Star Trek Into Darkness is a 2013 American science fiction action film. It is the twelfth installment in the Star Trek film franchise and the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek. The film was directed by J. J. Abrams from a screenplay by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof based on the series of the same name created by Gene Roddenberry. Lindelof, Orci, Kurtzman and Abrams are also producers, with Bryan Burk. Chris Pine reprises his role as Captain James T. Kirk, with Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy, John Cho and Bruce Greenwood reprising their roles from the previous film. Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller and Alice Eve round out the film’s principal cast.
The plot of Into Darkness takes place one year after the previous installment, with Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise sent to the Klingon homeworld seeking former Starfleet member-turned-terrorist John Harrison. After the release of Star Trek, Abrams, Burk, Lindelof, Kurtzman, and Orci agreed to produce its sequel. Filming began in January 2012. Into Darkness‘ visual effects were primarily created by Industrial Light & Magic.
The film was converted to 3D in post-production. Star Trek Into Darkness premiered at Event Cinemas in Sydney, Australia on April 23, 2013, and was released on May 9 in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Peru, with other countries following. The film was released on May 16 in the United States and Canada, opening at IMAX cinemas a day earlier.
Into Darkness was a critical and commercial success, grossing more than $467 million worldwide making its international gross the highest of the Star Trek franchise.
In 2259, the starship USS Enterprise studies a primitive culture on the planet Nibiru. Captain James T. Kirk and First Officer Spock save the planet’s inhabitants from an extinction-inducing volcanic eruption, but Kirk violates the Prime Directive, exposing the Enterprise to the native inhabitants. Returning to Earth, Kirk loses command of the Enterprise and Admiral Pike is reinstated as its commanding officer with Kirk demoted to first officer and the rank of Commander. The two attend a meeting to discuss a Section 31 installation bombing in London, perpetrated by Starfleet officer John Harrison. Harrison attacks the meeting in a jumpship, killing Pike. Kirk disables the jumpship, but Harrison uses a portable transporter to escape to Kronos, the Klingon homeworld.
Admiral Marcus orders the Enterprise to kill Harrison, arming it with 72 prototype photon torpedoes, shielded and untraceable to sensors. En route to Kronos, the Enterprise suffers an unexpected coolant leak, disabling the ship’s warp capabilities. Kirk leads an away team with Spock and Uhura onto the planet, where they are ambushed by Klingon patrols. Harrison dispatches the Klingons, then surrenders after learning of the number of torpedoes locked on his location.
On the Enterprise, Dr. Leonard McCoy and Admiral Marcus’s daughter Carol Marcus open a torpedo at Harrison’s behest, revealing a man in cryogenic stasis. Harrison reveals his true identity as Khan, a genetically engineered superhuman awoken by Admiral Marcus from a 300-year suspended animation to develop advanced weapons for war against the Klingon Empire. Khan reveals Marcus sabotaged the Enterprise‘s warp drive, intending for the Klingons to destroy the ship after firing on Kronos, giving him a casus belli for war.
The Enterprise is intercepted by a larger Federation warship, the USS Vengeance, commanded by Marcus. Marcus demands that Kirk deliver Khan, but the Enterprise, with a hastily repaired warp drive, flees to Earth to expose Marcus. After the Vengeance intercepts and disables his ship, Kirk offers to exchange Khan and the cryogenic pods for the lives of his crew. Marcus forcibly transports Carol to the Vengeance and orders the Enterprise‘s destruction. The Vengeance suddenly loses power, having been sabotaged by Montgomery Scott, who infiltrated the ship after following coordinates relayed by Khan through Kirk. With transporters down, Kirk and Khan, with the latter’s knowledge of the warship’s design, space-jump to the Vengeance. Spock contacts his older self on New Vulcan, who in turn informs him that Khan cannot be trusted. After capturing the bridge, Khan overpowers Kirk, Scott, and Carol, killing Marcus and seizing control of the Vengeance.
Khan demands Spock to return his crew in exchange for the Enterprise officers. Spock complies but surreptitiously removes Khan’s frozen crew and arms the warheads. Khan betrays their agreement by critically damaging the Enterprise; however, the Vengeance is disabled following the detonation of the torpedoes. With both starships caught in Earth’s gravity, they plummet toward the surface. Kirk enters the radioactive reactor chamber to realign the warp core, saving the ship at the cost of his life.
Khan crashes the Vengeance into San Francisco in an attempt to destroy Starfleet headquarters. Khan survives the crash and flees but Spock transports down in pursuit. McCoy discovers that Khan’s blood has regenerative properties that may save Kirk. With Uhura’s help, Spock captures Khan and Kirk is revived.
One year later, Kirk addresses the rededication ceremony of the Enterprise and recalls the sacrifices made by the victims of Marcus’s machinations where he recites the “where no man has gone before” monologue. Khan is sealed in his cryogenic pod and stored with his crew while Carol joins the crew of a recommissioned Enterprise as it departs on a five-year exploratory mission.
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