While TWOK and FC do include some action they also contain some slower parts and interesting themes. The mixture is what makes them work so well.
A purely idea-based movie like TMP fails and a pure action movie like NEM fails as well.
Agreed. A movie that is nonstop action (like Van Helsing)
gets exhausting very fast. Even Raiders of the Lost Ark
knew enough to break up the wild action sequences, with quieter, more character-oriented scenes. ("Indy, maybe the Ark is not meant to be found.")
Personally, I thought the last movie had lots of good character bits, between Spock and Sarek, for instance, or Spock and Uhura, or Kirk and Pine, etc. It wasn't just space battles and 'splosions.
Regarding ideology, I tend to think that if you put (hopefully) interesting characters in difficult situations, emotionally or otherwise, themes and messages and such will just arise organically from the plot, without trying to deliberately impose them on the story.
For myself, when I sit down at the keyboard in the morning, I'm not thinking what Important Statement can I make about racism or global warming today, I'm putting myself in my character's heads and trying to figure out how they're going to react to whatever trouble I throw at them.
And, oh yeah, deadlines.