The shortest answer to paragraph 1 would be about five words long.
'It was called Star Trek'.
I do understand your refusal to believe that this film was in any way a risk but that doesn't ultimately alter the fact it was. Since those two words had no real strength to them by that point and someone was either going to have to shoot it in the arm with something (and yes I realise this is merely a fresh extension of the previous thread's discussion but since we seem doomed to a cycle around it may as well do it all again) or leave it alone for a lot longer.
Even 'playing it safe' guaranteed little at the outset because of the generally tarnished nature of the brand in the wider sense of the word. It also seems to have 'tasted' just fine to many a fan, since we're not talking about universal dislike for it WITHIN fandom both older and newer either, so the film still seems to be about the same reception-wise as the rest.
Some liked it, some didn't, some were 'meh' on it.
'If the Apocalypse starts, beep me!' - Buffy Summers
'The sky's the limit.....' Jean-Luc Picard, 'All Good Things'
courtesy of Saquist