When the Star Trek franchise got rebooted, writer-director J.J. Abrams opted for new takes on the series' original characters.  This continues -- with mixed results -- in Star Trek Into Darkness, the latest (and most confusingly titled) movie in the series. 
Star Trek Into Darkness opens with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) after getting in trouble -- again -- by ignoring the Prime Directive to save a planet of primitive beings.  Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) manages to save Kirk's career, but Kirk is demoted to Commander and Spock (Zachary Quinto) is reassigned to another ship.  However, rogue Starfleet agent John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) carries out a number of terrorist attacks against Starfleet, and following the deaths and destruction Kirk and Spock are back where they were.
Following the attacks, Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) gives Kirk a new assignment: Follow Harrison to Kronos (the Klingon homeworld) and kill him with some experimental torpedoes.  Kirk captures Harrison instead, despite Harrison's near-superhuman killing skills, which leads to a Federation cosnpiracy, the return of a familiar villain, plots within plots, and sexy science officer Carol (Alice Eve) who has her own secrets.
Star Trek Into Darkness works best with the smaller interactions between the main characters, whether it's the lover's quarrel beween Spock and Uhura (Zoe Saldana), the perpetual grumpiness of McCoy (Karl Urban), or Chekov (Anton Yelchin) struggling to take over Engineering.  Unfortunately, Cumberbatch spends most of the movie absent, making him catch up rather than continue as a fearsome villain.  The action isn't consistent enough to be that exciting, and if Kirk was supposed to learn humility, well, let's just say that by the movie's end he's done more than ever.

Star Trek Into Darkness is enjoyable enough, but it's also a little too much of what we've seen before (and not just from borrowing heavily from an episode of the original series).

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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