Star Trek Beyond (2016)

 The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

Star Trek Beyond is the best movie of the rebooted franchise and one of the best movies of 2016 so far. It’s an absolute joy to watch from start to finish and features one of the best uses of music in a movie so far (remember that Beastie Boys song that they used in the trailer?) to great effect, as the director who gave us the best Fast & Furious movie (the fifth one), gives us an excellent entry that seems like the perfect way to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary. Though it may be more action heavy than most of the original series, Star Trek Beyond is such a good time at the cinema that it won’t matter.

On the back of the awesome Star Trek and the largely disappointing Star Trek Into Darkness, Beyond takes us to the edge of the frontier as the crew of the USS Enterprise are called in to answer a distress call on the other side of a Nebula which separates them from a new space station. However, something goes wrong and the crew find themselves trapped on the surface of the planet, and with the majority captured by Idris Elba’s menacing villain Krall, it’s up the uncaptured crew to save the day with the help of Jaylah, a badass warrior alien who knows just what Krall is capable of.

Krall makes a more than solid villain for the large part of the movie and poses a physical and dangerous threat to Chris Pine’s Kirk and his crew. Thanks to Simon Pegg and Doug Jung writing the script all of the Enterprise’s crew get plenty to do – with Zachary Quntino’s Commander Spock, Karl Urban’s Bones, John Cho’s Mr. Sulu, Zoe Saldana’s Lieutenant Uhuru and of course Pegg’s own Mr. Scott all getting their moment in the spotlight, and as you’d expect Mr. Scott gets a significantly increased role than before. There’s also a significantly increased role for Anton Yelchin’s Chekov, who is sadly no longer with us and his absence will no doubt be felt in future Star Trek movies.

The action is pretty great with some really cool space battles as well as some solid hand to hand conflict. The blockbuster thrill of Justin Lin’s direction is really felt as well, and benefits from a great pace that never leaves you bored. There’s also a great callback to the original series towards the end, and there are couple of pretty good laughs during the film as well.

Serving effectively well as a standalone movie Star Trek Beyond can be watched without knowledge of the J.J. Abrams films and is easily accessible to newcomers. As a relative newcomer to Star Trek myself (I’m currently working through Deep Space Nine on Netflix), this was a fantastic experience at the cinema and I strongly urge you to watch it on the big screen if you get the chance.

VERDICT: 9/10

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