Re: Can Pine's Kirk work as an authority figure?
First things first. The opening monologue.
"Space, the final frontier."
I cannot and will not accept that monologue coming from NuKirk. Ever. Nowhere in this film did he show any ambition or intuition to be someone who actually wants to go out into the unknown and reflect what the monologue stands for. He went into this on a dare because he had nothing better to do, and his first goal was to finish the academy in three years. Why? Why does he want to rush through things? That's just counterproductive.
I think you're absolutely right
A movie aiming low should not be praised for hitting that target.