Judging the movie as a movie-goer: Meh. Not to my taste. But a decent big blockbustery effects-o-rama. It did well but not amazingly, as both articles mention, I believe.
As a Trek fan, I second both articles. Convoluted film, Spock on Skype (haha), some cold spy-ish dude named Khan. Spock yelling Khaaan, ridiculous. I saw it once in theater, won't buy it, and might not see the next, based on the first two. I'm not into all the "kewl," so it was lame to me. Make an original star trek movie next time: exploration, action, and philosophical. Some of the movies have done it. Many episodes have done it. Can the present production team do it? I have my doubts.
Maybe space exploration is not a good topic for the 2010s. It's not 1967.
Maybe the problem is "Trek" is now just a franchise owned by a corporation which wants to spin it into money. So it hires some currently "hot" producer/writers. There doesn't seem to be a human truly at the center (like GR or Berman) invested in this concept, desiring to use it to tell stories. Now it seems like, "Well, we have to make a third movie that grosses $XYZ, let's get it done and over with. YMMV
No, NONE of the MOVIES were focused on exploration, sorry to disappoint you. TMP came closest, and it was a failure both critically and financially. The TV SHOWS were about exploration and discovery. You can do that in a twenty plus episode season better than a two hour movie. The films have always been geared more towards a mass audience, so this is nothing new.
Well TMP actually is one of the higher grossing Trek movies, so it was a financial success. I suspect that has to do with the Trek name more than the movie itself. It wasn't regarded that fondly, hence the drastic departure in tone with The Wrath of Khan.
But Khan444 is right, none of them focused on exploration and philosophy was often thinner than their episodes. Ironically enough, I felt The Wrath of Khan was one of the philosophically strongest movies, and yet it was also the most action-packed.
In terms of giving me more to think about, in my opinion, STiD beats The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier, Generations, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis. This is just my opinion, however.