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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.


Star Trek Into Darkness Goes, and Goes, Just Not Very Boldly

Into Darkness, that colon-less second installment of New Trek kicking off the summer season is a lot of things, including plentifully humorous, bombastic, well-designed, and confused about its purpose. Like the villain that menaced us from all those teaser posters, Into Darkness makes us wonder what, ultimately, it’s up to. Identity is a key factor to wonder about as, two movies in, even casual Trekkie patience is worn thin by a stream of visual and idealistic incursions that belong to other films. Make no mistake; Into Darkness is a good popcorn-crunching experience, swift on its feet and full of action and jokes. It’s just not, like its predecessor, much of a Star Trek film.

Ensign, take us to SPOILERS.

Our fresh-faced Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zöe Saldana), and the rest of the crew are back, getting into their customary trouble and not a few anthropological disasters. But fun, games, and meaningless demotions are brought to an abrupt halt when first an archive, and then a meeting of Starfleet command, are viciously attacked by one of their own. The impression that this first bombing will lead to a series of terrorist-like attacks city-, and, even, world-wide, is a terrifying prospect. The initial threat, however, loses its sting as Kirk volunteers to give chase to the fugitive, and the action moves far, far away into space, picking up plot debris as it goes.

A not-insignificant amount of this debris is carried by the central villain, played with many a snarl and a sneer by Benedict Cumberbatch. Super smart, superhuman, and bloody determined, the figure known only as ‘John Harrison’ alternately fights, then helps save, then surrenders to our intrepid heroes. Why the manipulative behavior? As he goes on to explain, he is not John Harrison at all, but part of a group of genetic experiment test subjects from 300 years ago. Unfrozen from cryostasis, he’s first out to avenge the crew he believes is dead, then out to retrieve them from their clever hiding place; inside 72 fresh photon torpedoes handed to Kirk by Admiral Marcus to blow Harrison to kingdom come. Clever indeed, but that’s to be expected from the worthy and deadly adversary whose real name is Khan Noonien Singh.

Surprised? Didn’t think so. No one is really, as rumors that Cumberbatch was portraying a whitewashed Khan have circulated from the start of film production. As our chief editor rightfully pointed out, Abrams’ delight in unnecessary secrecy (it’s not as if, after all, the presence of Khan in the movie hinged on some kind of grand reveal, twist, huge surprise, or meaningful fakeout) kept him inadvertently safe from the criticism the casting might have garnered. It’s less a testament to any direct racism, than it is emblematic of his general carelessness with the material at hand. But, the fact remains, it is a slap in the face to not only an audience seeking representation by having more persons of color inhabit the main cast, but to Gene Roddenberry’s central beliefs. In creating Star Trek, Roddenberry sought to show a future where people from all over the world (and beings from all over the galaxy) were brought together by a mission of exploration and diplomacy. And for those who wonder why a villain would be a preferable slot to fill with a non-white casting, we hasten to remind readers of all the attractive, intelligent, and memorable villains that have inhabited the screen. Either we love to hate them, or love to love them straight up, but villainy often gets its own fanclub. Additionally, the intelligent, charismatic villain whose cause the audience nearly sympathizes with is a facet of villainy rarely offered to actors of color. In Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Returns, the production at least humored us with alternate versions of the characters to explain why the masterminds Ra’s al Ghul and Bane were not played by, respectively, Arab and Latino actors. Into Darkness, on the other hand, firmly establishes its Khan as the same entity from the previous timeline, but quietly fails to mention that the experiment that created him created test subjects from a variety of ethnic groups, and that his has been established as Indian (if not specifically Sikh).

Khan’s significance derives from his original appearances, one that Trek newcomers may be wholly unaware of. Yet, when Cumberbatch growls out his true identity, we’re supposed to gasp in recognition. New Trek continuously falls on its own sword by both denying the importance of anything from the original – thereby spitting in the faces of fans everywhere – while simultaneously relying on it for dramatic effect. You could call it “New 52 Syndrome”, because it’s essentially the same problem; a formula that manages to alienate both the die-hard devotees the franchise relies on for nostalgia sales, and the new audience it was hoping to draw in by disregarding the property’s heritage.

Speaking of race, here the wonder of an inter-planetary cooperative network is relegated to the background. Everything in Into Darkness, from the initial mission the Enterprise is sent on, to the lensflare slugfest that defines the final space battle, is personal, and lacking the scale the movie starts out by implying. Earth isn’t in danger, as the threat of setting off war with the Klingons is a plot bomb diffused early on, kept around by mention as further evidence of the chest-high betrayal pit Kirk & Co. have found themselves in. While there would be no problem with a personal vendetta outlining the film’s actions, the movie repeatedly goes out of its way to talk about the evils of seeking bloodthirsty revenge. Khan kills mercilessly to avenge (what he believes is) his dead crew, and he’s wrong for doing so. At the same time, the whole reason Kirk gets fired up to chase after Khan isn’t a noble sense of loyalty to Starfleet, or even to his home planet; it’s because his mentor/father figure was killed in one of Khan’s attacks.

This hand-wavy attitude applies to any moral constructs or rules established by the film, which are made only to be broken or subverted immediately. When a suspicious Spock, temporarily at the helm, hails his future self (Leonard Nimoy, making his contractual cameo appearance) on New Vulcan, he’s reminded that details of the alternative timeline cannot be shared, lest they irrevocably alter the course of history. Those details, though vague, are then shared within a sentence. It’s a small example, but one that echoes the film’s near continuous in-script self-sabotage. Here, the big problem is that the very principles the film, and the New Trek franchise, has set up as their internal moral compass are of no consequence once things start blowing up. The main thrust of the plot is the threat of a militarized Starfleet making ready to go to war with the non-Federation Klingons. Much is made of the evils of militarization, yet violent, militarized tactics are exactly how every problem is solved, by good guy and bad alike. Trek was always the place where shooting happened after questions, but maybe Abrams thinks a modern audience wouldn’t stand for anything as slow-paced as deliberate shows of diplomacy, so they’ve been nearly written right out.

Many of these complaints may sound familiar, and that’s because they’re near copies of complaints made by many (including yours truly) during the first reboot’s release in 2009. But I genuinely enjoyed the first New Trek, citing it as fun, light, and fresh, an exciting new venture where Star Trek had been transformed into Star Wars, but with no particularly ill effects to mar the transition. But when ignorance of what Trek represents is the central focus of the plot, it becomes impossible to ignore its incongruities any longer. New Trek doesn’t appear to appreciate or understand the basic philosophies that have made the franchise so appealing to millions of fans, nor does it particularly care. It isn’t about the broader questions that might unite a galaxy of individuals and races, questions that defined the original television runs, and left viewers enamored. Instead, it’s about keeping the action moving, more and bigger, at a pace that makes one wonder if Abrams fears we’ll get bored. Here, just the opposite proves true. We don’t get bored, exactly, but the lack of philosophy, not of dynamite effects, makes his blockbuster unable to win over hearts or minds.

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  • Matt Graham

    I enjoyed the film. I’m a casual Star Trek fan. I’ve seen most of the films, and I only watched Voyager, because my stepmom loved it, and so that’s one area we bonded.

    That said, I do agree with this review. All of the little scene homages and plot winks jumped out at me, and when the credits hit I turned to my wife and said, “Well, I suppose that’s proof that you don’t need new ideas to make movies, even within the franchise.”

    I’m a screen writer, so in terms of getting paid, I liked that lesson.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a bit bothered by the use of transwarp beaming AGAIN, now making it a given in this universe, instead of an easily-ignored fluke from the 2009 flick. Now you have to ask yourself why it’s not used ALL the time, since it’s (apparently) pretty reliable.

    Don’t even get me started on the magic, tension-removing Lazarus blood, to which the writers only replied that there’s plenty of cool, brutal ways to die in space that the blood can’t cure. Uh, okay.

  • Joanna

    Shallow but entertaining.

  • Anonymous

    I really, really enjoyed the 2009 version of Star Trek, but this one left me a little unimpressed, but it wasn’t a waste of money at the theater. I think one of the biggest tropes that kills me at the end of every type of these movies is the hero/sidekick dying and coming back not five to ten minutes later, it always frustrates me.

  • Matt Graham

    Could you explain your first paragraph? I’m not up on Trek tech, but I think I know what you’re getting at.

  • Anonymous

    I think what he’s saying, could just be a guess, is that when Khan transports out of Earth all the way to Kronos in the 1st act of the film, they might as well use that instead of starships, it works just as well.

  • Canisa

    “It’s less a testament to any direct racism”

    Nah, whitewashing pretty much *is* direct racism. Especially when it’s someone like Khan, who was an intelligent, strong and at least moderately sympathetic villain and a revolutionary portrayal at the time he first appeared. Not to mention that Khan is supposedly the product of mixing the most perfect genetic material in the world together.

    Saying that total human perfection is a white guy is not direct racism? Yeah, right.

  • Matt Graham

    I’m curious how the big Trek fans feel: Do all the references to the old material entertain, or would you rather have them break new ground and identity?

    I’m used to retellings thanks to years of comics, but I was hoping they might do more with the new universe than just rewrite the same stories and change major details just to make it different while keeping it the same.

  • Matt Graham

    Thanks. That is some big fridge logic.

  • Kyla Gray

    I agree completely. At the end I told my friend:

    “Really? Why can’t the hero stay dead for once?”

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Kirk lived, but at the same time having him come back to life undermined the emotions expressed when Spock found Kirk dying. Like Spock almost cried for no reason.

  • Anonymous

    I’m actually a really huge fan of the original series, not so much of the later spin-offs, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, et all… But, I really didn’t like the references, they felt super out of place and just plain weird at one point. Example; the scene were Kirk and McCoy are talking and Kirk goes “HOW ABOUT THAT TRIBBLE.” basically made me cover my head in shame.

    But the idea of a Khan throwback was kind of cool, I mean – I kind of liked the reveal but when I thought about it after leaving the theater, I just realized that (like you said) why not just come up with a new story? It was essentially Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan in reverse, with more CGI and less character driven plot, mirrored. I loved Benedict Cumberbatch’s character but really I guess when it comes to it, I guess I was kind of sad he didn’t get to create a new, interesting villain in the Trek universe and instead just had to replay a character that Trek devotees already knew.

    In the context of just a movie, it’s actually really enjoyable. But in the undeniable context of Trek as a whole, it was weird and embarrassing at points.

    I would really, really have preferred them to break new ground and come up with an interesting new plot or even, perhaps cover ground on another original series episode, instead of one that worked perfectly back when Wrath of Khan originally came out, where we had already been introduced to Khan Singh as a villain in the original series – which to this day was a very cool and effective idea.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone have any explanation as to why Khan pretended to be John Harrison? No one has any idea who he is in this timeline; was he afraid someone had seen The Wrath of Khan?

    Seriously, I’m no Trekkie, I have little attachment to the original series and was only looking to be entertained. The movie was doing a fine job of it until that “revelation”. After that, a feeling of complete exasparation stayed with me for much of the rest of the film.

    Not only is the whitewashing as wrong as this review states, it is also dumb and unnecessary! Most of us loves Ben C. and he’s in fine form here. Nothing of what he does is particularly close to what Montalban did and he would’ve played any other villain, it would’ve been fine. But noooo. Abrams had to go there! And as I stated many times before, Khan is not Star Trek’s Darth Vader. That franchise doesn’t depend on its colorful villains but on its stories; Khan only happened to be the villain of the best of the films. Why didn’t they leave the character alone?

    And we need to find a word other than “secrecy” for what Abrams did here. A secret is something no one knows. When everyone guessed at what the secret is and you say it’s not true, you’re being a fucking liar, plain and simple.

    I used to mostly trust Abrams and was happy when he got Star Wars, but now I’m not so sure. He’s a talented filmmaker but not a very smart one.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes the hardest choice is not to shoot but to find some other way. The original Star Trek spent the majority of time searching for those non-lethal solutions. JJ Abrams seems more interested in having characters that do whatever the hell they want, usually in ways so preposterous it’d look at home in a Galaxy Quest sequel (which I’d love to see).

  • Anonymous

    I’m surprised they didn’t play that for another Spock-has-no-FEELS joke.

    “So, did you miss me, Spock?”
    “Your absence did not affect me in the performance of my duties, Captain. But here are some flowers.”
    “Lieutenant Uhura … insisted.”

  • Lisa Liscoumb

    Huh. I like this better than I did a lot of the movie.

  • Anonymous

    I am so surprised that wasn’t a part of the movie…

  • Lisa Morningstar

    I really enjoyed Into Darkness. I’ve seen it twice already and am planning on seeing it again. It’s a fun and entertaining movie and that’s all I’m really looking for with these reboots. I’ll keep my die-hard fan geekouts to myself and appreciate these movies for what they really are: Summer action movie moneymakers.

