Star Trek: Into Darkness thus suggests that the “good guys” win when they remember their true values, not when they descend to the level of barbarian, or give in to passing surges of blood-thirst or vengeance.
This subtext represents a very Star Trek-kian principle, and I am happy to see it enunciated in an age of such thoughtless violence. Every other blockbuster movie is about a hero meting revenge for some terrible wrong. It's nice to see a blockbuster, for a change, where the heroes stop short of vengeance, take a breath, and remember who they are.
Lol! Try telling that to Spock when he was chasing Khan wanting nothing more to kill him, if that was not vengeance I don't what is!
There was only one hero in this movie, it was not Kirk and it certainly was not Spock, it was Scotty. He was the only character who made a moral stand and who actually questioned what Starfleet was doing. Plus he resigned his commission on a matter of principle. Kirk though went along with Admiral Marcus' plan of violating Klingon territory just to capture Khan.
I sure hoped Kirk considered the billions of lives who would be affected if a Klingon/Federation war had
started due to the Enterprise travelling to Qo'noS. Methinks Kirk wanted to avenge Admiral Pike (who could almost be regarded as a kind of mentor or father figure whom Kirk never had) and to hell with the consequences. So much for the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. In that regard Kirk is no hero.
As for Spock... If he is that uptight about the rules and so stringent about not violating them, then it is incredible why he didn't really question Admiral Marcus' mission that much. He didn't see the big picture and I don't recall him objecting to this mission, so Spock went along with something of questionable legality and morality.
So really that leaves Scotty. Without him the Enterprise would be destroyed and he's probably the only main character who is a hero, and the only one whom I actually respect.