The previous two Star Trek installments felt like two completely different films under director J.J Abrams, and the most recent, Into the Darkness, was a film that took itself too seriously. Thus, Abrams left the director chair leaving it to Justin Lin. Lin had previously directed some entries of the Fast and Furious films and helped infuse some of that fun into the franchise. Beyond is a Star Trek film that does not take itself too seriously while being a highly entertaining summer blockbuster while also paying respect to the franchises legacy. It returns everyone from the previous films and defeats the stigma following franchises that the third film is bad, this film is arguably one of the better films of the trilogy.
The plot follows the members of the Enterprise who are in the middle of a five year deep space expedition. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) feels as if he is losing his way and questioning whether or not he should step away from the chair due to the fact that Star Fleet meant something to his father, while for him, he joined based off of a dare. Spock (Zackary Quinto), on the other hand, feels a sense of honor to his people of Vulkan and a need to lead his people instead of continuing his work aboard the Enterprise in light of a loss on New Vulkan. All of this comes to a head as the Enterprise is hit by a surprise attack on a new mission into deep space where it forces them to crash land on a mysterious world. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness completely cut off from all that they know, Kirk and his crew must now battle a deadly alien race led by Krall (Idris Elba) while trying to find a way off their hostile planet.
The first few moments of the film introduced some of the themes of Kirk losing his way and losing his sense of purpose which had plenty of callbacks to the original film of the trilogy and it largely played well with the central conflict of this film. Overall, there are similarities between the hero and villain of this film that helped make the conflict that much more interesting. Another positive of this is that unlike Darkness, it didn't try to delve into it too much and try to be more then what it is. This franchise also benefits from having a great rapport between Chris Pine, Zackary Quinto and Karl Urban. The three of them play off of each other really well and in the previous films Pine worked off of both of them a lot while Quinto and Urban didn't have much time together. This film changed that in plenty and it was largely one of the more entertaining parts of the film. Justin Lin does a great job in the directors chair this time around and the action scenes in the film may just be some of the best in the trilogy.
Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella are tremendous additions to the franchise. Elba is an incredibly gifted actor that brings a certain intensity to every scene which lends well to being a villain. His character is a bit weak in terms of how he is written, which is a common occurrence in summer blockbuster films these days, but Elba makes him an interesting character due to his performance. He makes him a bit primal and an intense foil to Pine's Kirk. Boutella is a fresh face and was rather memorable as Jaylah, a woman who had been stranded on the mysterious world for an unknown amount of time. She was hardened by her time on the planet while also showing plenty of fragility. This is one of Boutella's bigger roles as of late and it wouldn't be surprising to see her in more films in the future, and for that matter, it wouldn't be surprising to see her in another Star Trek film down the line. It goes without saying as well that Chris Pine does another tremendous job in the lead role of Captain Kirk as he continues to completely embody the character. Karl Urban is always intriguing as Bones and always hilarious, while Zackary Quinto again makes a great Spock.