I don't see the first movie so much as a set up for a second, deeper movie. It was more of a hook. It grabbed the fans both old and new with an energetic tale. Now, the fans have more to look forward to. The flash and whiz-bang stuff is out of the way. The way is paved clear to do the Roddenberry-dogmatic tale that some other folks want to see.
I would love to state: "If this second Star Trek doesn't prove to be more of a feast for the brain this time around, I will withdraw my support for Star Trek in any incarnation forthwith."
But alas, I love Star Trek whether it's brainy, or brawny, or somewhere in between. So, the above statement would simply be hot-winded felgercarb. Why? Because I am a Star Trek fan. Star Trek means much to me, whether it be profound, epic, simple, or whatever. Heady stories? Check. Beautiful babes? Check. Starship porn? Check. Space battles? Check. See.....Star Trek has it all.
The whole "writers said they gave everything they had" with the first movie sounds a little taken out of context to me. They may have given everything they had at the time of writing that film. A new film on the way....those creative energies are likely going to be restored. They'll likely give everything they have in writing the second film as well.
Besides, how many times have we heard "Ah'm gi'in all ah got, Cap'n!" only to find out the next time that once again, Scotty was "gi'in her all ah got"?
As Canadianrosey pointed out, Star Trek became a cash cow LONG before Trek 09 was even conceived. Hell, it became a cash cow well before DS9 was ever conceived.
With today's budget vs. returns, anything less than blockbuster level Star Trek will likely kill the franchise as a viable "big screen" contender. Trek's wisest move would be to go back to episodic television, where the kinds of stories that certain Trek fans wish to see can be told.
This all goes back to how I'm sure a lot of folks who turned out to see the first new movie had some sense of morbid curiosity to see if this was going to be another over-hyped movie like First Contact or Insurrection, (pandering to the nerd crowd) or whether the movie could live up to the trailer. Indeed, it did live up to it, and gave old and new fans a wild ride for their movie going dollars. Old fans were emboldened. New fans were gained. And Star Trek was alive and well....with the prospect now of two more films.
To me, First Contact fell flat on its face (even though it did do decently at the box-office). It was hyped up to be an all-out action flick. (Even Jonathan Frakes said this was to be an all-out action movie.) Well, it was nothing of the sort. It blew its wad in the first twenty minutes of the movie, and then droned on. A good story to be sure, but it was not what I was expecting from the trailers. It was, at best, a good Next Generation episode.
Nemesis at least was pretty much an all-out action flick, as shown in the trailers, albeit, a poorly executed one that split the fan base almost cleanly down the middle. Even though I loved Nemesis, I was pretty much done with Next Generation based movies after that, even if it was the final film for the TNG crew.
Star Trek 09 delivered. A good story, great visuals, lots of action....and characters one could easily be endeared to.