First thing I'd like to point out is that any criticism that stems from "Last time with Kahn..." immediately causes your argument to be invalid. Throwbacks and references aside, this is intended to be it's own film series. I'm so bored
by those complaints at this point. They don't have TOS to build off of, because TOS doesn't exist in this universe. In fact, the events clearly show that both 2009 & Darkness actually take place before the TOS tv series anyways. So either swallow the 'reboot' pill and get over it or stop watching altogether because you'll never, ever, be satisfied.
There's honestly a bit much to speak to in this thread, so I'll just jump into Bullet3's list as a starting point.
1. Cumberbatch insta-teleporting across the UNIVERSE from Earth straight to the Klingon homeworld. The hyper-teleport was literally the worst, most series-breaking thing that was introduced by the 2009 reboot, and they not only go out of their way to remind us that it exists, but use it in an even more ridiculous way. At this point, there's no reason we can't teleport a character anywhere in the universe at any time to suit the needs of the plot.
2. You have like 5 different people tell Kirk he's about to unleash a war with the Klingons, only for the Klingons to completely vanish from the movie after 1 scene, with no mention of them afterwards (presumably this is something that will matter in the sequel, but its a pretty GIANT loose thread and sloppy storytelling, why introduce them in the first place if they're just going to be a plot device in 1 scene).
3. 2 villains, both under-developed.
We know nothing about Khan for half the movie (neither through background, nor through his actions, aside from the fact he knows kung fu), then have him suddenly break out into a monologue to explain his entire backstory in a single scene. Wrath of Khan sort of does this too, but it also gives you lots of time with him to show you the guy's character, he's theatrical and has a personality. All Cumberbatch does is stand around and glower at people, he's super wasted and not given a personality. I actually thought they might be doing a cool thing here where in this timeline he'll be a good guy and team up with Kirk, but nope, gotta callback to Wrath of Khan.
Admiral Marcus is also super under-developed, he wants war with the Klingons because??? He's been building weapons tech in secret in a giant secret military facility over by Jupiter, which coincidentally has 0 security of any kind, then when Kirk uncovers this plan, he PERSONALLY pilots a ship to murder him and dispose of the evidence? That's like the president of the US personally flying an F-22 to blow up the 9/11 truthers.
4. Carol Marcus, what the hell is she even doing in this movie. You'd think she's there to be a romantic foil for Kirk, but the movie doesn't have time for that, so we'll just throw in a bikini shot of her for no reason and move on. If the movie narrowed its focus and only had 1 antagonist, the admiral, then she might have some interesting interplay there, but as it is, she's completely useless to the story (she literally gets beamed to her father's ship, gets her leg snapped, beams back aboard the enterprise, and vanishes).
5. Speaking of security, both Earth and the Klingon homeworld apparently have no defenses or any ships in orbit of any kind, a lazy oversight done purely so that the Enterprise won't be able to call anyone for help.
6. The awful 10 minute stretch where they butcher the most iconic scene from Wrath of Khan. Spock and Kirk have been friends for like a year at this point, this moment is not at all earned. It serves no character purpose, because Kirk has needed to learn humility, not self-sacrifice, and its a complete fan-wank waste of time anyway, because we've established Khan's magic blood already, so we know Kirk's not going to die anyway. If they actually had the balls to go through with it and kill of Kirk permenantly, I might actually be ok with this moment, but as is, it's terrible. And Spock yelling "Khan!!!" is such an unfathomably bad choice, something straight out of an SNL parody, I still cannot believe they did it.
7. The aforementioned magic blood is the kind of thing that would get you kicked out of a 1st year screenwriting class. Not only is it a cheap copout, but it re-fucks up the Star Trek canon that the last movie cleverly freed us from. Now these characters exist in a universe where you can at any moment teleport to any other point in the universe, and be brought back from the dead with magic blood.
And that's not even getting into the fact that Kirk is a total utter fuck-up, and would be in jail at the end of the movie for getting the city of San Francisco flattened by a giant space-ship.
1. Agreed. What's more annoying to me is the ease of the fix. Upon first viewing I thought that he had transported to a ship, then gone to Kronos, then transported down to the surface. The movie cuts go: Transports from fighter (nighttime), transports to Kronos surface (unknown time), back to Star Fleet (daytime). It wasn't super clean, but I had thought that was an indirect way of saying "time passes", which would have been fine. But then Scottie shows the transport coordinates and I was like "WHY?!?!" They couldn't just say Scottie figured out what ship he beamed to, and that ship looked like it was headed to Kronos? That would have been easy, almost as quick (as to not effect pacing), and wouldn't have been ridiculous.
