by Mike Lunsford, Editor
“Doctor Strange & Star Trek Beyond? What do these movies have to do with each other?” you might be asking yourself. Both of these movies struck a chord because they redeemed both an actor and movie franchise with great entries. And they have a common bond: Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, he wasn’t in Star Trek Beyond but he was in its predecessor, Star Trek Into Darkness. So, it’s not a “six degrees of Benedict Cumberbatch,” it is only one degree. Boom! Game over. I win.
I love Star Trek. Its a huge part of who I am and I HATED Into Darkness (you can read about it here). To paraphrase myself from my Into Darkness review, the movie started great and then it fell apart because it was SOOOO derivative. Why did Cumberbatch have to be Khan? Seriously? As “John Harrison” he was awesome and the movie could have continued without his lame ass Khan reveal, which is just another white-wash of an ethnic character.
At any rate, I blamed him for bad and lazy writing. Up yours, Cumberbatch. I don’t even like Sherlock. Anglophile nerd women got the steamin’ undies for you and you’re like…the whitest person ever. You’re equivalent to a mayonnaise sandwich on Wonder Bread. You suck.
Then…I saw Doctor Strange.
You still ruined the greatest Star Trek villain ever. But…good job. I liked you as Doctor Strange and I didn’t want to. I’m not going to re-hash a review here, Gema Luna did a great job with that already. You should check it out. Cumberbatch’s comedic timing is great, he plays the role of arrogant butt plug quite well and was able to make you both hate and love the character at the same time (“it’s actually DOCTOR”…cool, we get it shut up. He nailed that). It didn’t get too “comic-book-nerdy” and make a ton of references for the uninitiated, but it does pay enough respect to it’s source material for the long time fan to appreciate it. Seriously, read Gema’s article! I got other things to talk about!
But before I move on, let me apologize to Mr. Cumberbatch. After seeing Doctor Strange and then taking the advice of ComicsOnline Editor-in-chief Kevin Gaussoin and watching some of Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock, I stand corrected. This guy is a damn good actor. I suppose I’ll direct my rage and anger towards writers Orci, Kurtzman, and Lindelof.
Thoughts about Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek Beyond was one of those movies that I really wanted to see in the theaters, but I missed out (again, masterfully reviewed by another ComicsOnliner, Matt Sernaker. Check it out right here!). I love Star Trek, but was a bit apprehensive after Into Darkness. Plus, the guy who made his name directing The Fast and the Furious was in charge of a Star Trek flick? Oh god…
Regardless of the trepidation, I drove on and I was quite pleased with the end result. I really enjoyed Star Trek Beyond. I thought that based on the previews, it would be another disappointment. It was bothersome that they felt it was necessary to destroy the Enterprise again. That particular trope seemed to be overplayed (I guess we can thank Star Trek III for that one). Is that something we have to do in every movie now?
Thankfully, I gave this movie a chance because Star Trek Beyond was no re-tread. It stands on it’s own two feet and tells a unique story. Surprisingly, it delved into aspects of the franchise we haven’t really seen on the big screen. The cast was on point, which has been a strength in the new films, and above all else, we genuinely give a crap this time around. Idris Elba (Heimdall from the Thor films) made a great villain and his motivations weren’t shoddily pasted together.
There were incredibly touching moments as well: Spock finds out that his prime universe counterpart, Ambassador Spock has passed away. Zachary Quinto gives an incredibly touching tribute to his mentor/alternate reality self that you can see applies to Leonard Nimoy. The tragic loss of Anton Yelchin will be a huge blow as well. Director Justin Lin and Trek’s producers did a very simple, tasteful tribute to both actors.
Not only is the story and acting solid, the special effects are spectacular. The scenes on the Yorktown star base are incredible as the floating city makes a great locale for the finale. Doctor Strange gets a lot of publicity for it’s mind-bending, Inception inspired special effects but Star Trek Beyond has a finale that showcases some extraordinary three-dimensional, gravity-defying action.
The most important byproduct of Star Trek Beyond is the hope that it brings. The story shows that even after a mission where they lost crew mates and their ship, the Enterprise crew still believes fully in the mission of the Federation. They have hope that their exploration can bring peace to the galaxy. As far as the movie franchise goes, this installment gave me hope that Kirk, Spock, and crew are back on course to boldly go where no one has gone before.
In summation: Cumberbatch is still Whitey McWhiterson, but I can forgive him for Khan (even though it wasn’t his fault). Doctor Strange was good and he was a huge reason for it. Thank god they chose him over Johnny Depp. If I had to hear that doofus do another drunken British accent for a part, I swear…I might have to go back to fantasizing about burning down Tim Burton’s house (it’s your fault, Burton. You know what you did). Plus, Cumberbatch is a damned good actor. Star Trek Beyond was better than I expected and I’m so happy this series is back on track. I’m not sure how they’re going to deal with the loss of Yelchin but I have hope that the series is in the right hands.
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