So... I saw it...
I explained previously what Trek means to me. Why I have the attachment to it that I do. What it is that makes Trek wonderful (to me). I'd recommend reading that before trying to make sense of all the things I'm about to say.
I would like to start by saying Star Trek: Into Darkness is not an awful movie. NO, really. Actually, I think these two past Trek movies are the best Abrams has ever directed (but let's be honest, it's like saying this poo-filled pie is far tastier than the poo all on its own). However...
Here's what's NOT awful: the cast (mostly). I thought Chris Pine actually showed a marked improvement over his performance in the first. Cumberpatch was good and compelling to the point of (almost) distraction (and I'm no BBC fan/stan, in fact I think this is the first time I've seen him in action).
Now that I've been nice, I'll dig into the problems.
Let's start at the beginning: the title of the movie. Into Darkness. Eh?! Other than to try to get your audience to think "oooo it's darker!" there is NO GODDAMN REASON TO NAME THIS MOVIE INTO DARKNESS. They don't even go into a black hole. They go to a slightly poorly lit portion of Kronos for five minutes. That's it. I can't even call it spiritual darkness that's gone "into." I have asked everyone I know who's seen this movie, whether they liked it or not, I have gotten no answer. So, seriously, somebody explain the title to me, LIKE I'M AN IDIOT.
The opening scene makes my head want to explode. The crew of the enterprise is on a pre-warp civilization planet. Kirk & Bones are running from the natives (I don't recall there being any explanation as to why they are on the planet's surface, unless it was to have the gratuitous chase scene through the pretty red trees that you've seen in the trailer) while Spock is going into the core of a volcano with some sort of reactor to set off that will "keep the civilization from being wiped out." I immediately start scowling and grumbling to Ian about the Prime Directive (which CLEARLY states that the federation will absolutely NOT interfere with any pre-warp civilizations' development, for better or for worse. There's actually a whole movie about the prime directive called Star Trek: Insurrection and it's tremendously underrated). Spock, the Vulcan, who "cannot lie" and believes in regulations and rules, would NEVER violate the prime directive so glaringly. Then, as if the Unholy Trinity want to needle me, Spock (I think?) makes some comment to Kirk & Bones about avoiding detection by the natives so that THEY don't "violate the Prime Directive" ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?! Everything they are doing on that planet violates the prime directive! Now I'm ready to spit nails at the screen. So in classic "what could happen next?!" writing (in other words, the dead horse that Kurzman/Orci have made a career out of), Kirk & Bones have to dive off a cliff and swim onto the (underwater hiding) enterprise, then the shuttlecraft hovering over Spock in the volcano can't sustain the Volcanic activity so it has to abandon Spock (they can make a spacesuit that can keep Spock alive inside the volcano, but can't outfit a shuttlecraft for it? grumble grumble). THEN after Spock arms the reactor, they can't lock on to his signal to transport him out (even though they could do trans-warp beaming in the last movie, or better yet, lock on to Kirk's signal while he was falling), so the only way to extract him is for the the Enterprise to leave its hiding place and go over over the volcano in full view of the natives and pull Spock out of there somehow or another. Spock tells them not to since it will violate the Prime Directive. I throw popcorn kernels at the screen.
So the Enterprise returns to earth and Kirk and Spock get called before Admiral Pike. Spock has filed an honest report of their activities on the planet, Kirk has lied. Kirk is terribly surprised that the Vulcan who DOESN'T LIE has been honest and "thrown him under the bus" in his report. NOW they get in trouble for violating the prime directive. I'm sorry, is the fact that Pike understands the prime directive while Spock doesn't supposed to make me feel better? It doesn't. Kirk is getting his ship taken away from him, but Pike Wuvs Him So Much that he gets him to stay on as first officer to him rather than getting busted back to the academy. I've already slouched down into my seat and am rolling my eyes periodically like a disenchanted teenager.
After the UT (Unholy Trinity, I'm lazy and don't want to type it anymore) went out of their way with the first movie to say that didn't want to try to "pander" to Trekkies (translation: we are too lazy to actually research canon and just want to write our own shit, regardless of relevancy), they pull a 180 and make a bunch of hideously pandering references, but they're disrespectful. It's that raping/winking thing I mentioned in my fears. It's like they said "Oh here we go, making a Trek reference/inside joke, everybody's going to love it!" For example: Scotty resigns. Poor Chekhov gets put in charge of Engineering. They tell him to "put on a red shirt" and there's a gratuitous close up of Chekhov looking terrified. I can just picture the trinity high-fiving each other while they are writing that scene over the cleverness of putting in that reference. It was probably something like this:
Khan/Cumberpatch (worst kept secret EVER, btw) goes and hides out on "an uninhabited district" of Kronos after blowing people up. I hear Ian choking next to me. I raise an eyebrow. Ian leans over and tells me the district they mentioned is the home of the glorious General Martok of DS9, thus probably not uninhabited. So the UT could be troubled to come up with the name of a district, but not troubled to actually find out anything about that district in Trek cannon. Why do they bother?