2. Yeah, but the events after they visit Kronos are pretty linear and take place relatively quickly. I would have been more annoyed had the Klingons somehow been shoved into the final act when the events that happened on Kronos had only just happened. I guess I could see some complaining that the "year later" speech thing didn't mention anything about Klingons, but I mean...it was a criminal who killed the Klingons, a criminal who Star Fleet captured and brought to justice. I could easily see that as an added tension between the Federation & Klingons with out actually driving them to war.
3. Eh, both a little underdeveloped, but it didn't bother me. Making Kahn less flamboyant isn't a problem to me, and Cumberbatch did a fine job conveying Kahn and his motivations, which despite all the connections to Wrath, this seems more like Kahn from Space Seed. Kahn isn't as much out for revenge as he is trying to liberate his crew and get back to the cleansing. There's certainly some Star Fleet hate there, but Kahn isn't Ahab in this film, so I thought the back story and development was fine.
Weller was serviceable. Nothing more, nothing less. The "guy who wants/thrives on war" trope has been done to death, and I'm not sure there's much they could have done to make me find it more interesting. He served his roll.
4. *Shrug* I agree she's a bit pointless, but I didn't care. It was an intro to her character, with the beginnings of the romantic relationship for Kirk. That I find amusing/annoying, because for all Kirk's man-whoring in TOS, he actually stayed away from his crew. The idea that he'd start a relationship with Marcus now that she's under his command seems to stray from Kirk's character. We'll see how that plays out, and I reserve the right to be pissed about it later, but it's pretty non-offensive in this flick.
5. With you on that, though it didn't bother me a ton. I mean, it's a movie and those sorts of conveniences happen all the time. They had a 'special' ship for Kronos, so whatever. Earth should have had some ships in space dock, but things happening so fast and all...it didn't pull me out of the movie.
6. Not at all earned? I think you might be looking at this scene in the wrong way. In Wrath, it was a lesson for Kirk about humility, told by breaking apart a long established friendship. The scene in Into Darkness wasn't about Kirk learning a lesson, it was about building that friendship. It was about Kirk and Spock continuing to build a deep bond between them by displaying a mutual respect and understanding of how the other person works. Spock did what Kirk would do, and Kirk did what Spock would do -- it's the first time that their differences in character (Gut & Head) were both acknowledged and empathized with by one another, revealing that despite all the bickering and head butting, they share a common purpose/resolve...a fact that I'm not sure ever really lines up (at least in the character's eyes) until that point.
7. First off, Kirk wasn't dead. Bones specifically says there was still brain function. The time of someone being dead, even brain dead, and coming back could be an issue, but it wasn't like you could dig up a corpse and make a zombie. As for the "magic blood' specifically -- the idea of blood platelets having regenerative properties isn't fiction. Both Orthokine and Platelet-Rich Plasma procedures are rooted in this concept. Kahn's 'magic blood' could easily be seen as an extreme extension of the current research into these sorts of things. I'm not saying that it's possible science...but Star Trek isn't 'hard' Science Fiction anyways, so taking a concept from the current world and pushing it to the extreme shouldn't be that hard a concept to accept for Trekkies.
Ok...that ends the first run down.
As a sidenote, someone else mentioned the idea that there were 72 more bodies on board, so they didn't need Kahn. The frustrating part of that point is that the movie actually answered that question...then went back on itself. Bones states early on that he doesn't know how to work the tubes. This could easily explain why they need Kahn's blood: because they don't know how to unfreeze anyone else without further study of the tech. This would have been fine, except the movie then ruins that explanation by having them remove one of the bodies from a cryotube, alive and kept in a coma, and then freeze Kirk. It would have been so easy to just have Bones to take the "apparently dead" Kirk and just stick him in a status field or something. A quick "I can't save him, but this could give him just enough time to get Kahn back" would have been all they needed. Frustrating.
But again...I'm addressing the things I took issue with. I still had a great time, saw it twice in the same day, and will probably see it a third and possibly forth time before it's out of theaters. It was a lot of fun, I enjoyed it more than 2009, which I also enjoyed (at least superficially) as well.
Final thought for now: I'm really curious how all this will play with the fact that all this took place before the 5-year mission. I could imagine Kahn returning, too, with full Kahn-Kirk history established. Also, with JJ leaving, I can imagine several big names taking over and really getting some different creative looks at the Star Trek universe.