  • NJ Parents

    By completely failing to mention the fact that Kirk abandons his initial intent of killing Khan in favor of capturing him and returning him for trial — in response to Spock’s highly ethical argument — you completely undercut your own point. The film does not, as you imply, abandon its own moral premise. The whole point is that Kirk, initially driven by a thirst for revenge for Pike’s death, sees the wisdom in Spock’s argument. He proves himself capable of mature restraint and ethical behavior. This is a critical point, both in terms of the film’s moral compass and in terms of the development of the Kirk/Spock relationship.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, at that point I was really in tears, I was like “Holy crap J.J., you made a super controversial decision and I love you… You are the man I want to handle Star Wars.” and ten minutes later I was shaking with rage, because they came up with the magic syrup and brought him back.

    That would have been one of the best cliffhangers ever, but no…

  • Anonymous

    What they did to Khan upset me greatly, even if I otherwise enjoyed the film. It was a huge deal to have a genetically superior superman be a brown man from India and Abrams mucked that up for no real reason other than to have one of his precious plot twists.

  • Anonymous

    I always imagined Khan as being the sort of racially-adrogynous being that we actually will become as humans far in the future. (The original, I mean.) Not that that justifies the white-washing of the movie, but I really did enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch.

  • Emily

    Honestly, I was excited about Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain but now I’m just disappointed. He is an awesome actor, but I don’t think the character was written in an at all interesting way, and I would have much preferred a new original villain to a whitewashed Khan. Yeah the movie kept me entertained, but I was definitely questioning a bunch of stuff while I watched it.It really is a shame the movie is so shallow, especially compared to the original material.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, exactly what I meant. It was a big deal in the 2009 movie, but there was enough hand waving going on where I could just assume that it wasn’t practical for everyday use.

    And then in THIS flick they mention Starfleet having “confiscated” the equation (…huh?), so I figured that was their way of putting a lampshade on the whole topic… But, in fact, it was just a plot point to get the tech into the hands of Khan for the big escape to Kronos.

    I swear they just write things without thinking through the ramifications. This universe now has at least two major super powers the “Prime” reality didn’t have (resurrecting the dead, and the ability to beam anywhere in the galaxy)…

    Although, come to think about it, since Spock Prime gave this universe that formula, that tends to imply the ORIGINAL universe now has it, too.

    Can we get a do-over on this reboot? :/

  • Anonymous

    And then at the end of the movie they totally abandon it and freeze Khan and his buddies and stuff him in the warehouse from the end of Indiana Jones…

  • Matt Graham

    Right on.

  • Anonymous

    That was one of the plot gaps I didn’t seem to understand, a long with how the whole movie they want to bring Khan to justice and at the end they lock him in a freezer.

  • Anonymous

    I like the idea of taking existing characters and playing “what if”, under different circumstances. I was greatly enjoying the flick, even though I rolled my eyes at the big dramatic Khan reveal.

    I loved the idea of this brutal arch-enemy taking a slightly different post-awakening path in life that would lead to him and Kirk teaming up against a greater threat. (Including the inevitable betrayal.)

    But the whole thing just went WILDLY off the rails, retroactively poisoning the the whole movie, when it decided to try and get clever by recreating the Wrath of Khan scenes. I know what they were going for, but they were brutally awful.

    Spock screaming “Khaaan!” should not elicit LAUGHTER from the audience. It slid into heavy parody at that point instead of being some deep, touching, cosmic parallel like they probably intended.

    I can’t believe that whole thing made it into the final flick.

  • Anonymous

    Also, allow me to point out that less than a week after a movie featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Zachary Quinto in close proximity to one another opens, Tumblr is bought by Yahoo for a cool 1.1 billion.


    * Sadly, I can’t go full conspiracy theory on this one; now, if Tom Hiddleston had just happened to show up …

  • Lewis Brown

    My theory was that in addition to giving him the John Harrison identity, they also gave him plastic surgery to hide his appearance , considering how his work for Section 31 required him to walk out in public.

    Considering the levels of CCTV technology in the film, and the fact that Khan was around in the 1990s, if he’d stuck with his original appearance and name, someone would have spotted him and worked out who he was in the film sooner.

  • Anonymous

    THAT really bugged me. Nobody was brought to justice for any of this. Ironically, the thought of Admiral Robocop going all Dick Cheney reminded me of some TNG episodes. Except nobody on the new Enterprise has the weight to credibly push back on that kind of character.

  • Anonymous

    I guess they figured he was more valuable as a magic blood dispensing machine. ;)

  • Marian Librarian

    I was so disappointed with how this went. The science was terrible! Starships underwater? Beaming people across lightyears? Warp Drive has now turned into Hyperdrive from Star Wars.

    Uhura’s lines are always choked with emotion about Spock, making her from a smart, capable officer to a needy girlfriend who talks about her workplace relationship in inappropriate settings.

    This is Star Trek for people who don’t like Star Trek, but it’s doing more damage to the franchise by white-washing, making characters shallow shells of themselves, and casting aside science then the little inconsistencies we like to yell about. Starfleet used to be a utopia, now it’s full of shallow, terrible people. Look what our better world has become.

  • Marian Librarian

    Another plot hole. They’re all supermen, why did they have to “bring in Khan alive” so they could use his blood. There were 72 other Supermen right there in sick bay.
    Why did Bone shoot the blood into the dead tribble if he didn’t know already that it was going to magically save him?
    Why did Bones have a Tribble at all, since they meet the Tribble on the 5 year mission that they haven’t even started until the end of the movie.

    Star Trek: Into Dumbness

  • Anonymous

    Would a time-travelling Abraham Lincoln show up in a face database? :D

  • Matt Graham

    I do agree with that. And the actions that led up to it. It felt like bad fan fiction.

  • Caitlin Powell

    I’m right there with you. I went in expecting an action film and that’s what I got. If I had been hoping for a Dominion War/Ron Moore meditation on good and evil or a lesson on the human cost of diplomacy, I would have been sorely disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I miss the old Star Trek but we have over 700 Star Trek episodes and 10 movies prior to Abrams to wax poetic about. I’m a longtime Trek fan (conventions and all) and I don’t disagree with most of the comments here but like you, I’m happy to enjoy it for what it is.

  • Rain Mist

    I cut my scifi teeth on TOS; by age ten I could identify the episode title by the opening scene. TNG was a weekly event. DS9 and Voyager lost me (especially Janeway’s scared bunny look and the bit where there is ONE black Vulcan in the universe and he’s on the ship….really, Star Trek? You don’t have enough roles to have a black person AND a Vulcan? Way to stack your tokens!) but I digress…..

    I saw the reboot, and realized early in that I was watching someone else’s fanfic. And not good fanfic, like Shades of Gray (Bahaahajoking!) crappy teenage fanfic where plot holes aren’t a problem because OMG! Kirk in a hotrod DRIVING ON A CLIFF!!!! ACTION!!! Ooh, ooh, and then what if SPOCK MADE OUT WITH UHURA!!!

    There were some very, very subtle cues in TOS that suggest Spock is carefully deflecting Nurse Chapel, but wouldn’t if it were Uhura showing interest, all veiled in staunch professionalism on all sides because you know what? They’re PROFESSIONALS, on the Federation’s elite flagship. And Spock leans Vulcan for all he’s worth. So the immediate shipping of the two? Bleh.

    I mean, sure, we all had the fantasy. When we were twelve. We just kept it to ourselves.

  • Matt Graham

    I felt the same about the Tribble, and the only reason I even get that reference is the Voyager episode that did it’s own homage.

    I did like Khan and his new origin, but simply retracing the finale and tension nearly beat for beat left me cold. I had just watched Wrath for the first time in years the other day, so it really leaped out.

    I was asking one of my Trekkie friends how he’d feel if they really screwed with the universe and timeline. Introduce Seven of Nine and Borg to this crew, or a rival in a new take on Janeway or Sisqo. I think he dug his nails into his palm until he bled.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of science, that reminds me of another strange point in the film. Where the Enterprise falls to earth FROM THE MOON!? That’s a lot of falling in like five minutes or so… And that’s ignoring gravity.

  • VJ Raiden

    Not to mention, most jobs and casting calls in Hollywood are for white actors, and then the few roles that are actually meant for people of color–then go to white actors. It is dissatisfying, and more people should be outraged about it. They are, at the very least, insulting our intelligence. And yes, the larger implications are harmful, not only to minorities, but to white Americans, in a systemic way. There are many interesting articles on this double-edged sword.

  • Matt Graham

    Having participated in some RPGs based on other franchises, I understand exactly what you mean and why you cringe. That is an interesting and candid opinion on this series.

    I used to consider Star Trek the brains and Star Wars the brawn, if you’ll allow the analogy. I like how the first movie married the two tones to an interesting success, but the second one seemed to lose sight of something. I couldn’t place my finger on it, but your points on characterization hit it.

  • Anonymous

    I’d go as far to say fan fiction parodies bad movie and novel writing generally.

    But contextually you have to look at it with whom you saw the movie with, in my theater no one found that funny because I don’t think anyone had seen the original film, including my wife. You don’t realize how ridiculous it is unless you’ve seen the original series and films.

  • Betty Windsor

    I’m giving this to JJ but perhaps he was aware of the existence of Spock Prime? Or his own vanity made him assume that his name would be more well known or his image?

    From what I’ve gathered from JJ is he only knows how to emulate Spielberg and Lucas in regards to directing (or anyone else for that matter). Watching Super 8 for me was proof of that. So him basically making a cardboard cut out mockery of Star Trek is what I think he did the Khan thing.

    Everything you stated is so on point. I personally did not like this movie, performances aside from select actors.

  • Marian Librarian

    Star Trek has inspired generations of scientists, and any one of them would have answered JJ Abrams phone call. It’s science fiction, yes, but at least try to have some internal consistency with your own universe. Why is it that Chekov can beam up 2 men who are plummeting to their deaths and Khan can beam from a crashing Helicopter across lightyears, but Spock’s mom falls at the last second with maximum enertia and he can’t save her (movie one) and we can beam down on a flying car during a fist fight, but not up?

  • Kyla Gray

    According to the movies, Khan pretended to be John Harrison because that was the identity given to him after he was awakened from his frozen sleep. At least, that’s what he said while imprisoned.

    Frankly, I don’t think Khan should have been mentioned at all. I feel like he could have stayed John Harrison and still been a good villain In terms of villains Ben C.’s character was pretty good. The fact that he’s supposed to be Khan is what messes it up.

  • Matt Graham

    As you say, it seems like it was just a ploy so all the hype of the last few years could try and be coy.

  • Rain Mist

    Eh. He’ll do fine with Star Wars. Because Star Wars is about religion; you can have all-out shoot’ em ups with no remorse, because there is Good and Evil. It’s space opera.

    Star Trek is about space, and science, and insatiable curiosity, and thinking before doing, even for Kirk (who just happened to be brilliant at thinking in new directions very, very quickly). It’s scifiction that predicts future scifact. Star Wars will never happen; Star Trek will. Heck, we already have had communicators for decades.

    Even in some of the worst movies persistently questioned, and examined hard philosophical quandaries. Why does God need a spaceship? What happens if we take science shortcuts, or have never faced the no-win situation? How easy is it for even creation to be made a weapon of destruction? Star Wars’ characters weren’t that introspective; there is no geeky navel-gazing.

    Besides after Lucas, can anything really get worse?

  • Guest

    The Reboot was a very nice blockbuster, and that’s okay with me, I remember SQUEEing about the references and Nimoys cameo and the fact that they apparently knew about the absurdity of a Trek reboot.

    Into Darkness… yeah. Despite the fact that the whitewashing of Khan and the lack of context is very very meh, I enjoyed Cumberbatch’s acting a lot. The fact that Scotty got a lot more screen time was a good thing (Simon Pegg is *hilarious*) and I liked Karl Urban’s Bones as much as I did in the first film. Pine and Quinto are well-cast and I loved the Kirk/Spock-Dynamic. While the resusciation at the end was rather flat (Zombie!Tribble…), I’m somewhat thankful of not having had to go through the horrors of Wrath of Khan again — as it is, I was “nonononono, not again!”.
    What really bothered me is the amount of death and destruction — the body count is *way* too high for this franchise and all the action scenes clash annoyingly with those storylines taken from Wrath of Khan making the whole film feel like a bunch of ill-fitted fragments…

    Tl;dr: I like the references because of nostalgia and well, fanservice (I *am* a fan), but they’re ill suited in films that burn, thrash, destroy as much as the new ones. It would’ve been a better film if they’d decided to go one way or the other and not both at once.

  • Kay

    Haven’t seen the movie, but have heard that the lack of female presence was very tangible and very unsatisfying (rooms full of men making decisions without a lady to be seen), that the movie fails to pass Bechdel even slightly, that Alice Eve’s character is a damsel who doesn’t contribute anything… Of course the whitewashing of Khan is disappointing, but can anyone confirm/deny whether it’s any better about women?

  • Anonymous

    It’s sad, really. I was a big supporter of this new direction for the franchise, but now it’s just turning into a horrific transporter accident of a mess.

  • Anonymous

    I assumed the whole point of that character was kind of a take on the last couple of decades in real life so, why just have him killed by Khan? Why not bring him to justice back on Earth, for a moment I thought maybe Khan would have been a good character, which would have impressed me.

  • Betty Windsor

    That’s exactly my problem. I was upset with the first film because he created a means to retcon the franchise, but once I settled into that idea I hoped for genuinely new ideas. Even though I did not enjoy the first film apart from choice of a few select actors, I still hoped that the 2nd would prove to be different.

