It’s been 7 years since the first reboot and it’s midway through the Enterprise’s five-year exploratory mission into uncharted space. After the intro, the first few minutes of the movie read like a Starfleet recruitment video, just to really emphasise the way Captain Kirk feels like he has settled into a routine. Kirk is struggling with the isolation of space and thinking of retiring early.
Meanwhile, his first officer, Spock, is struggling with the fact that his planet has been destroyed and is also thinking about retiring so he can contribute to the regrowth of the Vulcan population.
The movie supplies amazing CGI views of cities and worlds and aliens, just the way a science fiction movie about the future should. Scenes are littered with characters of all colors, including green, blue, brown and white (literally). Justin Lin shows his Fast and Furious experience, and there are some cool spaceship maneuvering scenes. In the first major battle scene, when Krall and his crew attack the Enterprise, it is technically a sad scene because of all the onscreen deaths of crew members happening, but there’s a bit of humor in watching an entire row of redshirts get taken out in one shot, classic Star Trek style.
Our favorite crew members get paired up in interesting combinations – Uhura and Sulu, Kirk and Chekov, Spock and Bones, and Scotty and Jaylah. It’s great because you get to see a wider dynamic develop among the main characters, instead of everyone circling around Kirk and Spock, and Jaylah fits right in with them.
The main theme of the movie is unity, and whether it is a strength or a weakness. Krall, the antagonist, considers it a weakness when you do things like give him the object he wants to save a friend, but in the end working together is what saves everyone (of course).
Krall is yet another person with a vendetta against the United Federation of Planets, which really makes you think that maybe the Federation needs a more hands off foreign policy. He intended to make use of an ancient alien weapon that released something like nanite locusts that devour anything in their path, Grey Goo style. Star Trek Beyond is generally a grim and more serious action-packed movie, but there are enough moments of humor spread out to balance things. For example, they may defeat Krall in a fierce final battle with some strategic use of vents, but before that they take out his army of ships with the power of rock music. In a Guardians of the Galaxy kind of move, a good blast of Sabotage by the Beastie Boys is enough to overwhelm and defeat the ships.