I started the topic because I feel we the fans do a disservice to the franchise when the majority consensus is that TWOK is the best film in the franchise when there have been better villains, plots with higher stakes and a fuller utilization of the protagonist cast in other films. It's not like comparing Star Wars Ep IV and V and deciding which one is the best film in the franchise. A franchise composing of 6 sometimes 7 movies and arguably the first two are the best. There are 11 Trek films and soon to be a 12th. Even comparing plots, characters and actions taken by the villain in other Trek films (which I outlined earlier in the thread) TWOK doesn't really hold up and is really just ok in the grand scheme of things.
This story is undoubtedly Kirk's but Kirk seems so unlike himself in this movie is disorienting. I know Meyer wanted to give it a swashbuckling feel but where is our rough and tumble captain who is quick with his mind and quick with his fists?
Spock is in the movie but has no story or stake in the film. He just sacrifices himself for the ship.
Bones is there to speak to the tangible consequences of the Genesis project for that one scene, and to hold Spock's katra. Again a character with no stake and no story to the film.
Scotty, Sulu and Uhura have even less to do.
Khan is there to be menacing but without any genuine use/display of genius intellect which we are constantly reminded of. He comes off as a villain who as an axe to grind against Kirk for arbitrary reasons.
Compare TWOK to ST IV, VI VIII which used every protagonist to develop the story and the villains weren't just petty villains who had an axe to grind against the protagonist. In a way TWOK and ST (2009) are similar in that regard. The crew Sulu, Uhura, Checov, Bones have nothing to do in the (2009) film.
Uhura is there to deliver maybe a handful of lines and show that Spock has a case of the "not gays"
Bones is there to fill the role of the character and be Kirk's friend.
Checov is there to be the 17 year old boy genius; even though in TOS Who Mourns for Adonais he's 22 and ST (2009) by the stardate is occurring 10 years before that adventure ever/might happen in this new timeline.
Sulu is there to do that one fight seen with Kirk and to drive the ship.
Kirk's only point in the movie is to do action movie shit we see in trailers. The story is Spock's. Who has the most at stake since the villain is after his alternate past self and Prime future self.
Nero is there to be as menacing as a person can be with a ship and science (Red Matter) that's 150 years from the future that he uses as a WMD. He like Khan has an axe to grind for arbitrary reasons.
By that comparison TWOK = (2009). You could argue that 09 is the better film because it's a grandiose spectacle to watch. While TWOK has aged and it's effects and settings aren't that impressive any more.
I agree TSFS does retcon nearly everything that TWOK put in place and I think it hurts TWOK because by the end everything seemed so finite. Then TSFS resets the status quo back to before TWOK happened with the only thing missing we care about is the Enterprise. By TVH the struggles of the TWOK are forgotten.