    But now I feel like he really is just mocking me. I mean the kirk spock death scene was laughable. I went with a friend who was not familiar with Star Trek at all, and who is a particular fan of blockbuster popcorn flicks. He thought the death scene was ridiculous. The entire time he was mimicking an injection needle into his arm, simulating Kirk getting Khans blood.

    I feel like fortyseven summed up everything very well.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I mean, I have tons of complaints and parts of it were idiotic. But it was a lot of fun and I can’t fault it for that.

  • Marian Librarian

    I agree. I’m already seeing a lot of “shut up and enjoy it, purists.” I’m not a purist. I loved 2009, I wanted to love this movie. But it was lazy and treated the audience like we are all idiots and it’s the right thing to demand that we not be treated that way or else movies will only get dumber and more offensive.

  • Anonymous

    Some of these movies need a new genre, not science fiction but future action. There was so little science of any kind, even more so in this sequel.

  • Marian Librarian

    It’s terrible about women. Dr. Carol Marcus is in her underwear for no reason. Uhura is always on the verge of tears and is just Spock’s needy girlfriend, and they talk about it unprofessionally in corridors, turbolifts, and even on an away mission. But, we’re supposed to believe Uhura is strong because she shoots a gun sometimes. FEMINISM. Kirk wakes up in bed with two random women who have tales and are half naked.

    Bechdel test? Ha.

    Very disappointing on that score.

  • Betty Windsor

    I’m still peeved that in one timeline Kirk spins what, 14 years learning diplomatic crap at Starfleet and how to not offend other species, and languages, and peace THINGS

    and new Kirk punches his way to the top essentially?
    BOOM BAM PEW PEW ANGERS Is how I see it. And then they are going to send him on a 5 year mission? WHAT NO STOP EVERYONE WILL DIE

    The biggest problem with Star Trek that trek fans will have will ultimately come down to the mixing of the franchises. I love Star Wars. I love Star Trek. My brain can not handle Star Trek characters carrying on in a Star Wars universe. I remember thinking so often that this movie was missing the force.

  • Jennifer Dougherty

    Not that I don’t agree with you about the wrongness of casting pasty white Cumberpatch as Khan, but in Abrams defense Benicio Del Toro was originally cast in the part and dropped out just before filming started, leaving them scrambling to find an available replacement with sufficient gravitas to carry the part.

  • winkingskunk

    Really? Was it a shock that he came back? I saw it a million miles away. As soon as that dead Tribble was shown, I though, “Oh man, someone is gonna die and come back, aren’t they”. hahah

  • Matt Graham

    Yeah, once I saw they were remixing the radiation scene, I knew immediately what the out would be.

  • The Gaf


  • Matt Graham

    Lensflare Fiction.

  • winkingskunk

    Speaking of the blood…Did they really need Khan to bring back Kirk? Didn’t they have 72 other superhumans they could have taken blood from? That was a bit of a plot hole for me. Spock totally could have killed Khan, they just wanted to save him in case they need him for a sequel someday.

  • j lebowitz

    I didn’t feel as though I wasted my money with Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was entertaining enough; it just wasn’t brilliant.

    Maybe I’m in the minority here, but if they took just an nth of the money out of the CGI budget and put it into the writing the movie would have fared much better. There’s no reason why we can’t have our cake and eat it too: Abrams can have his high octane, big-budget-special-effects-nearly-endless chase scenes and epic explosions galore. I’m even okay with destroying the Enterprise (yet again) and releveling the entire city of San Francisco.

    But crap: where’s the plot? Where’s the Kirk that not only plays the odds but stacks his cards with cool calculation? There were a half-dozen times in the movie where they could have done something (anything) unexpected beyond revealing the identity of Khan. So why didn’t they? (If you want a reference for this kind of thing dig out your old DVD of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and you’ll see what I mean…)

    You can argue about whether there is overt racism in remaking Khan as a white villain, but it is at least an equal sin to trap the character in a 3D movie while completely stripping him of his own 3 dimensions. The thing that made Khan such a great villain was that in addition to being capable of being evil he was also incredibly charming and even sympathetic. Given the script, it is downright amazing that Cumberbatch was able to fill out even a scintilla of depth into the character because the character sure as heck wasn’t written that way.

    And for someone who purportedly wants more play with the Star Trek legacy as Abrams says he does, why reresurect Khan to begin with? Been there. Done that. Nicholas Meyer beat you to the punch and (maybe) did it with less visual hand waving but surely did it better. And why so, so many references to Star Trek past? To the point of ridiculous… It was bad enough that they played parallel universe games with Spock’s death scene in The Wrath of Kahn, but it was campy-overkill to have Spock do the Kirk “Kahnnnnn!!!!” shout out… (Of course, it truly jumped the shark when McCoy channeled Miracle Max in The Princess Bride with Kirks resurrection, but I’m not going there…)

    So for me, the biggest problem was fragmented writing. The action scenes were a fun roller coaster ride, but there always seemed to be some gaps in the track. The references to the past were amusing but were afterthoughts that didn’t always fit well with the action. There were a number of larger-then-life, Star-Trekkish, philosophical conundrums that were referenced but not really addressed. The needle on the psychological drama meter pulsated a bit but really stayed at zero. And they really never came full circle with any of the plot lines or did anything all that clever–other than contrive a few opportunities for old-Trek references. Hah. Hah. (I suppose the next movie will have something to do with a war with the Klingons… or maybe not. The Klingons seemed to forget the human incursion on their home planet or at least were never in hot pursuit. Qapla!)

    There was lots of action and, at times, a few good laughs. I suppose it was enjoyable enough, given the state of action movies these days.

    So it was a fun romp, but not quite a Trek.

  • NJ Parents

    This was clearly meant to parallel — actually, improve upon — the other Kirk’s solution to the Khan problem. In his dealing with Khan, as with so many things, original Kirk was judge and jury – frontier justice. Kirk II seeks to keep people alive and make possible a future solution to the problem of hyper-aggressive supermen.

  • Anonymous

    Same cast, same crap, same issues. I know the previous movies didn’t have a 20-something “hot” cast but damn, there was a plot and all… yeah not enough for box office madness. No JJ Whatshisface either. Ah Bliss. I’ll stick with Nemesis.

  • Anonymous

    Ooh, ooh, and then what if SPOCK MADE OUT WITH UHURA!!!

    In fairness, this was supposed to be a plot point in TOS, but Shatner stepped in and had Kirk kiss Uhura, instead. So that was more of a course-correction than anything else. And one that many fans (myself included) appreciated, not just because Uhura and Spock hooked up, but because this timeline’s Uhura made it plain that she chose to pursue that relationship with Spock and wasn’t interested in Kirk at all.

  • Dani

    “Star Wars will never happen”

    Man, why are you killing my dreams of owning a lightsaber? That’s just mean. XD

  • Tom Litton

    Plus if the artificial gravity gets shut off, then there would be no gravity. They are in free fall, just like everything else in orbit.

  • Betty Windsor

    I have such a low opinion of films that treat their audience as simpletons. Especially when he should know a considerable amount will be an audience that is known to be science geeks.

  • Betty Windsor

    The Star Trek universe has had it’s fair share of evil admirals or morally vague ones, but the idea of putting so much importance and mystery into the Khan role kind of demeans it in the same breath when decided to add another villain. Plus, Robocop sucked fairly hard in this film. I feel like JJ tried to Primal Fear us, but poorly. oooh look it’s Robocop! Forget about Khan…for the moment? I’m just picturing a child in my brain with action figures.

  • Rain Mist

    I know the original plotline, but I’m unconvinced that’s the only reason they went that route. Spock had plenty of hijacked-emotionally episodes. And there was clearly no interest in that forced kiss. It’s Kirk’s least-willingly engaged one, and it gave a bit of dimension to his otherwise unfaceted libido: that here was a line he wouldn’t have crossed. The dynamic between Kirk and Uhura was never anything but professional, as it should be between military officers serving on a ship where one is subordinate to another. It’s not about preference (and if it were, I prefer the subtlety of TOS, where Spock is just a bit warmer with Uhura, to ‘OMG ‘Shipped!’)

  • Betty Windsor

    I get that, what I don’t get is why Kirk II wants to kill Khan just to avenge that guy who voiced Batman a couple of times. When the whole reason Khan was a murderin was because he wanted to avenge his crew. So Kirk II keeping people alive is consfusing because I would have thought he wanted Khan dead and Spock II advised him to freeze that dude?

    Then Khan gets put away, I’m guessing while Kirk is in the hospital? I honestly need to watch the film again

  • Anonymous

    I was a fan of ST:TNG but I was never interested enough in Star Trek to see it in theater before Abrams reboot. I understand and sympathize with Star Trek fans who would want a more faithful representation of their favorite show but if I’m honest, I don’t mind the more action-oriented direction the franchise took. My problem is with the execution: he knows how to film action-scenes but he makes too many unforced storytelling errors to reach the next level.

    And say what you want about Lucas: as terrible as he can be as a filmmaker, his stories always had an ambition that Abrams really lacks.

  • Rain Mist

    Wholeheartedly agree with the analogy. I just like my scifi brainy.

  • Betty Windsor

    NEMESIS! I get hated on so much for still loving that movie even if I was betrayed by it.

  • Rain Mist

    They’d be hopelessly outclassed by a ranged weapon. They’re impractical ornaments. Also, midichlorians? Just say mitochondria, Lucas, you hack!

    In summation: Fuck you, George Lucas. Fuck you.

  • Betty Windsor

    It’s a trope movie. That really the only thing I can imagine. Like writers sat on tvtropes, and made notes while Star Trek played in the back ground

  • Betty Windsor


    Someone tried to tell me that Uhura decides to beam down to help Spock and that was an awesome moment. But I still only see lady emotionsssss in that scene.

  • Rebekah M. Jones

    Yeah, between that and the unnecessary woman in underwear scene (in the freakin’ trailor) I am not only boycotting this movie, but have gone from being impressed with JJ to thinking he is sexist and racist scum and never going to see any of his movies int he future.

    His completely serious agreement with the “We had the birth scene to draw in the women of the audience” statement also factored into this.

    Honestly, I am bummed that more people aren’t refusing to see the movie. I get it, summer block busters and geek stuff and star trek. But until we the consumers start putting our foot down and saying no to this shit, nothing will change. Because it really is blatant racism.

  • Carl Jackson

    The problem was, we all signed up for a less philosophical Trek when we made the first one a smash. I’m a Trek guy so was happy for the silly fare that bares the name that I got the first time but I knew what I was missing. So I’m not surprised that Abrams would miss the nuance of what Khan was and instead cast the guy that is half responsible for an awe-inspiring amount of fanfic. It’s great business casting. I’m less pleased when I found out they’d obfuscated Khan. A new guy named John Harrison could have at least not made me angry.

  • Alyssa Lobo

    When I realised Khan was Indian I was kinda surprised.I just thought that the original Star Trek writers wanted an exotic sounding name. I’m Indian and used to work in casting. So just 2 points-
    - Hollywood is notoriously lazy about casting racial groups apart from whites and blacks. Can they seriously not get a single good South Asian actor? I was quite horrified when I heard they casted Dev Patel for a biopic on mathematician S. Ramunajan. Having said that- Abrams may have decided to go another way with casting due to today’s attitudes of associating terrorism with certain racial n ethnic groups. If Khan was desi , would it be a case of racial stereotyping? (As an aside if Khan was cast as Indian- I’d pick Riz Ahmed to play Khan- he’s British n desi :) )
    - Also casting can be a business as much as a creative decision. Star Trek films have done well in N. America but never internationally. This despite it’s geek fanbase in Spore, Malaysia,etc. Maybe casting Cumberbatch insured a sizable geek fanbase from his work on Sherlock? He did get quite a welcome in Japan.

  • j lebowitz

    That’s a good point.

    The added bonus for a Trek movie is that we know the characters so well already they don’t have to do the hard work of character development. Whether written in the script or not, we all know more or less who the major players are and our imaginations add the needed depth.

    …That means that all they really needed to do was add some high-tech chase scenes and sell a lot of Happy Meals…

    It’s sad, though, because it’s still better to really watch a movie that is really well written…

  • Emily Walton

    Yeah, when we the see Starfleet higher-ups they’re all men (and mostly white). Somehow I don’t think that’s how Rodenberry envisioned things. And yeah, both Uhura and Dr Marcus seem to be motivated almost entirely by men in this one.

  • Carl Jackson

    Break new ground.

    I’m ok with taking the characters as originally written and changing them at the point the new universe takes place. That means race/orientation/general personality shouldn’t change much. How they behave given their circumstances can vary wildly and I’m fine with that. But seeing Trek being referential is a bad thing. The first movie was fine although it pushed the line.

    This one appears that the writers/director just don’t know what Star Trek is. I think it alienates the original audience after a while which isn’t great because there is nothing out right now that IS being written for them. It’s a waste of a niche.

  • j lebowitz

    It all comes down to the fact that action sells. Star Trek is basically a brand name that the studio exploits for ticket sales. If you slap Star Trek on it and put it in a theater, fans will come to have a look see.

