Star Trek Into Benedict Cumberbatch
Because the first teaser for Star Trek Into Darkness is all about The Batch.
As I mentioned earlier this week, we don’t know a lot about the plot or new characters in Star Trek 2. This teaser does little to shed light on either of those things. Mainly what we get is a refresher of the main cast from the first film—Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura—and a good look at Cumberbatch as the still-unnamed villain. I am merely whelmed by this teaser. It’s too vague to give me anything to get excited about (though the Japanese teaser (see below) has a little extra footage at the end that hints at some personal connections that are intriguing), and this much action with no plot to balance it just makes ST2 look like your average “blow sh*t up” summer action movie. It’s a disservice to the first film —the strength of Star Trek was the surprisingly well realized coming of age arcs of both Kirk and Spock, but there is no such grounding character moment here.
So let’s talk about Cumberbatch—because I just can’t with Chris Pine and his tape-lips—as this is his big Hollywood debut, the culmination of years of expectation. First, he looks great. He got fit for this role, and we’re so used to seeing him all skinny and sickly for Sherlock that it’s nice to see him looking healthy for a change. He also looks pretty badass in that shot of him in the hood, jumping down to do some fighting. I have my issues with JJ Abrams, but man does he know how to frame a shot. But mostly, the impression I get from Cumberbatch is that his villain is SCARY. Like, way scarier than Ben Kingsley’s accidentally-hilarious Mandarin in the Iron Man 3 trailer. It’s not so much how he looks, but how he sounds. He sounds terrifying.
But there is that little disconnect between look and sound, which is where my disinterest is coming from, I think. The problem with Abrams and his Super Secret Club of Secrets is that he’ll edit a trailer into oblivion to protect whatever is the SUPER BIG SECRET, and the end result is often this—sure everything looks cool but I have no idea what any of it means and therefore I do not care about any of it. So yes, Cumberbatch is convincingly scary as the villain, and the action is appropriately blockbustery, but I’ve got nothing identify with or care about beyond the preservation of JJ Abrams’ secrety secrets. And that’s a fad that wore thin five years ago.