What bothers me most about the movie . . . is the lack of characterization . . . If JJ says "it's about the relationships" and then clearly spends time making an action film about the story, then it's a bait-and-switch.
What both of Abrams' films rely upon pretty heavily -- despite being very carefully crafted to convey as clearly as possible that this is not your father's Trek -- is prior knowledge of the characters and their relationship. Kirk and Spock are conceived and delivered (and in an unusual and somewhat painfully ham-handed way in ST09, we're explicitly told that they are) a destined dramatic unit in the same sense as Alfred and Bruce Wayne, or Sherlock Holmes and Watson.
Within those parameters, the relationship between Kirk and Spock actually does take center stage. Their arcs are the most clearly conceived and delivered elements of either film's stories: ST09 is about them learning about and accepting their shared "destinies" (ugh), STiD is about them learning to fully understand and accept their friendship.
But yes, it's quite true that we are told about
more than we're shown
the foundations of their relationship to a degree that's unusual even for a reboot; STiD in particular seems to rely on us reading an implied now-long-standing friendship into an onscreen relationship that doesn't really feel like longstanding friendship.
They don't seem to be making Kirk very likable or competent.
I think he's likable enough*, but I'm mystified from what we see of him why everyone seems to have so much faith in him as a leader of men (apart from the fact that we as the audience are meant to cut him a break because of course He's The Main Character). I think this is a flaw in the conception of the NuTrek crew as a whole: they've been thrown together like a superhero team with an inherent "right" to their positions, but as likeable as they are separately, they don't feel believable as a competent, disciplined crew of a ship.
* More than this, I think his relative rawness, lack of discipline and seat-of-the-pants style is
actually a believable outcome of his changed backstory. It's just not believable that they keep putting him in command of their "flagship" with those qualities.
Outside of Admiral Marcus creating a super ship, there is nothing of note or makes any logical sense. . . And then the nods, ripoffs during the key moments of the movie. . .
These are the biggest problems for me by far: the massive, sometimes seemingly deliberate illogic of the stories (and settings and character concepts), and the mistaking of clever reference and fan-service for good writing. I don't mind clever reference or fan-service, mind you, but they're not a substitute for a story that makes sense.