    Weirdly, there are those fan-based Trek series on the web, some of which are pretty advanced and actually do a better job of catching that old Star Trek vibe. Some of them also have good writing. The one that seems to be on the top of the pack is Star Trek: Phase II (formerly the New Voyages). Their episode “The World Enough and Time” really captures the 1960s Trek both visually and in terms of the plot line. The episodes they did following this one (Blood and Fire, Enemy Starfleet, and The Child) also come really close to vintage Trek and are well worth watching. They seem to get better and better with time…

  • Olivia Fowler

    This. When BC was cast, I was really, really hoping he WOULDN’T be Khan, that they would do something different and, dare I say it, more interesting.

  • Lewis Brown

    Presumably, but I think that as a dictator of a quarter of the world in the late 20th century, there’d be more historical photographic and video evidence than that of Lincoln. ^^;

  • Kyla Gray

    I could have sworn I saw a woman at that table (and later the same woman got blown up or something). Maybe it was just wishful thinking.

  • Anonymous

    Hehe. I guess we have to think more along the lines of ‘Hitler’. :)

  • Joshua L

    Good points about the Khan casting. Benedict did a great job, but it was a little odd to see a formerly Asian character brought to life by a Mexican actor turn out to be a white guy this time around.

    I don’t necessarily agree about the idea that this movie’s “shoot first” mentality differentiates it from other Star Trek films. Two of the best previous films both pretty much relied on violent actions and violent solutions to the problems of those stories. Trek films, particularly once the TNG era films started, have always been more action-heavy and less contemplative than where Trek truly belongs, on television. So, it’s a little odd to me that this action-centered, violent premise is a detraction when that’s basically how the day is saved in Wrath of Khan and First Contact.

  • Tamara Brooks

    *waves hand* There are no midichlorians. The prequels never happened….

  • Tamara Brooks

    Though, if you’re going to emulate someone, Spielberg isn’t a bad way to go.

  • Lily Milos

    And Earth’s moon is apparently REALLY close to Kronos.

  • Helen Hill

    I think JJ must have ADD. He seems easily distracted, chasing after shiny baubles. As far as action movies go, he’s great. As far as original stories go, he is sorely lacking.

  • Petrinka

    I am kind of scared to admit I liked this movie a lot. I am a casual Star Trek fan, due to my father being an avid Star Trek (original series) fan. One of his all time favorite movies was “Wrath of Kahn”. I hadn’t seen that movie in probably more than 20 years, it being my least fav of all the ST movies. But thankfully apparently, not enough to taint my view of this movie.

    I loved the fact that there were so many homages to the original series & movies. And that’s what I took them for, homages, not that they couldn’t come up with new material. (Trouble with tribbles…YAH!). LOL

    As for Kahn’s ethnicity, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. I read many a forum that stressed they shouldn’t be racial profiling Khan. They don’t do that and then they get people complaining that they just put another white man in a role that should have been for a minority. Oh well, we live to complain….that’s the fun of reviewing movies!

    For me, it was a 2 hrs and 3 minutes of fun, entertainment, sad, thrilling, escape of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am also happy that my husband doesn’t visit this site because he feels the way most of the people commenting here do.

    P.S. Kudos to Karl Urban for being as close to the original Bones as I’ve ever seen. I love his scenes. He makes me giggle over the corniness.

  • Guest

    Due to recent controversy regarding to random attacks of violence and
    majority of the people that caused it happened to be non-Caucasian, do
    we really need a Star Trek villain that embodies that even more?

    not forget the character Khan from the original series was played by a
    Mexican actor, the late Ricardo Montalbán. People didn’t talk about how
    racist that would be, because the audience focused on his acting rather
    than race. So why is it that majority of people cannot focus on Benedict
    Cumberbatch’s acting abilities rather than race.

    Personally, I
    found Cumberbatch’s portrayal as one of the most notorious villains of
    the Star Trek universe phenomenal. He and the late Ricardo Montalbán
    brought such complexity on a character whose origins are vague, but
    follow on a cause that they strongly believe is the right way to go.

  • Anonymous

    Obviously the decision to whitewash Khan is wrong because it’s racist. But even beyond that it makes no financial sense. They could have given one of Bollywood’s many talented stars a meaty role AND gotten an in with a large international audience! Missed opportunity.

  • Anonymous

    I get that you you agree with the whitewashing being wrong, but I’d like to add that they are plenty on non-white actors with “sufficient gravitas to carry the part.” Also, while it is a little better that Del Toro isn’t white, he still would have been a problematic choice and an Indian or South Asian actor would still have been preferable. Yes, Khan was played by a latino actor in the 70s, in a great performance and a big breakthrough at the time. But in 2013, we should not only be able to cast a person of color, but also a person who is actually Indian.

  • Anonymous

    Marcus was changing and Kirk turned to look.

    Because sleeping with the ladies is Kirks thing. It’s part of the damn character. Always. Has. Been. He’s Quagmire in space.

  • Aisha bint Akbar

    I stopped reading this as soon as I got to “white washed”. Racism against white people is still racism. Whites will soon be a minority in this country and who will cry about “white washing” and affirmative action then?

  • Aisha bint Akbar

    NOT TO MENTION did anyone notice Uhura? Sulu? Like seriously is the person who wrote this that absolutely retarded?

  • Marian Librarian

    Kirk was a much more subtle womanizer. He loved the ladies and broke hearts all over the galaxy, yes. But he would do it while appearing to fall in love himself, and showing conflict between duty and love.

    It was BS, yes. It was still womanizing, yes, but each woman felt like less of an object. There was sexual tension between him and Yeoman Rand in the beginning that he never really acted on because he was a professional. He never woke up in bed beside two half naked women before then.

    People now remember the sheer numbers of women he was with and think “that dawg,” without remembering the context. Abrams knows the audience does this and distills him down and make that basically his only character trait and plays it for laughs. Fine, however it makes him into a far less likeable person and a far less professional officer.

  • Marian Librarian

    If there was a woman, there she had no lines.

  • j lebowitz

    I’m okay with action and violence–just give me a little something more in the mix… like a plot that synchs. If you really want to go boldly, give me some psychological warfare along with the action, some of that classic Star Trek philosophy/morality play/clash of cultures, and some original humor… (I’d even settle for a computer that self-destructs in the end because of some logical loop…)

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Abrams wanted Khan to be a POC and was courting Benicio del Toro for the role, but he refused. What I don’t understand is why he then stopped considering persons of color. This is not to dismiss the fact that Cumberbatch did an excellent job with the role, but it’s also not to say that another actor not so white-white-white couldn’t have done just as good a job.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Cumberbatch was brilliant, but how many other brilliant actors do we not get to see because Hollywood doesn’t make more than a passing effort at diversity? Abrams could have kept auditioning other actors to find the Khan of his dreams.

  • Carmen Sandiego


  • Carmen Sandiego

    Yeah, the moment the Tribble was shown I basically knew the ending of the movie, just not necessarily which of the main characters it would involve.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I’m a major Trek fan, but I was a toddler when TNG came out so I’m more familiar with the latter part of TNG and the other series. My boyflame, however is an original Trekker from the beginning. Both of us enjoyed the movie but had some issues with it. The characters and actors are great. But I was more than annoyed with the heavy-handed, manipulative score. The performances were strong enough to influence me emotionally, I didn’t need the over-the-tope “Bum-bum-bum-bummmmmm” music trying to sway me into drama, sadness, intensity, et cetera.

  • Anonymous

    They didn’t show it back then because they couldn’t. The censors wouldn’t allow them to.
    If they could have gotten away with it they would have.
    It wasn’t some high-brow altruism that kept them from it, it was the times.
    The first Star Trek II points this out as well, “Jim Kirk was many things, but he was no boy scout.”

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Huh, I’ve been twice and both audiences did not laugh at Spock screaming “Khaaaan!”. There were some intakes of breath though.

  • Anonymous

    Mine did. And I noticed a couple other reviews and testimonials from friends that remarked on it. That’s not really unusual…I’m sure it varies by audience. Probably just takes one person to crack up to get others to do it. ;)

  • Anonymous

    The Kirk that plays the odds with cool calculation just isn’t around yet. Will be, eventually, but not yet. Kirk is brash and reckless. And will continue to be so.

  • Jennifer Dougherty

    Not saying that there aren’t plenty of non-white actors with the chops to pull off Khan, but Del Toro dropped off just before the start of filming. How many name recognizable actors capable of handling the part were available at the drop of a hat?

    Cumberpatch as a Sikh was the biggest nit I had with the movie, and said so to my husband before the credits had finished rolling. Del Toro would have been an amazing Khan if he’d stuck with the production, and so would many other non-white actors for that matter, but Abrams was in a spot after trying to do right.

  • j lebowitz

    I get that–to a degree.

    But there is a difference between a risk taker and someone who takes risks, knowing the odds and/or stacking the odds in his/her favor… (Like Kirk did in the first movie with the Kobiyashi Maru simulation…)
    So, sure, the young Kirk is a maverick. But you also get the idea that he’s the type that backs up a good poker face with a few aces stashed in his back pocket.

  • Anonymous

    There are plenty of South Asian actors capable of handling the part and I’m sure many would have been willing to step in at the last minute. In terms of name recognition, Cumberbatch might be well known in geek communities, but he’s no mainstream superstar. I don’t think they were banking on his name selling tickets. And for that matter, Del Toro as Khan would still have been crazy problematic. In the 70s, getting any non-white actor to play Khan was a big deal, but in 2013, we should be way past casting a Latino as a South Asian and pretending it’s the same thing. These are more general critiques, and I’m happy you took issue with the casting. But we should avoid making excuses for whitewashing, even if it was last minute whitewashing.

  • Anonymous

    This is the best review I have read of STID, and sums up this lifelong Trek fan’s view. When they redid the cannon scene, I almost swore out loud. We need new ideas and new horizons for ST, not rehashes of the old stuff. I will say that I was one person who did not know Khan would be in this movie and while I figured out who he was as soon as they revealed the cryo tanks, I still liked the reveal… and this review does give spoilers.

  • Anonymous

    Well… it could have simply been a matter of money, scheduling, acting chops. Maybe they simply couldn’t find anyone else that fit the role OR wanted to play an Indian that was originally played by a Mexican?

    Just think of how much angrier people would have been if they made up BC to look like a Mexican playing an Indian. Maybe they tried that, and it looked silly.

    The characters of Jean ValJean and the Phantom are both white, yet accomplished black actors have played both roles just fine. Is that racist?

    Is it anti American to make Dr Carol British? Does it really matter?

    Personally I don’t think Benicio Del Torro would have been a good choice. A big name, but he’s no Khan.

  • Renee I.

    What is really interesting (probably just to me) is that I found myself wildly enjoying the ride in this movie and nitpicking the crap out of Iron Man 3 but yet reading everyone’s comments I think there are a lot of valid arguments here. Things that probably shouldn’t have made sense didn’t bother me in Star Trek, but things that didn’t make sense to me in Iron Man 3 did. I have no explanation and now I am mostly rambling … so good day :)

    PS This article on Cracked was an interesting read and housed many of my annoyances of Iron Man 3:

  • Anonymous

    No- that’s Picard. Kirk flies by the seat of his pants, improvising as he goes, usually with inspiration from his crew.
    Also :
    91. Diplomacy for Kirk is a phaser and a smirk.
    Kirk does shoot first.

  • Anonymous

    Of course it would have been horribly racist to darken up BC for the role and that is not at all what I’m suggesting they should have done. But what I am saying is that Khan is a legendary and complex character who is explicitly, and significantly, supposed to be Indian. Casting a white actor as Khan is not only denying that important part of who he is, it is denying the tons of talented Indian actors out there a role that I am sure at least one of them would be happy to take. “Money, scheduling, acting chops” are the excuses that are always made for whitewashing. But we can’t keep hiding behind them.

    And yes, it does really matter. All your examples, like casting a British actor instead of an American, are in no way equivalent to the persistent system in which non-white actors in Hollywood are denied consideration, even for characters that are supposed to not be white. Even if JJ isn’t racist, the system is, and we need to call it out and demand better.

  • Rain Mist

    I don’t think it needs to be faithful; in fact, I’d rather have seen a clean reboot. I just think that what he opted to keep was so very much the surface, pop-culture skin, and what he lost was the single unifying theme to Star Trek: boldly going, not for daddy issues or to prove something, but because Space is There, and it is Awesome.

  • Mimi Rice

    I loved the first reboot film. But this one…I felt like it suffered from having too much going on. There was so little time to build tension. The other movie had its frantic moments too, but it flowed much better than the ones here. It was like a mad dash to the finish line without even bothering to look back at some of the obvious problems with the film.

    I think what bothered me the most was including klingons. The minute you hear klingons, you want to know more about them. But instead they’re just sort of throw away mooks. It would be different if it had been just a single klingon they ran into. But the film throws it out there like its a major deal…and then nothing happens. It felt pointless.

    I will give the film credit for beautiful visuals though. The colors in this movie are worth the price of admission. I just wish I had enjoyed it more.

