Box art for Star Trek Into Darkness

  Star Trek Into Darkness

action & adventure, sci-fi & fantasy

When a ruthless mastermind, Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch,) declares a one-man war on the Federation, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise set out on their most explosive manhunt of all time.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 12
4 out of 5
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Action-packed Star Trek sequel has good story, characters.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Star Trek Into Darkness is the 12th Star Trek movie overall, and the second installment in director J.J. Abrams' big-budget series reboot. The biggest issue is sci-fi/fantasy violence, with lots of punching, fighting, and shooting, a little blood (though not much), and some deaths (including an important supporting character). It's more exciting than it is intense. The main character (Chris Pine) is shown getting out of a bed he's shared with two alien girls, and there's a sexy underwear scene with a female co-star. Language is infrequent but includes a couple of uses of "s--t." The main character is seen drinking in one scene after getting some bad news. As in the first one, the Trek team comes together to do the right thing, no matter how difficult that may be.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Star Trek Into Darkness' violence. Does it ever feel over the top? Is it exciting or gruesome? Which do you think it's intended to be? Why?
  • What's the difference between following the rules and doing the right thing? Is there a simple answer to this problem?
  • How do the characters show teamwork? In what scenes do characters help each other?
  • Why do you think Star Trek has such enduring appeal? What makes people become such faithful fans? How does the reboot compare to the older movies and TV shows?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: There's absolutely nothing wrong with "Star Trek Into Darkness" -- once you understand it as a generic comic-book-style summer flick faintly inspired by some half-forgotten boomer culture thing.

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fresh: Star Trek Into Darkness banishes, at least for the moment, the lugubrious mood and sepulchral look that too many comic-book movies mistake for sophistication. All hail an action film that isn't ashamed to have fun and to be seen doing it.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rotten: Most of the logic has leached away from this movie, and with it half of the fun.

- Anthony Lane, New Yorker, Monday, May 20, 2013

Audience Reviews

4 stars

The follow up to J.J. Abrams' 2009 version of "Star Trek" definitely embraces it's title: "Star Trek Into Darkness," promising more action and a much more complex story. This time, the crew is out on a limb without help, to stop a merciless killer (John Harrison) whom has certain abilities that the U.S.S Enterprise crew soon realize they are in need of to stop a greater threat. This film has more layers than it's predecessor, which makes it better in many ways, but also less original in more ways than one, due to the fact that it relies much more on fan service rather than creating new dialogue and villains. I absolutely loved everything about this sequel, with a few minor spoilery complaints aside. The direction is great as always, most of the cast bring their A-Game and the visuals delivers once again. This is not just a fun blockbuster, but a stamp of approval to continue this new-tech version of "Star Trek." I'm on board until the end! And one last note: Benedict Cumberbatch kills it as the villain!

- fb733768972, Friday, July 12, 2013

4 stars

Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise's crew battle Khan. Star Trek has always held a special place for me among the rest of its science fiction peers, and as a result I expect more than cool special effects, predictable but fast-paced chase scenes, and lightning phaser battles. It is a credit to J.J. Abrams's obvious love for the source material that this film delivers on all levels. Yes, there are the requisite action sequences, but what is more interesting is the battle between emotion and logic. "Which is infused with more humanity?" the film asks, and while these are familiar footsteps for Trek fans, the reversal of fortune that Kirk and Spock undergo breathes new life into the film's moral quandaries. Also, Khan has always been the best Trek film villain, and Benedict Cumberbatch is appropriately ruthless, snarling, and - at times - cold. The plot staggers when it under-utiliizes whatever is going on between Spock and Uhura, a love triangle that is so poorly developed that I wondered if it were a story stopping by on its way to its own film. And Bones is more annoying than his predecessor, like a lost neighborhood kid looking in on the guy love between Kirk and Spock, hoping to be included. In the film's defense, there is only so much they could fit in to the two hours. Overall, this is a strong addition to one of the best science fiction franchises.

