#1. The “Plot”
The movie opens with shenanigans that gets Kirk into administrative trouble. Then Khanberbatch manipulates a Star Fleet member to bomb a facility. Then Khanberbatch attacks a meeting at a Star Fleet facility, killing a bunch of high ranking members, then uses a boom box to teleport himself to “Kronos” the Klingon homeworld.
So Admiral Robocop dispatches the Enterprise under Kirkstopher Pine to kill Khanberbatch with prototype stealth torpedoes. Only the torpedoes have genetically engineered supermen from the same era as Khanberbatch stashed away inside them.
So Admiral Robocop wanted Kirkstopher Pine to shoot stasis pods at Khanberbatch? Or were they also functional torpedoes?
Kirkstopher, Two-Hura, and Zachary Spocko all travel to Kronos where Khanberbatch kills a bunch of Klingons then surrenders to the trio. That’s when Krikstopher Pine decides he hasn’t been enough of a dirt bag, by the way, and attacks an unarmed and restrained man because his feelings and no one says anything, certainly any superhumanly logical and ethical half-alien beings.
Then Khanberbatch reveals he is in fact Khan(berbatch), and that there’s a secret location they need to check out, and it turns out Admiral Robocop wanted them to die. They go to the location and find a supership that Khanberbatch helped design because, get this, they needed a guy from 300 years ago to help them design weapons?
So they fight Admiral Robocop’s supership, and then take it over, but then Khanberbatch takes it over, and tries to get his stasis pods, but they betray him, and he betrays them, and then he crashes into San Francisco. Then Kirkstopher dies because he kicks a thing in the engine room, Zachary Spocko gets real angry, and then they use Khanberbatch’s super blood to resurrect Kirkstopher.
It’s worth mentioning that Old Spock makes a cameo where Zachary Spocko pointedly does not show Old Spock a picture of Khan(berbatch). What a great scene that would have been.
Zachary Spocko: We caught this guy named… KHAN.
Old Spock: Oh shit! That guy is dangerous.
Zachary Spocko: Here’s his picture.
Old Spock: … Who the hell is that?
Anyway, my point is that one of my major problems with the movie is THE PLOT. I don’t get Khanberbatch’s plan, then I don’t get Admiral Robocop’s plan. Khanberbatch seems to be wanting to free his people in a really convoluted way. Then Admiral Robocop wants to kill Khanberbatch, Khanberbatch’s people, and Kirkstopher in a really convoluted way. Also Admiral Robocop enslaves Khanberbatch for some really nebulous reasons. It’s just a mess.
#2. The Problematic Casting of Khaaaaaaaan
Benedict Cumberbatch was a pretty poor choice to play Khan and I think arguments for it are pretty weak. First, they went out of their way to try and find people that kind of look like every character in the show, BUT Khan. Admittedly, Ricardo Montalban (a Meixcan actor) playing an East Indian man is kind of a problem, but let’s all take a step back and realize how kind of weird it was that Gene Roddenberry imagined a genetically engineered superhuman as an Asian man in the 70s. And then realize that apparently we couldn’t handle that today. But they didn’t even try to find a guy that looks even like Ricardo Montalban, and that seems like a choice.
Second, sure he might be a good actor, but I think Abrams and his team show their hand when they refuse to say Khan’s full name. His name is Khan Noonien Singh. That’s right, dawg, Abrams and his crew intentionally just truncated that to Khan. Why? For a bunch of reasons I’m sure like people didn’t know Khan’s full name, better to keep it simple, his background as an Asian man isn’t referenced in Wrath of Khan, and I suspect on some level because they knew they had casted a white guy to play an Asian character.
Like… it’s too bad that there are no Asian actors, amirite? Maybe they didn’t want to cast an Asian guy as the villain, perhaps, but they did go out of their way to portray Khan as basically the most sympathetic character in the movie (at least to me).
I try and wonder if this is different than casting Idris Elba as Heimdall in Thor. I didn’t mind that because Idris Elba really killed it in the performance, and really it was a move that added diversity to a super super undiverse cast. Who looks at a modern day blockbuster and says, “Man, we need another white guy…”
Honestly, my head canon of the universe just has Khan being a different character than Khan Noonien Singh. Khan is just some other genetically engineered superhuman guy, definitely from a different group of genetically engineered people (Khan Noonien Singh and his followers never reportedly had superblood). That fixes a lot of the in-universe issues for me.
3. He’s just a Teenage Kirkbag
God, I hate Kirk in this movie. That’s pretty much all there is to it. They managed to take a character originally played by WILLIAM SHATNER and then make him a dislikeable douchebag. I don’t think it’s the actor’s fault, Christopher Pine seems like a pretty good actor in the few things I’ve seen him in, but I do think it’s writing and direction. I think the fault lies in what the movie makers wanted and what they did to try and get it.
They wanted Kirk, but I think they have only a nebulous idea of who Kirk is. The movie tries to portray him as this kind of maverick ladies man. See: breaking the Prime Directive, see also: romance with Carol Marcus. Only, the movie then fails to really show him having any redeeming characteristics. No, I’m dead serious, guys.
Kirk violates the Prime Directive, ok that’s pretty cool. The Prime Directive is bullshit most of the time anyway. But then Kirk covers it up, and expects Spock to falsify his reports in order to hide this fact from Star Fleet. And then, when Spock tells the truth, he gets mad at Spock. I’m really feeling for you, Kirk. (I’m not feeling for you, Kirk.)
Then of course there’s the whole I’m going to attack an unarmed and restrained prisoner. I can forgive the 80s action hero single punch, but to continue attacking Khan? And no one thought to say anything? Seriously, Kirk is awful.
But at least he’s a good captain right? Nooooope.
Someone has to go into a dangerous area in Engineering and fix the ship or everyone will die. Who do you send, Captain? Do you send ANY of the engineers? Those people qualified to fix complex machinery in a life or death situation? Or do you risk the ship and send the one person who should be on the bridge being in charge and hope that kicking something will fix the ship.
Oh my god, I’m just remembering it now in my head.
Seriously, Kirk is awful in the new Star Trek universe.
#4. Magic Chekov’s Blood
We couldn’t kill a goddamn character for more than ten minutes. Seriously, we couldn’t do it. We just had to use Chekov’s Blood to resurrect Kirk because god forbid something in this movie actually have consequences.
Ugh. These are just four things that bothered me, I’m sure there are more but let’s call it a day here.