The Star Trek franchise is heading in a somewhat new direction with Beyond by bringing in Fast & Furious director Justin Lin. So, did the experiment work? Pretty much, yeah.
Early buzz from the sequel was resoundingly positive earlier this week, coming out of the first press screenings for the film. The flick apparently brings back some of the flair missing since The Original Series, and though it’s not perfect, Beyond certainly sounds like a big step up from Into Darkness. Impressed by the wave of buzz from those early screenings, Paramount actually decided to call off the review embargo early — so here we are. For those keeping score: The film is currently hitting around 90 percent or higher on Rotten Tomatoes.
Star Trek Beyond opens July 22.
We’ve pulled together highlights from several of the first reviews to hit the web, so check them out below and let us know what you think:
“Lin directs with his foot often jammed on the accelerator, careening from one physical or aerial clash to the next where the densely packed movie could sometimes stand to take a breath. But even if a team of four editors would normally spell trouble, the pacing, structure and crescendos of suspense are assured, with Michael Giacchino's forceful score pumping up the action. However, there's also no shortage of intimate character-driven moments. And while the story isn't without confusing elements, as warmongering intergalactic blitzes go, it's coherent enough.” - David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Star Trek Beyond doesn’t go that far beyond what we might expect: a very decent, watchable franchise episode which is marooned for quite a long time on a distant rocky planet. There is a potent new force for evil in the form of anti-Star Fleet insurgent Krall, played by Idris Elba, although his full personality and motivation take a fair bit of time to flower.” - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“Star Trek Beyond might have been more accurately entitled “Star Trek Contained.” It’s got a very familiar, old-fangled, no-mystery structure, and that’s because it’s basically the “Star Trek” version of an interplanetary action film, with a plot that doesn’t take you to many new frontiers. But there’s plenty of chance to hang out with a cast that audiences have — rightly — come to love.” - Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Here is a movie where the emphasis is on good, old-fashioned fun, and that feels, in a good way, almost like an extended episode of the Trek TV show, right down to stranding the crew of the Enterprise on an alien world where the sets sometimes feel fashioned out of polystyrene. It’s a movie that, in almost every word of Simon Pegg and Doug Jung’s script, responds to the fans’ criticisms and says, ‘We listened.’” - Chris Hewitt, Empire
“I'm not sure there's anything particularly original about any of this, but Lin thrives on making clichés breathe again; he proved with his Fast and Furious films that he knows how to convince audiences of the sincerity of prepackaged Hollywood sentiment. (This time, I was half-expecting Kirk to start talking about his ‘familia.’) And while he may have seemed like a counterintuitive choice to take over a Star Trek movie, Lin is absolutely in his element whenever the film becomes about bodies and vehicles moving swiftly through space — which is often.” - Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“I’m not sure if calling Star Trek Beyond a glorified two-part television episode is necessarily an insult, especially when A) there are no new episodes of Star Trek currently airing and B) episodic television is a lot grander than it once was, but that’s what comes to mind. The action is big, but the story is slight. Things get off to a roaring start specifically by not diving into the spectacle. We get a solid twenty minutes of reintroduction, and it’s a reminder of how successfully this younger cast has made these iconic characters their own.” - Scott Mendelson, Forbes
“But the other stars are all terrific – after three films together, Chris Pine's Kirk, Karl Urban's Bones and Zachary Quinto's Spock have found a comfortable groove. Some of the special effects are stunning. And while this is not your father's "Star Trek," it still feels like a fan's – and just the kind of warm, inclusive, feel-good entertainment this summer needs.” - Stephen Whitty, NJ.com