I've been thinking. I would've liked it better if Kirk had been learning all this time (end of the first movie to this one), was first officer, and then Pike dies. Nero puts him on the Enterprise. I think the emotional beats of having to go against Admiral Marcus (a father-type figure), of having to decipher whether to trust Harrison or not, I think it all works better if he hasn't tasted the chair yet. It felt like it was 5 minutes between being busted down to the Academy before he was Captain again. And that's what was playing in my head during Pike's dress-down. I think they screwed up with the ending of '09.
Just an idea.