  • Rain Mist

    You know what I’m beginning to think the problem may be?

    JJ Abrams & Co are Fake Geek Boys ™

    They know a few of the most obvious tropes, and geeks are cool now, so to get us to like ‘em, they’re pretending to be something they’re not. Because they clearly haven’t really THOUGHT about Star Trek.

    *note: pretend I am waving a sarcasm sign around, so none of you feels you must argue in defense of poor beleaguered JJ*

  • Anonymous

    Okay, That’s good. I will up arrow that one for sure… Mainly because I agree with the entirety of the comment.

  • Anonymous

    So you’re saying they should have just cast -any- Mexican or Indian actor even if they really were not right for the part? Or really didn’t want the part?

    And they did consider several other actors before settling on BC, for one reason other another they just didn’t work.

    It’s not malicious at all.

  • Marian Librarian

    Is it so much to ask that the character be a better person than the 60s had to offer us instead of worse? What does it say about us that 2013 Kirk objectifies woman more than 1960s Kirk?

    And I do think that Roddenberry, flawed as he was, wanted his future to be full of people trying to be better human beings, even when he fell short.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I saw Khan in TOS and on the big screen as well as the memes referencing it and I didn’t find it ridiculous. Maybe it was the heavy mood in my particular midnight sneak peek audience though?

  • Amanda C. Cook

    In defense of JJ, casting any kind of villain reboot was going to be a Kobayashi Maru from the start. If he HAD cast a south Asian actor to play Khan, then non-Trekkies would have complained that the casting feeds into the “all terrorists are brown people” mentality. There are people that were outraged when John Cho was cast as Sulu because he isn’t Japanese, and it was a case of “any Asian will do”. Then there’s the leftover mentality from ToS that all PoC were from pure ethnic origins, because mixed ancestry was taboo in the 60′s. The Enterprise had a disturbing amount of ethnic purity for being a space age ideal, which would statistically have much higher exchange between cultures. Imagine if Uhura had a non-African name like Sarah or Nancy? It would fly now, but not at the time.

    Honestly, Khanberbatch was the kindest way to split the difference. He was cast based on his ability to play cold, calculating, and villain-voiced. They played Khan from a eugenic superiority angle, and that only flies when the villain is an acceptably hateable target. Not only would an ethnic Khan have fed the modern terrorist stereotype, it would have fed even further into stereotype of the Kirk the white-guy hero defeating the bad guy “other” Khan.

    As I said, Kobayashi Maru. I choose to sit back, eat popcorn, and enjoy the Khanberbatch.

  • Anonymous

    Nope, I’m not saying they should have considered just any Indian or Mexican actor, I’m saying that they should have considered all of the multitude of Indian actors who are very talented and would have been great in the role. If they had really done that, and it really was the case that not a single esteemed and talented Indian actor (of which there are many) wanted an excellent role in a major film like this, then I suppose settling on a non-Indian actor in the end would have been fine. But of course the film did go into this looking for Indian actors. And that’s where the problem is.

    I’m not saying that someone working on this film was being malicious about it. That’s the rub with internalized systems of oppression. Often, there is no one person intentionally, hatefully excluding underrepresented people. It is that longstanding, unconscious assumptions about the way things are done in Hollywood end up perpetuating racism, and we need filmmakers to make an effort to change things.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    The character Thomas Harewood (played by Noel Clarke) at the beginning of the movie committing the terrorist act was a minority though, so obviously that wasn’t the problem for Abrams.

  • Carla Lewis

    There is so much hate about Kahn, but no one is willing to acknowledge that the original writers of Space Seed screwed up when they created the character. Either you attribute the mistakes to the writers of the episode or the historian character Lt. Marla McGivers

    When kahn is awakened from his Easy Bake Oven, she initially exclaims something that is patently untrue, “North Indian province, most likely Sikh”. This is the only reference to Khan’s possible country of origin.

    First, Sikh, is a religion, not a race as many commenter have mistakenly claimed. Any person, of any race or nationality can be a Sikh.

    Second, following the Sikh tradition, a person will change their last name to Singh, a lion. However, it is doubtful that Khan was a follower of Sikhism. One of the underlying tenets of Sikhism is, “Protecting the religious and political rights of all people and preventing discrimination is an integral part of the Sikh faith.” This is why they carry the kirpan. Khan did not. Khan also did not follow the 5 Ks, . Khan was not a Sikh.

    So, let’s agree that Khan, was not a Sikh. So were the writers incorrect or was McGivers incorrect?

    Let’s assume she was correct about his country of origin – even the northern part. India, at one time a British colony, and still very much inhabited by Europeans, could very much have produced a Khan character of European ancestry. Again, remembering that McGivers comment is the only thing linking the Khan character to India.

    Of course, we can refuse to suspend disbelief about this but not that Khan’s crew would be twenty to thirty years younger than him in Wrath of Khan when they were all the same age in Space Seed. We can also choose to ignore that the race of Joachim changed between Space Seed and Wrath of Khan and give the producers a pass on that one too.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Actually, I think most of the people in the comments agree that Cumberbatch’s portrayal was impeccable, that’s not the issue at all. We can still adore him and think he kicked ass in the role and still critique the choice of a white actor for the role.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Karl Urban is my favorite genre actor. He is also a major, major Trekkie and Trekker.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Actually, the most emotional characters weren’t women. But expressing emotions isn’t inherently weak (nor is it inherently feminine). I did like that they put focus on how intrinsic her specialties are to the ship and crew. They would have been dead long before Khan stepped in without her delaying tactics when she was addressing the Klingons. That being said, Carol being mostly nude in that scene was so unnecessary! It was just randomly thrown in there for no apparent reason. I love seeing nekkid people when it makes sense! But, I want it to be relevant to the situation/plot, and I would like to see more gender equality with it.

  • Eric Gehrke

    I really enjoyed both of the new Star Trek movies. I don’t share a lot of this reviewers complaints or the complaints of many devoted Trekkers simply because I am not one. I am passingly familiar with the other Star Trek movies, so the criticisms that are being levelled fall on deaf ears.

    As a summer action tent pole, Into Darkness does it’s job. It’s a tight rope that is hard for anyone to walk. It’s hard to make a film that appeals to hardcore Trekkers and will bring in your average movie goer. No one is going to be totaly satisifed so it’s basically a lose/lose.

    The thing I can agree with is the whitewashing. It’s a problem that plagues a lot of genre films, not just Star Trek. I would point to the X-Men film franchise as another franchise that has been whitewashed to a point. It’s something that needs to change. We need to get to a point where having people of color in a movie becomes so commonplace that it is something that isn’t even commented on.

    One thing that wasn’t mentioned in this review that bothered me was Alice Eve’s character undressing in front of Kirk and then being shown in her underwear for no reason at all other than giving the audience a cheap thrill.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    He is a Lothario, but this scene didn’t represent that. She specifically asked him not to look and he blatantly ignored that for no apparent reason. It threw off the pacing of the movie because it was so obviously extraneous. The first reboot movie in 2009 handled it better, I thought. I even liked the scene where he answered the cellphone while in bed with two lovely alien ladies. It made sense.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    She did. You couldn’t see her until she got blown up and was grabbing her bare leg in agony. :(

  • Carla Lewis

    You’re are correct about the absence of the Utopia. Because the Narada appeared early in the timeline and caused such massive destruction, it forced Star Fleet to focus more on defense and weaponry. This was outlined in the comic books and deleted scenes from the previous movie.

    This is why the Enterprise looks so sleek and futuristic and not so much like the TOS Enterprise. It also explains why their philosophy is a little more shoot-first.

    However, re-watching TOS, I’ve noticed that shoot first was par for the course. It wasn’t until TNG that reason became a tool of the trade.

    What we’re seeing in these two movies isn’t necessarily out of character for a young Federation and a James Kirk.

    We also have to remember that along their timeline, their world influences are very different than what it would have been had the Narada not changed things.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Just a scream when she was blown up. :(

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I wanted to see more of the Klingons as well. In fact I was surprised they never came into the movie again.

  • Anonymous

    There was that Daily Show interview, where he said he didn’t like the “philosophical” element of Star Trek. And subsequently backpedaled like his bike was going off a cliff.

    “No, I actually did watch the show years later! Totally liked the philosophical stuff! I just removed it because… reasons!”

  • Carla Lewis

    The Klingons figured prominently in the 2009 movie, but were cut. Enjoy one of the deleted scenes:

  • Anonymous

    In the case of this role… yeah, definitely. It’s a completely different set of implications, and they ain’t good. And yeah, there were problems with the original casting, but that doesn’t excuse anything. This is 2013, for Pete’s sake.

    I kind of wonder if the casting was chosen in order to throw people off the Khan scent, in which case… ew, JJ. Ew.

  • Anonymous

    There just weren’t any brown guys available!” is generally code for “We didn’t look.”

  • Carl Jackson

    That’s why I stuck with saying I knew what I was missing.

    On some level, I’d be completely happy with this if they’d just greenlight a new series or something non-trek that was similar so I could get my old school fix. There’s just nothing that caters to that niche right now.

  • Carla Lewis

    and let’s not forget that other Wrath of Khan mistake: Khan never met Chekov in the original episode, yet ‘remembers’ him in the movie. “Space Seed” aired in the first season of the original series, but Chekov (Walter Koenig) didn’t join the cast as a regular until the second season. However, no one is all up in arms about that.

  • Mimi Rice

    Really! Looks like I’m going to have to pick up the first movie on DVD to see this. I wonder if it’ll change my impression of that scene.

  • Robin S

    I suppose I enjoyed this movie because, well, I never expected it to be true Trek. The sad truth is, Star Trek fans probably won’t ever really see our Trek on the big screen anytime soon. I knew it wasn’t going to be a philosophical plotline. I knew there were gonna be lots of explosions. It’s a summer popcorn movie. I was honestly just happy that it was recognizable as Trek and wasn’t just an action movie with a Star Trek skin. (And the appearance of Section 31 made me squee a fangirlish squee of delight.)

    The things Star Trek fans want, such as exploration and philosophy won’t fly for a big budget popcorn movie. What this film franchise might do however, is rekindle interest in Trek and maybe we’ll see it back on the small screen, which in my opinion, is where it truly belongs.

  • Red Garner

    i never thought of khan as an indian man. i always thought of him as an alien, since race really is a non issue in roddenberries universe. and i believe the author of this piece missed the whole time travel point of jj abrams first star trek movie.

  • Red Garner

    also, star ships under water have been done many many times before. star trek 4 anyone?

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t mind Uhura showing emotion because the alternative would have been “strong, stoic, unemotional black women”, which is a tired stereotype I’d rather not see in the movies. Besides, she was showing less emotion than Bones and McCoy, and there’s nothing weak or needy about showing emotion.

  • Carla Lewis
  • Anonymous

    Again the alternative would be “strong, stoic, unemotional black woman”, which is a stereotype slapped onto black women all the time. I’m a black woman and I don’t want to see that.

  • Robin S

    I like the shout-outs and homages, like names of drinks or planets, or, as in this movie, the inclusion of Section 31 (which was named and fleshed out in DS9.) But when they copy wholesale plot points and actions, it makes the whole thing predictable.

    “Into Darkness” was a good, fresh, well-balanced movie until they revealed Khan. Then it just became a predictable rehash, The elements of “Space Seed” were not out of place because it was chronologically close. The elements from “Wrath of Khan” just didn’t jive given the decades of friendship that should have been between Kirk and Spock prior to it. That and there was absolutely zero emotional tension with Kirk in the radiation bay, because you knew there was no way in hell he was gonna stay dead, and they had already shown that Khan’s blood is the elixir of life. When the scene happened in “Wrath of Khan,” it was written to be Spock’s actual death. It had weight. It had emotional resonance. In “Darkness,” it felt like a shallow copycat scene. It felt cute rather than real.

    And yes, Spock screaming “KHAAAAN!” was unintentionally hilarious.

  • Foxfire

    I was ok with it up till Kronos. Then it was just a major case of “Klingons off the starboard bow” and everything went to crap after that.

    Dare I say, too much action? I was sitting there bored for half the movie as each scene tried to outdo the last with forced drama. My tipping point was Kirk’s helmet cracking. There was no chance he was going to splat against the other star ship. Also it’s space, all they need to do is fire their jets in the opposite direction at the right time to slow down their momentum rather than trying to shoot womp rats through a death star tube.

    I did enjoy the first Star Trek movie, it had holes and too much action, but it was enjoyable. This second one felt like a discombobulated piece of mess that had JJ Abrams trying to outdo Michael Bay for biggest explosions and lack of coherence.

    Why even Klingons?!?!?!? It made no sense. It did make sense when John Harrison teleported there to have Kirk fire missiles, Hello war with earth to get back at earth people for killing his crew. But, he had no idea Kirk would come after him, or would be compassionate to him. Why wouldn’t he just kill Uhura and Spock and then force Kirk to take him back to the enterprise where he would then take it over.

    Argh… the inconsistences and dropped plot lines.

  • Robin S

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Klingons never really feature in any major way in the rebooted franchise. The fact is, TNG and DS9 had lots of Klingons. It would be very hard to turn them back from being allies to being villains in the minds of Trek fans when they haven’t really been bad guys for awhile.

