I wouldn't have minded the setup being stretched out over two movies if the ending of STXI hadn't pretended that the prologue is over and if there had actually happened something new before Pike's death. But let's not forget that the latter is structurally impossible, with the father figure still being around the protagonist cannot grow up and repeats his mistakes.
They should have watched more Star Wars, Obi-Wan dies in the first movie.
But let's be honest, seeing Greenwood again certainly more than off-sets this minor issue.
About Marcus, I fail to see the supposed moral ambiguity. The guy wants to start a war in order to gain more power and kills his own people to achieve this aim ... behind the moon! I was pretty shocked to see this and actually expected the battle to take place somewhere in deep space, far away from the eyes of the people on Earth.
So yeah, no ethical dilemma or whatever in the case of Marcus, he was clearly the bad guy. Which isn't a bad thing by the way, in the real world evil is rarely ambiguous or hard to notice either and many good Trek stories are fairly simple morality tales. This was after all also the intention of this flick so let's get to Kirk's speech.
I do not think that the story sketch was bad, just the execution (just concerning these themes, in general it felt that the story was pretty fluid, well done and superior to the story of the previous movie). There wasn't any focus on the mood in the Federation after the Nero incident (compare this to how much TUC delved into how various Feds actually tick!), anything about how the Klingons tick, anything about human awareness that it went too far in its past concerning genetic manipulation/enhancement.
I also don't mind Spock or Kirk being angry at Khan, I mind that this is not in harmony with (finally we get there) Kirk's speech in the end. The middle piece is missing. In TUC it was the scene in Rura Penthe when Kirk talks with McCoy and in FC it was Picard's Ahab scene. Not that you need that much but there has to be at least some indication that Kirk has reconsidered.
I don't see how your point that Kirk and Spock learn from each other to be more rigid about rules respectively follow your guts more often (don't get me wrong, I liked this mutual learning thing far better than in STXI) is related to Kirk's speech. Spock going berserk after Khan and thus saving Kirk's life certainly doesn't match what Kirk preaches: There will always be those who mean to do us harm. To stop them, we risk awakening the same evil within ourselves. Our first instinct is to seek revenge when those we love are taken from us. But that’s not who we are.
Well, no. Spock learned from Kirk to be more intuitive and from Khan that he has to unleash his emotions to become a better fighter and in this instance (inadvertently) save Kirk. And I do not think that Kirk has a problem with Spock having saved his life so his speech is bullsh*t.
The speech does not organically emerge from the story (this is a bit euphemistic, words and deeds do not match) and rather feels fake and mechanically added. "OK, what's next on our check list, Kirk gives an idealistic speech at the end". As I already said about STXI, it is not enough to gather many good ingredients for a good meal, you also gotta cook well. And, to be properly dialectic and extend a previous point, a good Trek story does not need a moral lesson or whatever in the end to be good.
It is as if Spock gave a lecture about the dangers of forced mind-melds in the end of TUC. I don't like to be bullshi*ted so how about the characters being honest and not disavowing the price they paid? While I am a hardcore proponent of Star Trek as an idealistic and optimistic sci-fi franchise I am also a bit of a Jacobin: sometimes you gotta fight fire with fire.
Marcus' actions were obviously wrong but once his genie was out of the bottle he and his genie (this is where Kirk erred, kinda like in Space Seed) had to be stopped at all costs. Messy situation that doesn't warrant simple moral conclusions like "revenge is bad" or whatever but common-sensical conclusions like "follow the law, do not commit treason, do not start a war if it can be avoided, if you are attacked by a dangerous enemy defend yourself like a crazy motherfu*ker at all costs (fight fire with fire / awake the same evil in yourself)".
Last edited by horatio : 09-10-2013 at 12:28 PM.