For me the bad set design and ignorance of basic reality challenged willing suspension of disbelief. Thus, extended action sequences were deprived of power, becoming boring. Worse, the game of incorporating references to Wrath of Khan instead of telling a story was also boring. (The TV series Hannibal recently did Silence of the Lambs references the same way. That was so boring I couldn't finish even an hour and have never looked back.) But there is a story of sorts buried beneath the games, between the inert action sequences. The overall arc is Kirk becomes a competent captain. This is unfortunate because that should have been the story of the first movie. Everything else is actually subordinated to that. The peak of the story is the scene where Kirk pleads guilty/takes responsibility before Admiral Marcus, in an effort to save the crew. The emotional gist is supposed to be that Kirk is facing up to his failures, gone into his personal darkness and confronted the demons, or some such. What did Kirk do wrong that he should blame himself? Follow orders? Not follow the orders of a madmiral? Listen to Spock's advice to not mindlessly assault the Klingon homeworld? Send Scotty to investigate? The movie is not really written, we can only guess. Unlike the first episode, there really isn't anything for Kirk to feel guilty about, except falsifying a report. Which has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, it was just some short-lived quarrel. There is no payoff in the peak moment of this part of the story, just a perfect hero nobly taking false blame. Which is part of the inadequate characterization of Kirk that the maturation arc in this movie was supposed to fix! There are a couple of other emotional aspects. The Spock/Uhura we can dispose of with about as much attention as the movie did. Thus that leaves us Spock's realization when Kirk was dying that being a Vulcan and relying on reason as a guide, on control of emotions, was inadequate. Which is incidentally the moral of that story. There is the fundamental problem that it is still unbelievable that this Kirk and Spock are friends. Trying somehow to quantum leap over that, we have to ask ourselves how exciting it is to learn that reason makes you an asshole and going with the flow of your feelings validates your existence? The answer is, not very. In fact, you wonder why they trouble to write Spock at all. I don't mind that this Spock doesn't serve as a fantasy figure for adolescents troubled by sexual feelings, fulfilling a daydream where those icky feelings are magically gone. But Spock was always more than that, a validation of intellectual interests. This Spock solemnly affirms that the goal is impossible and undesirable in a moment of crisis. The superiority of feeling over thought is a cliché. Spock is apparently just here so it can be Star Trek, a commercial hook. Cliches, marketing, juvenile daydreams about a hero suffering unjustly (before he kicks ass, naturally.) When we go Into Darkness, we see that there really isn't much heart at all.