    If the producers are smart, they’ll go forward with their own new race or a race that didn’t have a lot of development. The producers seem to want their own room to develop things, and rightly so. Klingons come with a lot of canonical baggage.

  • Anonymous

    “…the lack of philosophy”

    Did no one else notice the nuanced handling of terrorism and the exploration of civilization’s ethical response to it?

    My wife also pointed out that using transwarp torpedos to kill a terrorist deep outside one’s borders was perfectly analogous to how the US government behaves toward suspected terrorists in Yemen and in Pakistan. Most entertainment sides with the hawks. Even the series Enterprise sided with the hawks in the Xindi arc.

    Into Darkness was part of the proud pacifistic tradition of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek.

  • Susanna Hucke

    Biggest problem of this movie: It is not logical.
    Second biggest problem: Plotholes en masse and not just the ones with the transwarp beam~thing, the magic Cumberblood or why a hell Kronos- JJ substituted logic for good looks and burning buildings.

    In the end, there are TWO spaceships falling down on earth. And earth has no tractor beams, patriot rockets or phaser stations??
    Starfleet comand has no emergency shields for their main buildings (when Khan attacked at first place he had enough time to go around the security, ok, but later)?
    Why is no one in the enterprise using the magnetic boots from the space suits or the escape pods (the bridge crew wanted to stay, ok, but what about the others? No evacuation for the crew FTW??)
    Why is everyone running to the bridge instead of using the intercom/communicator?
    What is up with this gigantic Guggenheim “Turbo Plaza”? I’d rather have a bigger cabin instead of that.
    There is a door with a a radiation sign at engeneering- and no closet with protection suits next to it?
    The female officiers wear short sleeves and no visible tights (like TOS Uhura had), the men have long sleeves and long pants. Heating up a Starship to a nice 21-22° celsius must be pretty cheap these days.

    Random notes:
    -This was a James Bond Movie in Space.- And it was like ”
    Never Say Never Again” >,little girl; daughter of Dr. Whos Mickey/Rickey). But I always get wet eyes when I hear bagpipes.

    -Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie, because is looked great, had Cumbervillain in it and we could see Future!London, a vulcan in a vulcan, funny red planets and I always enjoy a bit of vulcans and Aliens and Trek. I just got a lot of minor and some major annoyed feels.

    Huu, long post, sorry if I got a bit overboard, being a Trekkie since… birth (Mom <3) made me write all those things

    PS: The tribble is there, because it was a leftover/guinea pig from the "Mudd incident"- that is where the little ship, the use for kronos is from.

  • Anonymous

    “Heck, we already have had communicators for decades.”

    That’s actually one of the most unrealistic parts of Star Trek. I mean, no one ever makes a mistake about whether someone else is talking to them, or to a communicator.

  • Anonymous

    Oh I know, I saw it too, but I was hoping that it wasn’t going to happen, that’s all.

  • Anonymous

    I feel generally the same way although to say I didn’t enjoy at all would be lying, because it was a well crafted movie on a technical level, just the whole “Star Trek” part of it got a little lost.

  • Maripoya

    Khan was written as an Indian/East Asian man, but has never been allowed to be played by an actor of this background.

    I am disappointed that there is a general consensus that it would be OK to have actors from an entirely different ethnicity and racial group play the part (as long as they aren’t WASP) and that this somehow represents any type of “progress.”

    It’s the 21st century and I don’t support the idea that it would be oh so difficult to find an excellent East Asian actor that could have excelled in the role.

  • Anonymous

    I mean, it isn’t like the subcontinent doesn’t have one of the largest film industries in the world. Short notice aside, if you cast Saif Ali Khan or Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan (Aamir Khan kinda has Mr. Bean ears, so he’s out) then you can’t hide the Khan reveal that well.

  • Anonymous

    To stick just with guys named Khan: Salman, Shahrukh, Saif Ali, Aamir…

  • Maripoya

    I think it’s often ignored that the TOS Uhura was constantly pushed into the background and rarely given an opportunity to contribute anything meaningful to the plot.

    Also it’s interesting how the emotionalism of Spock and Kirk for each other is OK, but a newly-active Uhura’s affections for both Spock (romantic) and Kirk (friendship) is a sign of un-professionalism and character weakness. Why the difference in reception?

    Let’s go down a movie checklist: Uhura actually got to leave the Enterprise (twice), had something crucial to the narrative to do each time she did (not just as background scenery), and was emotionally engaged with the main characters (instead of stoically assessing their relationships from a distance).

    Despite the sexism in these reboots, I’d rather see Abrahm’s portrayal of a Black woman character over the trapped-in-1966, isn’t it so special, we have a named Black character sitting on the bridge any day.

  • The Gaf


    You mad, bros?

  • Anonymous

    Alyssa Rosenberg on the film, focusing a good deal on extrajudicial killings.

    As to pacifistic tradition in new trek, there’s only so far an action movie with a lot of fighting can go in that direction, even if the fighting is in opposition to superweapons.

  • Anonymous

    Again. This is Pre TOS. Pre first five year mission. Pike is alive, actually he didn’t die in TOS. He was alive at the end of The Menagerie. That was a major episode.

    There’s actually quite a few people that didn’t care for Star Trek when they were kids. It really isn’t a kid accessible show.

    Amok Time hasn’t happened yet, and likely won’t. Because Vulcan was destroyed in the last film. But hey, Romulus is still around (remember, that’s why Nero was pissed- his planet was destroyed).

    Actually, I don’t believe Spock being promised to T’Ping would have prevented him from relations prior to their official marriage.

  • Anonymous
    This lady played the officer that took over for Checkov. She’s probably the only realistic looking person on Star Trek in ever. No props for that? At all?

  • Hyatt

    Khan isn’t and never was an alien. He’s a genetically engineered human.

  • Alyssa Lobo

    Yeah – but nobody associates terrorism with blacks as much as they do with south east asians. And Harewood was very obvi FORCED to do it. And he isn’t exactly vilainous

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    It’s the kind of situation in which America’s sorry race relations have set them up for failure each and every time.

    Representation matters, so much. If we had more POC in more films, with more varied roles and less shitty stereotyping, the ‘brown villain defeated by white hero’ retread wouldn’t feel as heavy.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    Congratulations! You just fulfilled the Racism Apologist bingo for whitewashing.

    1. POC role given to white actor? Must be because they’re more talented/available/appropriate/etc! (please note that a 2009 study found that 72% of major roles went to white actors, even though white people are just over half of the total population)

    2. White role given to POC actor? It’s the exact same thing! (try to do the math when it comes to the rest of that percentage split along over a dozen different racial groups. Native Americans are at .3%!)

    3. Conflating nationality with race. Education fail.

    4. Using potential brownface as a positive for Cumberbatch’s casting. Pretty sure that’s just as bad, but it didn’t happen, so why are you even bringing it up? “Oh, sure, you got clocked in the head, but think about it: your legs could’ve been broken! See?”

    Conclusion: get smarter.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    Wow. It’s sad when a toddler can recognize a pattern better than you can.

  • Airon Barker

    U Trekkies would hate this movie even if all of you got together and wrote it, you’re the worse kind of nerd who can’t embrace change whatsoever. These movies are epic, this is not the 70′s, 80′s or 90′s, it’s a new Trek for a new audience with a lot of love and easter eggs thrown in from the old series, just stop watching and move on

  • Sarah Nuckolls

    Wait what? I hate random pregnancies and births in movies it’s supposed to ‘draw women in?’ I… just… no, I thought it just made everyone else feel as awkward and uncomfortable as it did me because… ugh. I mean if there is a logical reason for a birth sure whatever but as a draw for women good lord NO just NO

  • Sarah Nuckolls

    While I agree that looking for people of the ethnicity the character should be instead of just someone not white is ideal in a lot of ways I feel like the actor themselves should be considered, by which I mean someone shouldn’t be dismissed for a role they would be ideal to fill as an actor just because they’re not from the right place. Is this the same excuse used to cast all white actors for 90% or roles, yeah probably, doesn’t mean it’s not valid as a criteria for casting. That said, if the race doesn’t even matter for a role I’d LOVE to see some freaking variety in race it’s just disgraceful how white male dominated movies still are in 2013, it’s freaking embarrassing

  • Sarah Nuckolls

    Shoulda cast someone everyone would have though would have to be khan as a new and exciting villain and I dunno had a much better movie

  • Mark Gillespie

    Oh and while the Enterprise slowly plummets from orbit (more slowly than its trek from the moon to earth), there aren’t enough transporter pads on the West Coast to beam every crew member on the ship to safety?

  • Mark Gillespie

    Wasn’t Alexander Siddig available? He’d have been a great Khan, and he would have driven Star Trek fans into a frenzy.

  • Mark Gillespie

    I made this point earlier in this thread. Alexander Siddig, DS9′s Julian Bashir, would have made a great Khan!

  • j lebowitz

    I’ll agree to disagree.

    Kirk was always brash and always a risk taker, but uses a combination of gut feelings with solid intelligence to come up with the not so obvious answer (or at very least a first class bluff)… That’s why he beats Spock in 3D chess.

  • Jack Voss

    He would have been great.

  • Jack Voss

    How about Jimi Mistry

  • Red Garner

    omg i finally found you!

  • Red Garner

    ok. admittedly, wrath of khan was my least favorite star trek movie (ear bugs… no. just, no.) so i have not watched it frequently. i just never considered khan’s race. even as a genetically engineered human, race would be of little importance since in this future race isn’t a prevalent issue. did that ever come up in the wrath of khan? that he’s indian? is it relevant to the story line?

  • Molly Jackson

    God, you are so right. Unfortunately, I think Abrams wants to steer clear of past Trek as best he can, so he never would have thought of Siddig.

  • j lebowitz

    Oh, crimony! I’m an old-time Trek fan and I did enjoy the movie. I don’t even mind the changes.

    I’m just ticked that they couldn’t have made a better, more unified story out of the thing. Action is good. Action with some kind of purpose and a great story-line to boot is golden. They spend so much time and money on epic special effects. All that effort. If they took an extra 10 minutes to write out an epic tale to go along with it it would be that much better.

    The movie was fun but sadly it was still a missed opportunity.

  • j lebowitz

    Are you kidding?

    The next film will likely have Klingons. Unless, they really did forget about the whole thing that happened on the Klingon home planet. (I’d try to map out the plot for you, but it’s not necessary. Apparently you don’t have to have one of those unified plot things for a Trek movie any more…;)

  • Anonymous

    What did I say about Klingons?

  • Hyatt

    It’s important in a meta sense. He’s a genetically engineered human, considered the best humanity has to offer, and the best of humanity is not white. Back when “Space Seed” aired, eugenics was associated with white supremacy, and here’s a character that implicitly says that white isn’t genetically superior.

    And even if it isn’t important to the story line, that doesn’t make whitewashing okay. Sulu’s race isn’t important to the story line, so does that make him okay to be played by a white actor if that actor is supposedly the best for the role?

  • Rain Mist

    Perhaps because they aren’t casually chatting on them all the time? In the future, humanity learns you can go shopping without telling your BF what aisle you’re in.

  • Anonymous

    Someone in the theater I was in snorted. It might have been me.

  • j lebowitz

    You mentioned Romulus was still around… I didn’t want you to forget the Klingons…

    The possibility of war with the Klingons, though, looms given a recent (side show) incursion on their home planet…

  • Hyatt

    You mean when the Bird of Prey crashed into SF bay? That wasn’t deliberately hiding in the ocean, it was simply one of the few ways to get the whales into the ocean, and there’s no indication that the BoP was flightworthy afterwards.

  • carolyne coleman

    I have been trying to make that point for 4 years. It’s like the Dawson’s creek of space.

  • Anonymous

    Because the Klingon’s are the obvious foe. I don’t recall at what point they and the Romulans swapped tech (Romulans got the Klingons more powerful ships and Klingons got cloaking tech), but would be interesting if they did something with that. A big screen Enterprise Incident, or something like that.

  • AdmNaismith

    Was Ben Kingsly busy, or just too old for JJTrek 90210?
    (POC, indian even, and played plenty of bad guys)

  • pvs

    Sorry, but these dumbed-down versions of what used to be a very intellectual saga just don’t do it for me. I guess JJ is playing to the less cerebral.

    I guess I’d be OK with the “alternative timeline” bs if JJ actually tried to do what was so important to Mr. Roddenberry … making Star Trek follow basic laws of a science that was 300 years ahead of us. But when I see (among other things):
    – Communicators working over any distance in the galaxy
    – Transporters that can take you from Earth to a planet in the Klingon Empire
    – 1980′s circa retro-rockets blowing fire out the sides of the Enterprise

    I begin to wonder just how much effort JJ put into his fairy tale.

    I mean, if communicators and transporters can take you anyplace in the galaxy, what do you even need a starship for?! It’s illogical and brainless, which is the way I look at this newest scribble.

    Lot’s of explosions, and glitzy 3-d effects, but no sensible story line, no philosophical meaning, no societal message, just blowing things up, and funny, trite dialogue.

