star Trek Beyond falls into the ultimate one word description I can make about a movie: it's fine. I had a....decent time, but the dragging in the first and second acts definitely brought the film down. This film is definitely worth watching someday when it's on Netflix or HBO. But I would say just wait until then. I know Into Darkness falls into the "you either love it or you hate it" category, but I definitely enjoyed Into Darkness FAR more than I did Beyond. But still. It was fine.
The Critique: While muddy in the first two acts, Star Trek Beyond is saved by a spectacular final act and anchored by a strong female hero. And Bones.
The Recommendation: Obviously a must-see for Trekkies, but for everyone else? Might be best to hold off until streaming.
The Verdict: 5.5/10 Slightly Above Average. Broke out a rare .5 score from me on this one.
Now excuse me while I go eat this apple.....
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