Saw it again last night, this time in IMAX 3D on a "real" IMAX screen (one designed for 15/70 film which is the full IMAX resolution--this is a lot rarer than the many Digital IMAX cinemas that have opened up over the past 5-7 years or so). From a story standpoint, IMAX doesn't make any difference but from a sheer spectacle standpoint, the portions filmed with IMAX cameras shine in a way a regular format simply cannot match (as was the case for the second and third Nolan Batman movies). The 3D was not headache inducing, as it usually is for me (only other time it wasn't was another IMAX 3D presentation--The Hobbit), but I didn't find it added anything to the experience (obviously a personal opinion--I know many are very enthused by 3D). Ideally, I'd like to see a 2D IMAX presentation, but there are none to be found anywhere nearby (if anywhere at all). I just hope the Blu-ray release includes a version with changing aspect ratios, like the Nolan movies, though I'm not holding my breath.
So much for the technical notes.
The story holds up to repeat viewing, as any alleged (and real) flaws are not so glaring as to make it fall apart--no more so than the vast majority of films out there (including very highly regarded ones). I could pick a few nits here and there, but I could do that for every single episode and film across all Trek series--what would be the point? In the end, I was even more entertained the second time around (which is good, considering the asking price for a 3D IMAX ticket in these parts) and I look forward to watching it again, as well as any new stuff produced by this team.
As for the reasonable complaints I've seen/heard/read--I think a lot of it results from the two films by this team being a palimpsest (your vocab word of the day, as my English teacher used to say
) of Trek rather than a fully realized exploration of one's particularly favourite aspect of Trek. Large cast, but not an ensemble approach like TNG-era Trek. Better treatment of women than in TOS, but not as egalitarian as in TNG-era Trek. Makes the kind of moral and ethical argument for which TOS is fondly remembered (the stance against drones/targeted killing), but doesn't spend a significant, uninterrupted chunk of the film focused on the debate. Use of "magic tech" but insufficient time spent on explaining how it works "in-universe" so as to frustrate those who like such technical elements. Kirk suffers consequence of too swift promotion, but that is too quickly resolved to seem substantial. I could go on but I think this is enough to make my point. The ideal solution to all this? Probably a TV series. Movies simply don't have the time to explore any of the above in any detail. So we get a sprinkling (it is a lot like the difference between teaching a course called World History and one called The History of Vermont--I've done both and each has its frustrations, as well as its rewards, regarding breadth and depth of discussion and study). And since the filmmakers cannot possibly satisfy everyone's ideal notion of Trek (among those who have such a thing), they've put forth something they enjoy and hope the audience does too. On that score, they appear to have succeeded quite well (given both critical and audience word of mouth reaction).