Here's just a few ways this movie could have been a million times better with only the tiniest writing changes (I could have done this for Prometheus, too. Effing Lindeloff):
1) They take the time to paint Khan as a sympathetic character long enough for Kirk to be convinced to ally with him for part of the movie. Why not have really surprised us and let Khan be a good guy in this timeline? Heck, kill Spock and make Khan the new first officer of the enterprise. That would have at least been unpredictable!
2) How about you guys proofread your flipping script just to see if it makes sense? Marcus thaws out Khan to get him to make weapons and stuff, then Khan gets mad because... hell I don't even remember. He decides to kill a bunch of starfleet guys, then runs off and hides on Kronos. Kirk goes after Khan with instructions from Marcus to unload these torpedoes on Khan ON KRONOS then sneak back and not start a war with the Klingons or some such nonsense. Marcus really does want the war with the Klingons and is trying to provoke it as it turns out. So what would make more sense is if KHAN AND MARCUS ARE WORKING TOGETHER and they planned for Khan to go to Kronos in order to put all this stuff in order. Nope. Khan has defected and it's just a happy coincidence that he wound up on Kronos??? GRRRRRRRR. I swear, either Lindelof is the biggest idiot in the world who never reads his own writing, or he is TRYING to make me angry.
3) We already know that Khan's blood has magical healing powers from an early segment with some dying little girl. The obnoxiously pointed shot of Bones injecting a dead Tribble with Khan blood? Completely unnecessary. Although, congratulations on getting my husband to groan loudly and yell "DEUS EX MACHINA HE'S GONNA RESURRECT KIRK WITH KHAN'S BLOOD UGHHHHHHH." Sucks being right all the time, eh hubby?
4) The whole climax scene mirroring Wrath of Khan but flipped. Why is it there? To make me angry? To force hysterical crying laughter out of my husband and I when Spock gives the obligatory "Khaaaaan!" yell, even though it's entirely unnecessary? The UT are so wrapped up in making this scene happen they don't bother to think about what's happening. Kirk has to "realign" the warp core to save everybody's ass. Guess how he does it? You never will. He kicks it. No, seriously. Warp technology. Delicate reactors. He kicks it and it magically just wobbles back into perfect alignment. I was literally spitting. Good thing nobody sat in front of us. So then Kirk is behind the glass DYING (we can't get him out because of the radiation, even though he just opened the glass to get in there a few minutes ago and it didn't matter, but whatever) and he's saying goodbye to Spock. The UT are utterly failing at duplicating the emotion of the original scene. Kirk puts his hand on the glass, then Spock puts his hand up with the Live Long and Prosper sign. This is an exact mirror of WoK, except reversed with the characters. Here's the problem: when Spock puts the sign up, he's telling Kirk to go live long and prosper, do something with his life. By putting up the sign here... Kirk is about to die he's not going to live or prosper for shit so the sign MAKES NO SENSE. Kirk could have flashed the sign and it would have made more sense. Sure enough, they resurrect Kirk with the Khan blood, too. Everything is awful. This scene does not need to exist at all.
5) There's a whole sequence with the Klingons. The Klingons are lightweights that could get their ass kicked by a girl. They have gold rings pierced through their forehead BONE ridges. The Klingons do nothing except grant us an opportunity for a firefight and are completely unnecessary to the plot, they serve only to make me grumble.
6) Obnoxious romantic subplots. Uhura gets mad at Spock for doing what Vulcans do: not having emotions. Really? Have you met Spock? Then Marcus' daughter sneaks on the enterprise and appears to serve the sole purpose of flashing her underwear once.
7) OH MY GOD I ALMOST FORGOT. You know your movie is in trouble when you take writing cliche's from Armageddon. Bones and Marcus' daughter have to diffuse a bomb. Complete with dramatic countdown to 3... 2....1.... OH PHEW THEY STOPPED IT JUST IN TIME ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?!?!
Honestly I could keep going, but I think the point is that I could nickel and dime this down until there's nothing left, which demonstrates to me that everything in this movie is just unnecessary. Now I'm reading that it's underperforming at the box office, too. So I don't even have my silver lining of this getting me a TV show. Rather than ending this with the powerful shout from Wrath of Khan, I'll end it similarly to the way I walked out of the theater after seeing Prometheus: