Don’t get me wrong, I still like STID … but after having seen it twice and having time to think about it … I can’t help feeling Khan was a letdown. Cumberbatch is good, I love his Sherlock, he’s just not Khan. And the script was the real problem. Khan’s backstory is so rich, one of the best in Trek history, and they chose to barely touch on it. Khan was a major player in WWIII. Controller of more than 1/3 of the world. And for some reason, at the end of his reign, he was forced to flee into space. Very intriguing stuff.
Where was our flashback? A flashback was something TOS and TWOK could not afford, but this new movie easily could have. How great would it have been to see Khan in his time, a “prince, with power over millions”? And to see a bit of why he fled Earth. There was so much opportunity. Instead, it wasn’t even mentioned where he was found. It could have been in a cave on Earth for all we know. Botany Bay not shown, crew never revived (again, would have been awesome to see a team of supermen in action), no mention of Eugenics Wars or why he was sleeping. And we never got the sense that Kirk & crew realized what an important historical character they were dealing with, as they did in TOS. Rather than using their huge budget to give us more of Khan than we’ve seen before, the filmmakers gave us less.
And this is a smaller complaint, but we all know Ricardo Montalban was given some of the greatest, most quotable dialogue in film history. His Khan could quote Milton and Melville and Shakespeare. This new Khan deserved some lines from classic literature and got not one. Will people decades from now be quoting anything John Harrison said? I can’t recall any standout lines. This new Khan was generic, he could have been any other character.
In the end, I feel that Peter Weller’s Admiral Marcus was a more compelling, intimidating character. I loved Weller, he commanded the screen whenever he was on and you felt that James T. Kirk was small in comparison.
The film has a lot going for it, I especially love Chris Pine and the growth of Kirk in this film. I liked him better in this film than the first. But as for Khan? Meh. Maybe it’s time to use some Montalban DNA and clone Ricardo.