- hunterjt13, Tuesday, July 9, 2013

2 stars

"Star Trek Into Darkness" is more interesting in form than content. That is to say, the new JJ Abrams film, taken on its own merits, is merely a better than average summer blockbuster sequel, a relentlessly paced science fiction action film that attempts to build its splashly CGI fireworks around a core of post-9/11 anxiety. Though it puffs out its chest with faux intelligential posturing and disguises its vacuousness with a strong ensemble, its defining trait is a profound absence. However the film is fascinating as an example of modern franchise studio filmmaking. As a continuation/reimaging of Gene Roddenberry's inventive but badly dated 1960s TV show, "Into Darkness" does a fairly poor job. Whereas the original series was idea rich but lacked the budget to achieve the verisimilitude of its ambitions, the Abrams reboot has the resources to fabricate a dazzlingly complete future world but has all the complexity of 90s superhero comic. Roddenberry's ethical utopia has been hallowed out to serve as set dressing for an unremarkable hero's journey narrative. Complex moral ruminations and slow burn tension have been replaced with simplistic revenge arcs and precisely applied action movie timing. Though Abrams is a good enough action craftsmen to make emptiness apparent only after the credits roll, he clearly made the film because he wanted to stage some impressive spaceship battles. Of course Roddenberry's series had their fair share of gratuitous fight scenes and silly space monsters, but the phaser duels and shirtless fist fights were a last resort not The Good Part. Simplicity isn't the film's biggest problem, repetitiveness is. It's almost admirable audacious that Abrams and his writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof spent $190 making a tribute to 2009's "Star Trek." The film splits its focus between Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), who again learns to temper his arrogance with adult responsibility and Spock (Zachary Quinto), who again learns to balance his cold rationality with human warmth. Again the crew of the Enterprise must battle a vengeful man out of time (Benedict Cumberbatch) who commands a massive and overpowered starship. The death of a loved one is a motivating factor. Skydiving is used in a central set piece. Leonard Nimoy is on hand to offer critical advice. Egregiously, the film often pauses to remind the viewer that yes; they have in fact seen all this before. The thing only thing three of most high-profile screenwriters in Hollywood used to differentiate this film from its predecessor are the addition of Alice Eve's character, who exists only to dispense exposition and titillate the male audience and a half-hearted suggestion that the events of the last film have made Starfleet more militaristic, concepts rendered with such thorough triteness that it's hard to believe one screenwriter was involved let alone three. Those other recycled elements pale in comparison to the films biggest reference, the presence of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan's" titular villain. In the film, Peter Weller's Admiral Marcus takes Cumberbatch's superhuman out of suspended animation to build advanced weapons for what he believes to be an inevitable war with the aggressively expansive Klingons but Khan turns on him and attacks Earth with the very warship Marcus commissioned. Though Marcus would be a more thematically resonate villain, he's ultimately an easily duped stooge. The villain is not a manifestation of post-9/11 fears about the government abandoning its supposed values in pursuit of greater security but a self-interested third-party who has no real stake in the film's ideological conflict. A similar setup worked well in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" because Batman's existential struggle against the Joker was a clearly defined structure versus anarchy dichotomy whereas Kirk wants to get Khan because he killed his father figure. The film wants to have it both ways by pitting its heroes against a traditional external evil and more insidious internal one but it fails in the execution of both. So why did the filmmakers include a character who fit in so poorly with their ambitions? Because the fans wanted Khan. That steadfast rejection of innovation will be Abrams' "Star Trek" legacy. At every point where he could have blazed a new trail in Roddenberry's wide and diverse universe, Abrams chose the safest and most conservative path possible even though his 2009 film worked so strenuously to assert its independence from the established canon. "Into Darkness" makes it abundantly clear why Disney chose Abrams to helm the first of their "Star Wars" films, no other director could be counted on to update a beloved property for a modern audience with only most superficial of cosmetic changes. There's absolutely no danger than "Episode VII" will dip into the meandering philosophizing that plagued the "Star Wars" prequels because Abrams' guiding philosophy is bright-eyed, breathless artifice. His meticulously designed form holds no content. In this way, he is the preeminent auteur of our time.

- mmckellop, Thursday, July 25, 2013