From the rousing opening sequence to the gob-smacking climax, Star Trek Into Darkness is a glorious thrill ride. J.J. Abrams’ sequel to his 2009-reboot Star Trek, Into Darkness puts the adventure into space and how! The movie starts with the crew of the USS Enterprise involved in saving a planet. They go about it rather dramatically with science officer Spock in a live volcano trying to detonate a cold fusion device while Captain Kirk and chief medical officer Bones are running away from interesting-looking natives.

Commander Pike and the high command are annoyed with Kirk ignoring directives. Kirk loses his command and Spock is reassigned. End of Act I. A daring attack on a star fleet base in London reveals a terrorist, John Harrison, a former agent who has turned rogue. Kirk is given the job of finding and destroying Harrison. As Kirk follows Harrison, he uncovers the mandatory can of worms with everyone using everyone else and having only a passing affinity for the truth.

All that was super cool in the earlier movie — attitude, cast, pace and creativity, is there in double dose here. The action set pieces are out of the world and the cast from Chris Pine as Kirk to Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Ahura), Karl Urban (Bones) and John Cho (Sulu) are pitch-perfect. The icing on the cake is Benedict Cumberbatch as Harrison. Cold, cruel and immaculately dressed, he carries his grudge against the universe like a perfectly accessorised chip on his shoulder.

The movie moves at spanking pace through its over two-hour running time alternating nicely between wall-to-wall action and the quieter moments of dialogue, which is tempered with right amount of wit and charm.

While Into Darkness can be enjoyed as a stand-alone film, Trekkies can hail the cleverly done homages. The alternate time line allows J.J. Abrams and his merry men to redo earlier story lines. Into Darkness takes the plot line from 22nd episode of The Original Series, Space Seed, which introduces Khan Noonien Singh (from northern India!), a genetically engineered super human. The episode is scarily prescient, talking of a eugenic war that almost destroyed the earth.

The second Star Trek feature, The Wrath Of The Khan saw the return of Khan. When Leonard Nimoy playing the older Spock says they defeated Khan “at great cost”, Trekkies would be nodding their heads in agreement. The phrase “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” also brings back poignant memories. The comely Dr. Carol Marcus will be recognised, as will the number of torpedoes.

What makes Into Darkness irresistible is the homages are well thought of, and while getting the references are a big bonus, the movie can be thoroughly enjoyed free of all the background.

Genre: Sci-fi / Action

Director: J.J. Abrams

Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, John Cho, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Peter Weller, Anton Yelchin

Storyline: Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise have to defeat a dark force that is taking over the earth

Bottomline: A high octane adventure powered by adrenalin, testosterone, stupendous visual effects and nostalgia