This is an extremely competently made science-fiction action film, but at a story level, it’s bizarre. It’s ostensibly a pseudo-remake of the 1980s “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan” film, but adapts a lot of the key moments of that film superficially, and at times even seems more concerned with clever subversions of moments from that film, moreso than with constructing a solid story in its own right. The 2009 Star Trek film set up a new franchise with such promise and sense of adventure; it’s disappointing to see the follow-up entry plough right back into the past of the franchise rather than create anything new.
There are some interesting story threads here (false flags, political conspiracy, nature of blackmail, etc.), but they aren’t unified very well. I’m very tired of “magic blood” plot pieces too.
Still, the great triumph of this series is the cast, and they’re in as fine form as ever. Cumberbatch gives an odd performance not completely to his strengths, but he delivers a few really strong moments. It’s a bizarre, fragmented film, but far from a terrible one. Just a disappointing one.
I give it two vials of magic blood, and a false flag attack.