Three years into their five-year deep space voyage, the USS Enterprise puts in for resupply at Starbase Yorktown, a heavily-populated space colony. During the long period of isolation, Spock and Uhura broke up, Sulu misses his partner and daughter, Scotty is having difficulty keeping the Enterprise operational with dwindling supplies, and Kirk is finding his duties monotonous. Over birthday drinks with Bones, Kirk questions his motives for joining Starfleet, and he later applies for promotion to Vice Admiral.
An escape pod drifts out of a nearby nebula and the sole occupant, an alien named Kalara, claims her ship is stranded and damaged. The Enterprise is dispatched, but when it arrives at a planet on the far side of the nebula, it’s crippled by a swarm of ships and boarded by drone soldiers lead by Krall, an alien warlord. Krall attempts to retrieve an alien artifact, supposedly part of a long-lost weapon from the Enterprise’s storage, but Kirk gets the artifact first and gives it to a junior ensign for safekeeping. As the crew evacuates, most of their escape pods are captured by the drone ships.
Uhura separates the Enterprise‘s saucer section, enabling it to crash-land on the planet below, but she’s captured by Krall and brought to his home base on the planet’s surface, along with Sulu, the junior ensign and the rest of the captive crew. Along with the drone forces, Krall has alien technology that he uses to rejuvenate his body by draining the life from his captives, and has been planning for centuries to strike at the Federation. When Krall threatens to start murdering the crew, the junior ensign gives up the alien artifact, which is the final component of a bioweapon he intends to unleash aboard Yorktown.
Kirk, Chekov and Kalara also reach the surface, and Kalara admits she lured the Enterprise into a trap. They return to the saucer section, where Kalara is tricked into giving away the location of Krall’s base. The drones attack, but Kirk and Chekov escape by activating the saucer’s manoeuvring thrusters, killing Kalara. Meanwhile, Scotty lands elsewhere and is saved from unruly natives by Jaylah, an alien scavenger who has made her home in the wreck of the USS Franklin, an NX-Class vessel that went missing.
Spock and McCoy reach the planet in a stolen drone, but Spock is severely wounded. As they navigate the planet’s surface, Spock reveals that Ambassador Spock has died, causing him to reconsider his place in Starfleet. They are attacked by drones, but Scotty repairs the Franklin‘s teleporter and beams the pair aboard. Kirk and Chekov reach the Franklin, and with Jaylah’s help, they formulate a plan to infiltrate Krall’s camp. As Krall’s fleet departs, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Jaylah attack the base and rescue the crew from the remaining drones, before repairing the Franklin and pursuing Krall to Yorktown.
Spock and McCoy beam aboard an attacking drone ship and discover how to disrupt the drones’ cohesion with UHF broadcasts, allowing the Franklin to destroy much of the drone fleet using the by playing Sabotage over the Franklin’s loudspeakers. Krall alone boards Yorktown and attempts to deploy the bioweapon in the life support hub. Uhura studies the Franklin‘s logs and discovers the truth: Krall was once the human captain of the Franklin, an ex-soldier and a Federation sceptic who went insane during his time on the planet. Kirk battles Krall at the life support hub, managing to flush Krall and the bioweapon into space and narrowly avoiding the same fate thanks to Spock and McCoy’s stolen drone.
Afterwards the crew celebrates Kirk’s birthday at Yorktown. Kirk is offered the promotion to Vice Admiral as a reward for saving the station, but he declines, preferring to remain a starship captain. Spock decides to stay in Starfleet and resumes his relationship with Uhura. On Scotty’s recommendation, Jaylah is accepted to Starfleet Academy. The crew would later resume their five-year mission aboard their new ship, the Enterprise-A.
This was a very good movie, but it didn’t feel like a Star Trek. When I saw it, it didn’t feel like Star Trek, it just felt like a typical movie, that just happens to have Star Trek in it. Having said that, the movie, does a great job being its own thing while also paying tribute to 50 years of what came before it, speaking of they did a great tribute to Leonard Nimoy as well as Anton Yelchin. The cast as usual gave a great performance, as well the new additions to the cast, Sofia Boutella was awesome as Jaylah, and Idris Elba gave a menacing performance as Krall. However, he didn’t really have a good reason for attacking the Yorktown, and while it was cool, I thought it was a little too early to show off the Enterprise-A, and yes I know “different reality, different rules”, but still depending on how long this was going to go on they could’ve saved this for later. Lastly, that scene with Sabotage being used to destroy the drones, was kinda silly, I mean, I get the song is cool, but you couldn’t have come up with a better way to disable the drones? Overall, while it feels like a different script with Star Trek thrown in, it’s still a solid movie and a good milestone celebration.
RANK: 4 Out Of 5
Next time, we revisit another franchise.