I just got back from seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness. Im a bit surprised at some of the lackluster reviews its been getting, because I thought it was pretty good. I do have some quarrels with it, but I cant really go into them without spoilers, so Ill save that discussion for a later date.
I cant go into much detail about what I liked without getting into spoilers either, so let me make just three points:
On one level, I think ST:ID may be the most fan-friendly film in the franchise, i.e., the one with the greatest number of older Trek references for fans to pick up on a bit like what Steven Moffat has been doing with Doctor Whos 50th anniversary year while at the same time being perfectly accessible to non-fans. (Theres one line no, not one of the obvious ones thats a subtle reference to a specific scene in a previous film argh, cant talk about that yet ….) And theres enough character development to give the two main actors the chance to do some nice work.
On a political level, the movie is a stinging indictment of the war on terror, bearing a clear message that a) terrorism should be treated as a crime of individuals rather than as a pretext for war, and b) one doesnt have to sympathise with terrorists to recognise that their actions can be blowback from wrongdoing on ones own side. (This message may seem to be undercut by the films dedication, but I suspect the dedication is ass-covering for the message.)
On yet another level, ST:ID represents a criticism of, and the promise of a departure from, the militarist, non-exploration focus of much recent Star Trek. Although the odds of Abrams directing the next Trek film are low, given that hes got another rather hefty upcoming slice of iconic sf currently on his plate, I think it would be very difficult for anyone to follow up this movie with another recycled Vger/whales/Borg/Remans/Romulans-attacking-Earth tale. The movie clearly points in a different direction, even if it doesnt yet head there.