Film Review: Star Trek Beyond

July 17th, 2016 | by Jordan Samuel
Review of: Star Trek Beyond
Beyond Good

Reviewed by:
On July 17, 2016
Last modified:July 17, 2016


Star Trek Beyond is an intergalactic celebration of the franchise, with explosive action and emotional character moments.

Live long and prosper! The third film in the rebooted franchise Star Trek Beyond releases this week, and Jordan Samuel provides the official ComiConverse review.

2009 brought us one of the greatest sci-fi films in the last ten years. Star Trek (2009) broke new ground with the immense retelling of the classic series themes. Hardcore fans did have issue with the emphasis on action, something which was absent in the original show.


I, however, had no issue with this, as the slow mature take had been done before and times had changed, with computer animation making action available on another level.

J.J. Abrams didn’t forget to throw in some needed character development into the reboot, which I loved. The sequel Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), was released to critical acclaim, even though many fans didn’t love the story and the overall presentation.

Everything about the story was a retread of the past, it also failed to connect emotionally, which was disappointing. The end result was a complete remake of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1984) that never reached those heights in terms of a being a sci-fi classic.

In 2014, it was confirmed while Abrams was filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and that he would not return for the next Star Trek project. Instead Fast and Furious 6 (2013) director Justin Lin would be taking helm, my mind was clouded with judgement.

Due to his action stance could he be trusted to revive the franchise, or would he Star Trek to death’s door?

Star Trek Beyond

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The crew of the USS Enterprise, halfway into their five-year mission, are attacked by a seemingly unstoppable wave of unknown aliens, forcing them to abandon ship. Stranded on an unknown planet and with no apparent means of rescue, the crew find themselves in conflict with a new and ruthless enemy

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Star Trek Beyond is the best sci-fi film of the year by far, balancing what made the TV show so great, while injecting the necessary spectacle for 2016 audiences.

Justin Lin was the perfect fit to take over from JJ Abrams, his comedic touch adds another layer to the story. Star Trek Beyond reminded me of his ensemble work with the Fast & Furious franchise; now injected into the space-bound adventures in the Star Trek universe.

Sensational action is what separates Star Trek Beyond from the pack, with its ship battles being the best yet in the revived Star Trek series. Lin’s take on these sequences are very much inspired by his past work; they look flashy and are very smartly shot. One of the fights at the end tops much of the stuff I have seen all year in this blockbuster summer. 

The film has evolved through tragic circumstances, after the death of beautiful young actor Anton Yeltsin, who provides a strong goodbye performance in his role; so much that people were crying in my screening.

Star Trek Beyond

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Lin leads the pack with cast members; Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Anton Yelchin – who all feel right at home with his vision.

The leader commanding the Enterprise, Chris Pine, is back – and is questioning his future and past. While he tries to get his crew on track with the mission, an alien race leaves them on a dissolute planet.

Chris Pine is awesome in the role, providing a different take on Kirk than we’ve seen to date. I enjoyed how much Lin develops the relationship between Kirk and the crew. Pine is charismatic and charming; but is never too overbearing, like a cartoon character of the original series.

Kirk also has a connection with his team, even though he sometimes never shows it, humanising the character. Pine provides my favourite iteration of Kirk, with his line delivery and take on the role being unlike anything else.

Zachary Quinto returns as Spock and is another force to be reckoned with, he provides the logical innocent character with some needed weight. He is starting to get to understand the death of his future self – along with the problems of his relationships. Spock is a great character, and gets more screen time in the sequel.

I really enjoyed the way Justin Lin utilises his smartness in Beyond, he never feels underwhelming like he did in Into Darkness.  Zachary is growing into the role which is quite admiring

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Credit: Paramount Pictures

The film begins three years into the five-year mission exploring vast planets. Kirk and Spock bromance has faded with their thoughts focusing on some career changes after the missions are done. Uhura has issues with her relationship with Spock, as the logical differences are shown.

But a threat arrives with Krall, an alien who is on a quest to conquer races across the galaxy. He is a decent addition to the villains of the series, thanks to the brilliant Idris Elba.

Idris is a perfect part of the film. The fierce portrayal of Krall is what separates him apart from previous villains in the rebooted Star Trek franchise.

Krall does get let down due to some degree of lazy writing. It feels like more could have been added to make him the greatest villain in the franchise, but he still does wonderfully with what he’s been given.

Newcomer Sofia Boutella is Jaylah, an Alien who helps the enterprise out. Her performance is not far away from the likes of Daisy Ridley in The Force Awakens – which was quite interesting to me. Jaylah is an interesting role for Sofia to play as more acting is needed for her, something different from her Kingsman debut.

I would love to see Jaylah return for future films because serious potential is there. Sofia is welcomed into the Star Trek universe, and brings in a much needed change for the overall dynamic.

The pacing is decent even though it does slow down at some points. The structure is very generic but works with the tone set – being enslaved and saved are major cliche’s for the genre but Lin delivers them full throttle.

I do feel like the run-time is used correctly, it just doesn’t feel as cohesive enough when compared to the last two movies, manly due to the film throwing so much at the screen.

A tighter set up could have avoided these issues.

Star Trek Beyond is the best film in the series since Star Trek (2009), with a powerful script and cool character moments. 50 years of the franchise is celebrated in this iteration –  which should be remembered for a while

Live long and prosper Star Trek!


Jordan Samuel is a Film Critic for ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanESamuel

Star Trek Beyond is an intergalactic celebration of the franchise, with explosive action and emotional character moments.

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