Summer films in 2016 have been shit. It’s that simple if you ask me, summer films have been more or less turds in the bowl waiting to be flushed. With that said, Star Trek Beyond was at least easy to pass, but enough with the poop puns. Justin Lin took the reigns from J.J. Abrams as director for this third installment of a beloved property and brought the cast of the first two rebooted films back together (RIP Anton Yelchin) to give us what I consider a “quality average film”. The phrasing may come off odd, but it’s hyper literal I swear.
What intrigued me was the fact that super nerd and likable English comedian Simon Pegg was writing the film this time around. Granted, the writing was not an issue for either of the first reboots that J.J. did, but it didn’t hurt that Pegg was bringing his nerdy flare to the franchise. The characters we know and love got their time on screen, but it seemed like because it would be weird if they weren’t in the film. It felt like Pegg wanted to focus on just a few characters, but had to throw in the other stars just for a moment because, well, they’re stars. I think classic fans and casual fans (like myself) will appreciate the exploration and chemistry of all of our beloved characters, but it doesn’t bring much new to the table and it brings on a cool character only to fall to the Marvel flaw which is underselling their villains.
Idris Elba plays a bad ass villain no matter what film he’s in and his star power, as well as his scene stealing talent, should be used more than sparingly. The complexity of most memorable villains are what make us gravitate towards them in the first place, but the lack of understanding of traits and motivations for the character didn’t serve the overall story like I had hoped. The returning characters were wonderful and fun like we’d want them to be and I didn’t have any issues with them at all to be honest, but I can’t help but feel that isn’t something I should be saying about characters we want to see evolve over time. Chris Pine’s Kirk may be the lone exception in that regard and I think these stories are really his being told and with the fourth film I hope they realize that sooner than later.
One of the decisions the film makers made was pay respect to the legacy of the property and franchise and that is a decision that doesn’t go unnoticed and worked as a passing of the torch for this generations view on Star Trek. But this often made the film feel like an extended episode of the show that just happened to have a really solid budget… but I’d be remiss to not point out that there were some questionable CGI scenes midway into the film. With such a big budget I’d hope the CGI is Iron Man, Batman level goodness, but what can you do? I consider this to be one of the more viable summer movies of this year, unlike 90% of the crap I’ve seen in the past few months. It will pass the time well and leave you content, but not changed, and it will likely have you forgetting anything that went down in the two hour run-time which makes it a “quality average film”.