‘Star Trek’ boldly goes into darkness

It has been a long four years, but finally the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise graces the screen once again in the summer blockbuster Star Trek Into Darkness. J.J. Abrams returns to the director's chair as he leads a returning crew of familiar faces, with one or two new recruits.

Taking place after the events of the 2009 relaunch of the Star Trek franchise, the movie begins with Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) violating Starfleet's Prime Directive when he saves the life of Spock (Zachary Quinto) from inside an erupting volcano. Being seen by the native alien civilization they were observing, Kirk is demoted upon returning to Earth.

Along the way the focus shifts to the terrorist known as John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is responsible for bombing a Starfleet research center in London. Harrison once worked for Starfleet, but has since gone rogue and is wanted dead or alive by Starfleet Admiral Marcus.

Kirk volunteers to lead the charge, and tracks down Harrison to the Klingon homeworld of Kronos. The Enterprise crew has to get in and out undetected, for tensions between the Federation and the Klingons are at an all-time high, with the slightest misunderstanding possibly leading to all-out war.

Upon reaching Harrison, the crew is informed that not everything is what it seems and there's a good reason why Admiral Marcus wants Harrison disposed of.

The relaunch of Star Trek back in 2009 was a hit with both Trekkers and movie lovers alike, bringing a stable blend of science-fiction and action together, with a good amount of humor for good measure. The story was simple enough to follow and the performances were incredibly top notch.

With Star Trek Into Darkness, the story continues to remain strong and there's never a dull moment throughout. Screenwriters Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof brought a nice mixture of suspense and heart to the sequel, while maintaining the same amount of quality from the first film.

Benedict Cumberbatch without a doubt stole the movie as the genetically enhanced villain, for his calm demeanor while giving certain monologues was chilling to the bone. His motives were justified and it was a shame Starfleet just so happened to stand in his way.

While the first film focused more on the iconic trio of Kirk, Spock and Bones (Karl Urban), this movie kills the boy's club mentality as Bones is switched out for Uhura (Zoe Saldana), who shows that she's more than just a pretty communications officer. The rest of the crew regulars such as Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Sulu (John Cho) don't just sit idly by, for every character has their moment in the film.

J.J. Abrams has been on record as growing-up more of a Star Wars fan than a Star Trek fan, but you would never have guessed it watching Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams is able to produce a successful summer blockbuster, while at the same time providing enough Easter eggs to keep the most hardcore of Star Trek fans happy.

When we can expect a third Star Trek film is uncertain, for Abrams has his schedule busy directing the future Star Wars: Episode VII movie, followed by producing several projects through his Bad Robot production company. Some fans are cautiously optimistic of Abrams taking the reins of both iconic science-fiction franchises, but only time will tell if he's able to successfully pull it off.

While this summer is packed with highly anticipated movies, Star Trek Into Darkness is definitely high atop that list of what is considered a 'must watch' in every demographic. By the end of the film you'll feel the urge to recommend it to strangers on the street, as you boldly go forth to live long and prosper.