    Sorry, but I guess I am not the type of person who will spend another dollar on anything JJ produces. As I said in another forum, for me, JJ has done to Star Trek what Michael David Chapman did to The Beatles. He has killed the legend for me with a cheap knock off … “Start Trek In Name Only” (STINO)

    What a shame.

  • Anonymous

    That’s right, because in 40+ years Star Trek never had a tech inconsistency. If you really think it’s all flowed seamlessly you’re mistaken.

    Making a Star Trek movie is a Catch-22, make it look sleek and modern and people complain that it looks “too high tech”. That was a major complaint about ST:ENT.

    Put something in to make it “retro-looking” (i.e. the boosters) and you get “that’s not scientific!!11!!”.
    -transwarp teleportation was mentioned in the previous movie.:
    It’s similar in tech the borg used to hop around the galaxy.

    The tech Scotty used was confiscated by Star Fleet, because the incursion by Nero caused them to militarize.

    There was no grandstanding speeches, like in, well the rest of the movies. There was dialogue that played the immorality of destroying someone without a trial. The dangers of too much military power. Power corrupts. Fear of the unknown. Actions being ruled by emotions.

    Do you actually NEED a speech to figure that out?

  • pvs

    Whatever. So I guess with transwarp teleportation, we can now mothball the entire fleet, as it will be a waste, since this new genre, in an alternate universe, has a much more efficient method of getting around.

    I have no problem with that … just don’t call it Star Trek. maybe Star Beam, or Star Port, or something. You can just have the actors kinda walk through a door, or down a tunnel or something, and be on any planet they wish.

    No … Star Trek, IMO, didn’t need this type of finagling. R.I.P., Star Trek. You have been phased out, as far as I am concerned. Just another great idea washed down the drain of cheap, trite disposables.

    Sorry I cannot find the enthusiasm you seem to have, Violiav, but I know now, not to expect anything I consider meaningful from this saga in the future. I’m sure JJ will find enough people who are willing to see his neat explosions and stuff, but I will not be amongst them. If I need a trek fix, I’ll rent one of the old ones.

    Live long and prosper, Violiav. :-(

  • Hyatt

    Khan’s race is as important to his character as Uhura’s is to hers.

  • Anonymous

    Dude/lady, what do you want that’s meaningful? People keep saying that. People say “lack of morality”, and I or someone else points out specific parts in the dialogue that counter that.

    You and others decry the explosions and action sequences, yet the better and most popular Star Trek films have just that. II has an epic pursuit through a nebula. III has the goddamn Enterprise blowing up. VI has an epic space battle (btw the torpedo scene was reused in Generations, almost verbatim, so re-using scenes is a Trek tradition) were the Enterprise gets shredded. I haven’t even gotten to the TNG movies.

    Trek movies have explosions, faster pace than the shows. There’s conflict (II, III, V, VI), fights (II, III, IV, V, VI), space battles (II, III, VI), and intrigue (II, VI). And guess what? The bulkheads always explode. Something catches fire on the bridge, but the damage is usually worse in other parts of the ship.

    Do want me to find a clip reel of Kirk’s punches? Or one of Star Trek explosions?

  • pvs

    OK, you’re right. This was the greatest movie EVER! Geez!!! What do you want me to say?!

    I, FWIW, totally agree with Zoe on this. I thought the movie was really a sorry excuse for “Star Trek”. Obviously, you liked it.

    I agree … we disagree. So maybe, if it makes you feel better, go to the next ones twice to make up for my absence.


  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed the movie and took it at face value as an exciting lens flare laden action adventure for the Summer movie theatre crowd, Popcorn was made for this type of movie. Here’s our review via the CuteMonster site

  • Anonymous

    Well, for starters you could explain what you mean by meaningful? Which is what I asked you.

    I presented valid examples, you presented not really any. You stated blatant fallacies about the original series, I corrected you.

    So tell, me, what – to you-, makes Star Trek, well, Star Trek.

    Seriously. What makes people go “Waahh, this isn’t Star Trek”?, Go watch all the movies, and tell me what is so different. The plots usually contrived and sometimes bizarre (fountain of youth, clone of picard, god quest). I don’t see the need to discuss the TV show, because Shows and Movies are apples and oranges.

    Take a gander at the critical response of the first Star Trek II.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Pine was only 6 years younger than William Shatner when they started their Trek careers
    Zachary Quinto was actually a year OLDER than Leonard Nimoy was
    Zoe Saldana three years younger than Nichelle Nichols
    Slightly larger but not significant differences between some of the other actors ages…
    Not a huge difference…

  • Jonathan Schultz

    Ben Kingsly is AS British as cumberbatch, he just looks darker

  • Jonathan Schultz

    Okay First of all I’m not a casual Star trek Fan and I loved this film. Second, in fan panned Series Enterprise we get the only estimate of distance of from earth to Qo’nos, It took them a week and there average cruising speed was warp 4. This enterprise is much faster, Also in Star Trek 6 when Praxis blew the Excelsior was close enough to feel the shock wave. Third while I do sort of Agree that they should have hired an Indian actor for Khan arguing that incessantly ignores how good a job he did. Third the point about Revenge being wrong isn’t wasted by kirk going off half cocked, because he does grasp the point, and I’m guessing no one else remembers how unreliable the transporter could be in the TOS era?

  • Patrick Kincaid

    He was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji, and is of mixed heritage (as we say in the UK).

  • Asher Elric

    I liked this movie. A lot. I don’t know why so many people are having problems with it. It’s a well made movie. I think whitewashing is just because sometimes people just need an excuse to hate something.

  • Natalie Reed

    The fact that most reviews I keep seeing conveniently leave out the fact that Montalban was not himself Indian, or act like Del Toro would have been a better casting etc., all the while reasserting that the character is Indian, has been really frustrating to me. While I *wholeheartedly* agree with the statements that the whitewashing is problematic as hell, I find that allowing some kind of “all brown people are interchangeable in Hollywood” attitude to sneak in along with it is NOT cool, and severely undermines the point.

    Cumberbatch isn’t Indian, but Montalban wasn’t Indian either. So this isn’t exactly a step backwards… more like just a step sideways (however, in the 30-ish years since Wrath of Khan, and almost 50 years since Space Seed, we CERTAINLY should have gotten to the point of making a step FORWARDS).

  • Natalie Reed

    And Jennifer Dougherty…. this is a perfect example of the problematic “All non-white / brown actors are interchangeable” view underscoring so many of these discussions. WHY exactly would Del Toro have been a better fit as a Sikh character than Cumberbatch? What possible justification is there for claiming a Puerto Rican man is more SIkh-ish than an Englishman? That he has a more of a tan? C’mon, let’s not respond to the racism of the whitewashing with a racism of interchangeability.

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree. Having a Latino play an Indian would not have been better. It would in fact have been REALLY problematic. But the original casting of Montalban was still a step forward at the time. Yes, the message that “brown people are interchangeable” is horrible. But in the 1960s and 70s, it was almost impossible for a latino actor to be cast in anything but the most stereotypical roles. So that Star Trek actually managed to get a non-white actor as Khan, and that Montalban was able to create one of the most nuanced and memorable villains in fiction, was a big step for a non-white actor at the time. That being said, in 2013, we should expect no actor but a South Asian actor as Khan, and Del Toro would still have been a problem.

  • Anonymous

    Frankly, for me, Cumberbatch was a huge disappointment.

    Why? Because of the weight of Ricardo Montalban. Because this role was iconic, and epic, and bigger than Cumberbatch.

    I love Benedict Cumberbatch. I adore his interpretation of Sherlock, even when I screaming at the writers. He does good things.

    His John Harrison could have been a memorable Trek villain. But he suffers terribly in the comparison. Terribly.

  • Anonymous

    The point is, why did they give him a cover identity? Why bother? What’s the point, if he’s stuck in your lab designing your death weapons?

    And if he broke out of their custody and was trying to expose their secrets, a cover identity doesn’t help with that.

    So, basically, there is no conceivable reason for him to have been given a cover identity.

    And you’re totally right in your second paragraph. Without the overshadowing of his character, Ben C. does just fine. Compared to what he’s supposed to be living up to? Pale shadows.

  • Anonymous

    What’s the term that’s becoming popular for politicians doing Freudian slips like these? Those gaffes that reveal what they really think?

    At any rate, yes, that’s exactly what JJ has shown us, so I take him at his word here.

  • j lebowitz

    I disagree. I think Cumberbatch was as brilliant as he could have been.

    Ironically, his character was deeply buried by an incredibly shallow script. The script just didn’t support him (or anyone else) given the writing–which centered on action, action, action. Sadly, he didn’t really have any great lines or brilliant motivation.

    That said, the new-movie Khan was a poorly fleshed out anti-Superman, nearly bulletproof, with very little substance, and truthfully with very few lines. It’s amazing Cumberbatch could have done anything with the character.

    Montalban (who was absolutely brilliant in the role, by the way) on the other hand, was given a whole lot more to play with. He wanted vengeance but he was also more physically vulnerable and retained a softer, more human side. The old-style Khan was a man of violence and action but also used psychological warfare. There was also that loathing respect between Kirk and Kahn that roiled beneath their rivalry that just didn’t show through in the new movie. (Then, of course, the old Khan was also more literate; Montalban got to quote a little Captain Ahab in the end.)

  • j lebowitz

    For the love of God, please write it! Keep Kirk rash and feckless if you want, put in gobs of action, but just have it all make some sense…

  • Minette Ether

    Naveen Andrews. He’s Indian, he’s British, HE’S WORKED WITH JJ ABRAMS BEFORE ON LOST. Getting an actual Indian actor cast as Khan is really not as difficult as it’s made out to be. But Abrams would’ve have had to actually care enough to look.

  • Anonymous

    >> Ironically, his character was deeply buried by an incredibly shallow
    script. The script just didn’t support him (or anyone else) given the
    writing–which centered on action, action, action. Sadly, he didn’t
    really have any great lines or brilliant motivation.

    This is very true–I could just be blaming him for not transcending the material he was given.

    Dammit, Benedict, all I ask of you is angelic perfection in human form–why do you insist on disappointing me?

  • Melissa Spero

    According to the IMDB trivia page for the film (which I know is user submitted and can be unreliable), there were at least three other Latino actors considered for the role prior to the casting of Cumberbatch. My boyfriend commented after the film that he liked that JJ went in a different direction to throw the audience off. I’m usually the first one to cry “whitewashing!,” but I came to view Kahn over the years as not being a member of our racial makeup due to his own genetic engineering, and Cumberbatch (IMO) has a unique look. He’s also an incredibly hot international property right now due to Sherlock, so it most likely made financial sense. But to assume once Beniceo del Toro turned the part down they just decided to make him white is, I feel, shortsighted.

  • AdmNaismith

    Yes, Andrews would have been an excellent choice.

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t seem to me like they picked Benedict Cumberbatch BECAUSE he’s white…in fact, complaining about it is making race an issue when I don’t think it should be…

    Why can’t actors be hired based on their performance and not their race?

  • Anonymous

    In my opinion (which is only my opinion, mind you) those angered by Cumberbatch being Khan need to pick their battles better. Getting pissed that a character that has never been of the right ethnicity and whose ethnicity always seemed somewhat random anyways (after all, is there anything Indian or Sikh to Khan besides his name–and I’ve heard the Sikh-ness of his name has been called into question as well) is played by a white guy who is considered to have had the best performance in a movie seems to me to be wasting energy.

    That said, I wish Cumberbatch had turned out to have been playing a different villain–I was pulling for Gary Marshall myself–mostly because Khan is just so expected. Surprise us next time, JJ

    However, I had a lot of fun watching this movie, and in general I liked it.

  • Anonymous

    But by your logic it would mean the majority of the actors who are the “best” are white given the high percentage of white actors working vs. those of color. And we know that isn’t true.

  • Anonymous

    So which battles should they “pick”? When does it have to egregious enough to bring up as an “issue”? While it may seem “random” to you it’s not when you look at history and statistics. The majority of people working in Hollywood films are white. The majority of film roles that are written are for white people. Even when taking the number of white actors and comparing it to the population is is skewed. So when an iconic non-white role is cast with a white actor, it is a battle to be picked.

  • Anonymous

    And I’m not denying all that, except perhaps that Khan is an “iconic non-white role.” To me, Khan’s race always seemed incidental to his character, not a component of it. I doubt if you hadn’t seen “Space Seed” you would even know he was supposed to be Punjabi–his Indianness was certainly never mentioned in the movie with his name on it (at least that I recall), and “Khan” is also a distinctly Muslim name for a character who’s supposed to be a Sikh (at least so I’ve heard). Now, if Sulu was suddenly not Asian anymore, or if they made a DS9 movie with a white Sisko, I would be right there with you. But to me, at least, this isn’t a “Last Airbender” level offense.

    Out of curiosity, would you have been as pissed if they had actually had gotten Benecio Del Toro to play him–is your concern the few amount of non-white roles in Hollywood, or that a character who’s supposed to be South Asian is played by a white guy? Because to me, having a South Asian played by a Latino actor isn’t really all that accurate either. And if it’s the first one, then you should be trying to convince Hollywood to make Kirk black, because your concern is the under-representation of nonwhite characters in film, not the “iconicness” of the character.

