Box art for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

action & adventure, sci-fi & fantasy

Admiral Kirk's midlife crisis is interrupted by the return of an old enemy looking for revenge and a potentially destructive device.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 10
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
1 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5

Thrilling, philosophical installment of popular space saga.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wrath of Khan is a more violent feature than the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with assorted character deaths and torture. One of the biggest stars of the series dies. While the TV Captain Kirk always seemed to have girlfriends on every planet, this is the first time it's acknowledged that one of them bore him a now-adult son, and their paternal relationship is not close or cordial.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the parallels between Khan's obsession with avenging himself on Kirk and one of the books glimpsed in Khan's personal library, Moby Dick.
  • What do you think of Spock's code of sacrifice for "the needs of the many"?
  • This movie added to Trekkie lore a Starfleet Academy flight simulation test in which a practice captain faces a seeming no-win battle scenario. Why do you think this is important training? What would you do in this scenario?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews


- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: If only director Nicholas Meyer had grasped the implications of his tale more fully and enthusiastically, this might have become a classic piece of cornball SF poetry, but as it stands the tepid acting and one-set claustrophobia take a heavy toll.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Rotten: The net effect, between embarrassed guffaws, is incredulity: a movie at once post-TV and pre-DW Griffith.

- Derek Adams, Time Out, Saturday, June 24, 2006

Audience Reviews

4 stars


- bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1, Thursday, July 8, 2010

4 stars

If this is considered the best, I'm a little disappointed. I re-watched the episode that introduced Khan and I do agree he is a great character and a challenging villain for the Enterprise crew to face. It is disappointing that the wrathful Khan and the farsighted Kirk never physically face one another. They spend nearly the whole time on their respective federation ship bridges. Though I can see that in arm to arm combat after 15 years it would be an uneven fight. With no character who offers muscle like Warf from NG on this crew, Kirk sadly feeling sorry for his old age, and the ships both being greatly damaged, the battles seem to finish before they really get good. Chekov was not around when the Enterprise crew first meets Khan, yet Khan claims he recognizes Chekov and uses him to get close to Kirk. The alien slugs that Khan uses on Chekov and the captain of the Reliant seemed dangerous but ended up being more dastardly and ineffective. The Genesis device is obviously a big inspiration for the show Firefly and its terra-forming. This movie is generally an improvement over the first feature. I just didn't think it excelled. I wanted more character development and drama than the previous movie, but Dr. David Marcus and Dr. Carol Marcus being Kirk's son and a woman he had romanced back in the day was not what I had in mind. I don't think the writing of the scenes between them were very strong. Saavik was good as a new character, a Captain in training, but again was not developed too well. All of a sudden Khan's crew are all young blond men and women. They are all supposed to be genetically engineered like he is, but they have not aged like him at all. Meyer admittedly wasn't interested in sci-fi and wanted to up the references to the Navy. The costumes were better and some of the ship procedures were ok with this heavier influence, but where was the diversity in the crew. There were some meaningful exchanges between the triangle of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, but the scene where Kirk speaks to the radiation poisoned Spock through glass lacked its full impact for me.

- hypathio7, Thursday, July 8, 2010

4 stars

With the movie's title emphasising the Khan-Kirk rivalry it's easy to forget the prominent sub-plot that ran into the next movie as well - the terraforming Genesis device. This was a time when you could make an action sci-fi movie with a kick-ass bad guy without cutting down on the hard-core sci-fi concepts. The main story was fun, but I think the depiction of futuristic science in the sub-plot influenced me a lot as a child.

- RossCollinsUK, Tuesday, June 22, 2010