As attested by the four Fast and the Furious movies he made before Star Trek Beyond, director Justin Lin was never a big fan of gravity. Here he can abuse it with impunity, and some of the most exhilarating moments in this amiable, low-stakes sequel involve upended spaceships and artificial atmospheres, people running up walls and sliding down corridors. It’s fun to feel the ground fall out from under you in those moments, especially since everything else about the movie is so steady and unsurprising, with a villain-of-the-week ordinariness to it. That villain is Krall (Idris Elba), a warlord who attacks the Enterprise in search of (what else?) an ancient artifact with which to conquer the galaxy. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and company are comfortable in their iconic roles, and the film (written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung) glides merrily through its paces. But it has no more urgency than a mid-season episode of a Trek TV show, and even less character development. If Lin’s keen visual sense were paired with a weightier, meatier story, he’d really be able to soar.
Director: Justin Lin
Producer: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Roberto Orci, Jeffrey Chernov, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Tommy Harper and Lindsey Weber
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Lydia Wilson, Joe Taslim and Shohreh Aghdashloo