    I will acknowledge that Benedict Cumberbatch is pretty much the epitome of what you think of when you think of “white actor,” which perhaps inflames the issue, but literally every review of this movie that I have seen (except this one) has credited him as being the best part of the movie, which perhaps cuts down on some of the criticism of the movie for “whitewashing” it. In the end, I just go with the “code name” explanation and enjoy the film, but that’s my opinion

  • Sally Strange

    And I’m not denying all that, except perhaps that Khan is an “iconic non-white role.” To me, Khan’s race always seemed incidental to his character, not a component of it.

    So, in order for a character to be both iconic and non-white, the character’s race or ethnicity has to be a defining part of his or her narrative arc? Otherwise, we can think of them as white? Excuse, let me correct myself for you: Otherwise we can think of them as any race we want to! Of course, obviously, but you’re saying this because you’re trying to get around the question WE are asking, which is not “Are there times when it’s totally fine to cast an actor of a different race to play the same role?” The answer to to that is yes. The question you are avoiding by shifting the conversation in that direction is: Why is it that, whenever race is taken as irrelevant, not intrinsic to the character and therefore up for grabs in terms of casting, does this recasting of race so often go from dark to white rather than the other way around? Why is it that “irrelevant” becomes default and default is white?

  • Sally Strange

    Again, this idea that “race isn’t important” means “casting a white actor for a role that was originally not white is totally excused from any nefarious connotations!” Really odd. If Khan had made it a big deal in the original series to talk about meeting some of his genetic donors, who happened to be Sikhs from Rajasthan and definitely brown-skinned, then you would feel it was problematic to cast a white man in Khan’s role? But since he didn’t include any such details, it’s not problematic?

  • Sally Strange

    “It’s an impossible dilemma, so… let’s go with the white guy.”

  • Sally Strange

    So you’re saying they should have just cast -any- Mexican or Indian actor even if they really were not right for the part? Or really didn’t want the part?

    It is simply logically impossible, Captain, that zero actors of Indian or Mexican or one of the many other nations that share that stereotypical phenotypic expression of dark eyes, black hair, and olive to brown skin, would have been right for the part and interested in working at the time. Your question betrays the racist assumption that the impossible–that zero actors of color were capable and willing–is possible.

  • Sally Strange

    I agree, the treatment of women in this was horrible–the uniforms! the gratuitous fanservice!–but Carol Marcus did manage to disarm a bomb WHILE McCoy was hitting on her like a total skeeze.

  • Sally Strange

    There was a black woman who played Sulu’s fellow pilot. Don’t think she had any lines though. Pity – she looked interesting.

  • Sally Strange

    “Nobody let the brown dudes know that we’re casting, okay? Tell them it’s next week.”

  • Anonymous

    Thing of it is, you don’t know that. You don’t know that after Del Toro backed out (at the last minute) that they didn’t ask the studio, “Well, hey, let’s go get some Indian Guy?” Maybe they didn’t. Heck I don’t know. Heck, maybe the studio bosses, said “Hey, use this guy. Nerds seem to like him.” Maybe, when del Toro backed out, their other top choices had already moved on. Did you know that B.C. almost backed out, because Bret Spiner (Data) told him he wouldn’t be in another movie after this one. Seriously, Star Trek is the kiss of death for many a actor.

    Either way it’s pure speculation.

    I think, like with any other Star Trek film, people go in wanting to be upset so they find something to harp on.
    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Star Trek nit picking as much as the next Trekkie, but some of the crap I’ve been hearing is just bile. That’s really not what the fan base should be about.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, it’s been my experience that the recasting of race goes from white to dark, as you put it (Heimdall and Nick Fury being two cases that come immediately to mind), presumably to correct underrepresentation of minorities in popular culture. For all I know there are many cases of the reverse, but really Khan is the only example of the reverse happening that I can think of off the top of my head. I’m legitimately curious to hear other examples

  • teamintfortae

    What surprised me was the superficiality of the movie. Maybe I have been spoiled by the multi-layered intricacy of shows like the Game of Thrones, Sherlock and Dr Who (tellingly, all on TV), but this did not come off as a Star Trek movie.

    Sure, it touched on various important points like the morality of revenge, the duty of the Starfleet etc. etc., but it was really just an action romp in space rather than a sic-fi movie.


    I was especially disappointed by the ending, in which Khan is ‘defeated’ by having Spock beat the living daylights out of him with Uhura’s assistance. That’s it. I mean, really? You have fucking SPOCK, and a villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and this is the script you give them?

    And the pre-climax ‘chess game’, where Spock gives Khan his torpedoes, but with the Botany Bay lot removed – any idiot with half a brain could have seen that coming.

    In all, a disappointing movie. The cast deserves better.

  • Brant Rotramel

    Do you know anything about Drama? Don’t ever direct a film, especially fantasy, which is what Star Trek is plain and simple. It’s not real, so don’t be so hard on it. You talk about Realistic Science….there are flippin Alien Races and Laser Pistols…Ring Bombs… for crying out loud.

  • Brant Rotramel

    How boring would it be to watch a ship fly light years in a film…there isn’t enough time for that. It’s called Pacing in film it’s to keep the audience engaged and move the plot forward. It doesn’t have to be close…BECAUSE IT ISNT REAL.

  • Porco Rosso

    Star Trek has never been big on science. The old movies had weapons that created planets, people meeting God on a number of occasions, time travel, rock monsters, questionable teleportation and who knows what.

  • Porco Rosso

    Do people really think of “darkish, Indian portrayal” when they think of Ricardo Montalban?

  • Anonymous

    Still, the character was Sikh — and Montaban and other hispanic actors weren’t. An east-Asian actor should have been cast originally. Montalban actually wore dark brown make-up in Space Seed.

    And in the original script — the evil superman from the past was Nordic. This article’s assertion that Khan (a crazed dictator from the 20th century) wasn’t white because of Roddenberry’s vision of the future is somewhat problematic.

  • Anonymous

    Irrfan Khan.

    But a brown or hispanic actor would have given away the secret… arguably (and a stupid argument).

  • Anonymous

    Irrfan Khan would have been much, much better.

  • Red Garner

    i don’t even know any more. i know i listened to sesame street and have never had an issue with someone’s race. i don’t want to be made to feel like i am racist and sexist because i liked a movie that didn’t pay enough attention to those issues or because there was a sexy shot of some actress in her panties. that’s all.

  • CultureWarReporterEvan

    I’m particularly surprised that there was no mention in this review of the gratuitous underwear scene, based on a premise I rolled my eyes so hard at that I think I saw own my brain.

  • Anonymous

    “Actually, it’s been my experience that the recasting of race goes from white to dark”

    The only way for this to be true is for you to literally be living in a cave and only came out this year to see this Star Trek movie and stuck around for an extra minute to quickly skim this review and leave these comments of yours.

    The very review of this movie on this very page here mentions two other major nonwhite roles in two other movies that where whitewashed by taking two nonwhite characters and making them into white characters. How did you miss that?

    Simple research will also show you a whole host of nonwhite characters and roles that were whitewashed throughout Hollywood’s history and how nonwhites have been and are continually marginalized in Hollywood and do not get the same opportunities as whites even if the roles are not of white characters.

  • Anonymous

    “Why can’t actors be hired based on their performance and not their race?”

    You should ask Hollywood that since they clearly don’t follow that philosophy seeing as how they disproportionally hire white actors over nonwhite actors even if the characters are not white.

  • Anonymous

    “And by the way, Kahn’s race has changed several times over the Star Trek series and movie.”

    No, it hasn’t. He was always meant to be South Asian.

    “So I honestly wasn’t bothered by this change.”

    Most likely you are white and don’t experience racism in the media so you can just ignore it. However you not experiencing racism does not mean it does not exist nor does it mean that it should not be talked about and ignored.

  • Anonymous

    “First, Sikh, is a religion, not a race or ethnicity as many commenter
    have mistakenly claimed. Any person, of any race or nationality can be a

    Spare us.

    The character was meant to be nonwhite. That is how he is represented in the original incarnation. It is hardly subtle.

    Nonwhites are not given the same opportunities as whites in Hollywood. This role could’ve given the big chance for a nonwhite actor to play an iconic role in an important film franchise in an otherwise racist institution. And yet, the role was whitewashed and whites got preferential treatment again limiting nonwhites to stereotypes and forgettable parts.

  • Anonymous

    “Honestly, Khanberbatch was the kindest way to split the difference.”

    No, it wasn’t. A white guy got ahead and nonwhite people got screwed once again.

    There is nothing kind about that.

    Try not to let your white privilege blind your judgement.

  • Anonymous

    “I’m usually the first one to cry “whitewashing!,” but I came to view Kahn over the years as not being a member of our racial makeup due to his own genetic engineering,”

    I suppose white privilege can do that to you.

    “and Cumberbatch (IMO) has a unique look.”

    Unique to whom? A person who’s never seen white people before?

    “He’s also an incredibly hot international property right now due to Sherlock, so it most likely made financial sense.”

    And yet the movie debuted at the box office with less money compared to the first Star Trek reboot film. So much for that.

  • Anonymous

    “[Young Spock is] reminded that details of the alternative timeline cannot be shared, lest they irrevocably alter the course of history.”

    Which makes no friggin’ sense, since the course of history has already been altered irrevocably.

    Considering how many threats to Earth, the Federation, or just life in general the various Enterprises in the original timeline encountered and survived by the skin of their teeth, it’s downright criminal of Old Spock not to share details. Rubber pancake monsters that destroy civilizations by inducing madness, giant, life-sucking amoebas, genocidal Earth/alien hybrid robot probes, ginormous planet eating doomsday weapons, etc., etc., etc.? God forbid anyone gets warned about them.

  • Janice Dawley

    While I agree that the movie was muddled (not to say nonsensical) plot-wise, I think this review is misrepresenting it on a couple of fronts:

    1) Regarding vengeance: Kirk is all gung-ho to chase Khan and kill him in the futuristic equivalent of a drone strike, but it is a big moment when we find out that *Spock has talked him out of it* and Kirk is now determined to apprehend Khan and bring him back to face justice. And that’s exactly what he does. This is not an issue the movie ignored.

    2) The whole “militarized Star Fleet vs. exploratory agency” issue comes up on multiple occasions in the film, not least when Scotty refuses to sign off on the experimental torpedoes & is forced to resign. Then, at the end of the movie, everyone (except for Bones) seems relieved and happy to finally be embarking on the “five year mission” of exploration that they all signed on for.

  • Hyatt

    Except he wasn’t a product of the future, he was born (or created) in the 60s, when race was still a big deal.

    Khan was speculated to be Sikh in his first appearance by a historian, and he was the ruler of most of Asia at the height of his power. It would be a little wrong if the ruler of Asia wasn’t at least partially Asian, don’t you think?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen it four times. Sorry. I apologize for having the nerve to disagree with you, but I happen to like it.

  • Red Garner

    damn, 3 down votes… bad day. bad day…

  • lakkane

    I don’t know why people keep going with the ‘whitewashed’ thing, the actor who played Khan was supposed to be have dark skin, be asian? Did you even know that the actor who originally played him was ‘hispanic’? And go check him he had this horrible make up to make him look dark skinned and he really didn’t looked Indian at all. The choice of Cumberbatch was risky but he did a great job, I’m huge fan of the original series, this movie is not what a real ST fan loves but neither was the first movie so I’m looking at it as something different, only inspired on ST, I liked it and some of the criticisms that I heard around are just unfair.
    Oh and I know that people NEED stereotypes but not everyone looks the same, in the hotel I work the other day an Indian looking guy arrived…he was French. You know Wentworth Miller? He’s that actor from Prison Break, his father is African-American, what does he look like?….labels, labels.

  • Anonymous

    It shows ignorance of the era to compare what happened then with what happened now. Roddenberry continuously met resistance trying to add diversity to his cast. He pushed the envelope, and, unfortunately, the furthest the envelope could be pushed in 1967 was Ricardo playing an Indian warlord. But that was still a huge step forward, for a nonwhite to play such an iconic role. Ricardo faced enough discrimination and trials as a Hispanic actor that he founded an organization to try and help Hispanic actors advocate in favor of parts that weren’t offensive stereotypes.

    Was it perfect? No. But it was a step forward.

    Benedict’s casting was a huge step backward. Roddenberry came up with the idea of a genetic superman, a physical and mental marvel, and then added the twist “why would he have to be a white man?”

    JJ Abrams in his casually racist way, thinking he was making things “better” by depriving people of color of the chance to play a beloved and sympathetic villain, turned the man who really is genetically superior into a white man. More than that, he took a genetic superman that was meant to be Indian and turned him into a white Britisher, without batting an eye.

  • Marian Librarian

    The audience will believe the fantasy if the rules are consistent with the universe they are presenting. We all know it’s not real, but it’s a lot more enjoyable if it follows internal consistency: the fictional transporter always works the same way, the Starship follows it’s own rules of speed. You can achieve good storytelling and pacing while doing these things, it has been done before. It doesn’t get a pass just because it’s fiction; it gets a pass when it’s good fiction.