After Into Darkness, Trek lost Abrams to Wars. Simon Pegg stepped up as a screenwriter with Doug Jung to try and get the Kelvin timeline back on track. The studio also decided to try out an action director, Justin Lin, who had success with the Fast and the Furious franchise.
I have already reviewed this, and one of my early criticisms was that the film is a bit slow going at the open. But after repeat viewings, I found that I really am not sure what I would do to speed things up.
After a fun little bit that sets up the film’s macguffin, the film focuses on where the characters are at. They pick up about half way through their five year mission, which finds Kirk feeling lost and unsure. In a clever bit of dialog, he comments that their mission has begun to feel “episodic”. Spock receives word of the passing of his future self (as Nimoy had passed away by this point) and questions whether he should stay with Starfleet or focus on the survival of the Vulcan race.
But after a mysterious pilot arrives at the space station where the Enterprise is docked, the Enterprise and her crew head to help the pilot’s disabled ship on the other side of a nebula. After they are attacked and the Enterprise is destroyed (the second time in this timeline!) Kirk and the team find themselves trapped on a planet with aggressive aliens bent on getting the piece of a weapon that the Enterprise had.
Beyond is pretty much a 180 degree turn from Into Darkness. It is fun, Elba plays a solid villain with a twist. Sophia Boutella is a highly entertaining character named Jaylah who is befriended by Scotty and Kirk. There is some solid character stuff with McCoy and Spock.
This is an action packed film that I find myself enjoying more each time I watch it. It makes me wish a follow-up in the Kelvin timeline were a lock instead of so uncertain. Of the timeline, I have really enjoyed two of the films, so I am definitely open to more.