I gave it a solid B
Going in completely spoiled and with very low expectations, I found myself pleasantly surprised. I view Abrams' films as a completely separate version of Star Trek so any continuity/canon issues don't bother me. There were plenty of lapses in logic but no worse than any other Trek film and the relentless pace helps distract from them. Emotionally, it hit all the right notes, and the acting was mostly great. I left the theater pretty satisfied, and it's obviously going to be a huge mainstream hit. Some miscellaneous thoughts:
- The biggest issue to me (and a complaint I had with the first film) was the rampant unprofessionalism among the crew. My hope for a third film is to see these characters behave more like professional adults, because it undercuts the realism.
- Chris Pine was the biggest surprise to me in the first film acting-wise and he was even better here. The writers really overdo the character's brashness and immaturity but Pine makes it work. Zachary Quinto was better here than in the first film, but the writers make him far too emotional for my taste.
- The rest of the characters all had their moments to shine, although I wish Uhura was a little less "Spock's girlfriend" and Scotty was a little less comic relief. I enjoyed Acting Captain Sulu and redshirt Chekov.
- I already miss Pike.
- If they really wanted Cumberbatch in the film that badly, there was no reason they couldn't have had him play another "superman" from Khan's crew who seized the opportunity and took Khan's name. The "shocking" reveal of his name was meaningless to these characters. I will admit, his performance was quite good, only occasionally tipping into "overly enunciated thespian" mode. I was actually surprised how little he was used, to be honest.
- Nimoy's cameo was beyond pointless and poorly placed in the film.
- Kirk's sacrifice almost, almost
worked. The lines taken directly from TWOK and Quinto's, um... less than stoic... reaction really took me out of it.
- A lot of the logic problems throughout the film could have easily been solved by a line or two of dialogue. Like, why was the Enterprise underwater in the beginning, and so close to the shore where the natives would see it?
- The reduced lens flares were appreciated.
- The "blockbuster action set-pieces" ranged from pretty good (the Klingon fights, Kirk and Scotty's run to the warp core) to somewhat overblown (the space jump, Spock vs. Khan). I tend to tune those kind of scenes out because they're often unrealistic, but they weren't too bad on the whole.
- The NX-01 model on Marcus' desk was a cute touch. But why did he have a model of his super-secret warship there too? Although given the way he blurted out the info about Section 31, I shouldn't be surprised...
- I'm glad they added Carol Marcus to the Enterprise family. I liked the character and the actress.
- I actually had no problem with Khan's "magic blood" saving Kirk. Too bad the whole bit with the tribble was the clunkiest piece of foreshadowing I've ever seen.
- Was it me, or was there a lot of swearing in the film?
- Peter Weller's performance went from zero to sneering supervillain in 60 seconds. Subtlety, much?
- The Kirk/Spock bromance was in full force here, and will undoubtedly inspire fan-fiction writers for years to come.
That's all I have for now. I definitely wouldn't mind seeing it again...