After watching the Red Letter Media review, I enjoyed their discussion. I still greatly enjoyed the movie though, and somehow enjoyed their review. Unlike the bickering that is going on in their comments section for that review.
I enjoy that things are a lot more civil here than elsewhere about these subjects (comics, sci-fi, super hero movies, etc).
As far as their discussions on "needless" fan service: I enjoy the nods. To the casual movie-goer, they don't register as such. But if you are a long time fan, they are there for our "enjoyment". Section 31? That's fun to hear, didn't mean a damn to the people I went with who didn't know it's history, they just went along with "secret organization". Such references did not take them out of the story. Tribbles and old starship models and mentions of "Mudd' are fine.
Now, is the inclusion of Harrison "fan service"? That is a debatable point. In this case, does the weight of his identity carry over if you don't know the history? I say no, but if a casual Trek fan is going to know any bad guy, Khan would be the one. However, for younger and/or less informed people watching this movie, I don't think enough background was given on what Khan was or what he and his crew represented. In this case, JJ was wrong, you did need to know Trek to fully "appreciate" the inclusion.
I agree with you.
My husband who knows a little bit about TOS couldn't remember who Khan was from TWOK. I don't think he'd match up Montalban with Cumberbatch. He asked me why he was so powerful. How come he could beat up Spock? Was he alien or something?
Like your friends he was OK with everything else.
And my family were humming the 'forgetable' theme after the movie waiting for the car