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Filmmaker JJ Abrams is living the geek dream – growing up loving Stars Trek and Wars and sci-fi in general, he is now directing new installments to the very films he was weaned on.

With this follow-up to his 2009 Trek reinvention, he promised bigger, bolder and more ambitious – and has delivered in spades.

Into Darkness is everything that a blockbuster action spectacle should be – funny and yet with serious dramatic stakes; epic in scale and yet intimate; with pulse-quickening action set pieces alongside a genuinely emotionally engaging story.

Picking up after its predecessor, it pits Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the Enterprise crew against new evil one, John Harrison, an uber-smart manipulative monster prone to acts of terrorism who has a great big bone to pick with Starfleet (he’s played by the ludicrously named Benedict Cumberbatch).

Double crosses ensue, Kirk cocks things up royally before learning humility and Spock’s pragmatism teaches and infuriates everyone in equal measure. 

Less worried about doffing its cap to the long-standing franchise than its predecessor, Darkness will delight Trekkies, but successfully reels in those to whom a Vulcan death grip and pointy ears are a nerdish preoccupation alone. 

It’s another brilliant retooling with witty banter and a script that moves at warp speed. From the opening sequence – where the team outrun spear-throwing tribesman Indiana Jones-style on a red grassy planet – to the climactic face-off (more intimate than you’d expect of an US$185 million movie) you’ll be enthralled. 

Good for: Proof that blockbusters needn’t be daft, soulless and disposable. An absolute corker.

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg | 12A | 127mins | Out now 


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Star Trek Into Darkness - film review: JJ Abrams' sci-fi starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine and Simon Pegg
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