Greg Cox wrote:
There's also the fact that the whole first part of the movie is about getting the old gang together and reuniting Kirk with the Enterprise--all of which works if you already have an emotional connection to the characters and their history. But will mean nothing to newbies.
Isn't re-introducing the same as introducing for someone who hasn't seen anything of it?
Ditto for all the scenes establishing that Spock is oddly aloof toward his old friends, even by Vulcan standards. Again, Spock's brusque manner upon meeting Kirk and McCoy registers if you're already familiar with the characters, but a newbie is likely to be puzzled when Kirk or McCoy or whomever are somewhat taken aback by Spock's attitude...
But there are enough reaction shots to sell the idea that his behavior isn't what they expected.
It's not different from any standalone movie that has a character "return" to meet other characters who he has "history" with, and then they say "we go back a long way" and "man, you've changed".