Star Trek: Into Darkness is a sequel to J.J Abrams’ 2009 “reboot” of the franchise. I put reboot in quotations because I don’t really consider it a restart of the series. I consider the new films set in their own alternate timeline because one of stamps the series was famous for was alternate realities and time travel. Well it’s just that it’s Star Trek in an alternate timeline and the sequel to the 2009 film is just as impressive as the first but falls a bit short from its predecessor.

The cast of the Enterprise crew from the first film return to reprise their roles and I dare say they’ve definitely grown into them quite well. Chris Pine plays an excellent cocky and charming Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto delivers a Spock that not only uses logic to dictate his actions but still upholds Starfleet regulation no matter the situation. Karl Urban’s Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy hones more to DeForest Kelley’s using metaphors to explain an impossible situation and the classic “I’m a doctor not a _____,” line still brings a chuckle.

The beginning of Into Darkness begins like a classic Trek episode with a classic debate, ‘The Prime Directive.’ Kirk violates one of Starfleet’s holiest of laws to save Spock from a violate volcano about to erupt and destroy a pre-warp civilization. This causes Kirk to get demoted and the events of Into Darkness truly begin.

A mysterious Starfleet commander named John Harrison played by Benedict Cumberbatch blows up a Starfleet Intelligence building in an attempt to overthrow Starfleet to fulfill his own agenda. The mystery of Commander Harrison begins there and only gets stranger as the film progresses. Cumberbatch plays this character similar to Anthony Hopkins’s Hannibal Lecter in Silence of The Lambs. The chills Cumberbatch gives in his words using not only great projection with his voice but also his looks and even the characters physical abilities and prowess make him a worthy adversary for the Enterprise crew. What falls short on Cumberbatch’s character is the mystery factor that surrounds him. To avoid spoilers I’m not really going to dive into the mystery of Harrison I will mention that this factor does feel forced and stapled in to what could have really been a great villain.

The film is filled with many nods and references for fans of the series from season two of the show as well as the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. However there are so many nods and Easter eggs of The Original Series into the movie it sometimes distracts from the plot and even overshadows the scene.

The visuals are as stunning as the 2009 film. The Enterprise looks shiny and futuristic with even the city of San Francisco looking futuristically real. The downside is it’s a J.J Abrams film in terms of special effects which means you get to see a lot of his favorite effect, lens flares. Although it looks like the flares fall short in quite a few scenes to where it’s just a flashlight shining in your eyes to where it becomes blinding and annoying.

Star Trek: Into Darkness is a great film and sequel to this new alternate timeline although it’s not exciting and original like the 2009 film it’s still worth seeing. With the summer blockbuster season just beginning with plenty of movies still to come, this is shaping up to be another summer at the movies.