uhura: can't handle me

Spoiler-filled Into the Darkness reaction post


*Ahem* Now that that's off my chest, I loved the movie. I keep writing things and erasing them because my love cannot actually be textually rendered. WORDS. They are so inadequate. I keep trying to describe how Star Trek influenced my life, and I don't really even know where to start. I grew up in a small town. My mom got Born Again and banned a lot of TV shows that my friends watched. My parents -- and a lot of people in my community -- said things like, "black people are just different from us." And I was always skeptical of those statements, even when I was little, but Star Trek was my concrete evidence that the world didn't have to be like the place where I grew up. It taught me that inclusiveness was the highest goal of any society. At thrity-one, it's easy for me to be dismissive of pop culture and doubt whether TV shows really mean anything to people. But I know that when I was five, ten, fifteen years old and I didn't fit in and I didn't like the world I lived in, Star Trek gave me a window into some place better. It taught me to be curious about other things and other people, and I am happy beyond words to know that it has endured this long -- even if it's in a pretty different form than Gene Roddenberry's original vision.

1. Political commentary: I do understand why some fans feel that rebooted Star Trek is not "real" Star Trek. You wouldn't watch this movie to absorb lessons about idealism or interracial understanding. But, while my youthful self loved and needed the relentless moralizing in TOS, adult me finds that it gets in the way of story telling. I liked the compromise this film made. The commentary is there. The line about "becoming the evil we're trying to fight" resonated with me pretty deeply. I still remember what it was like to watch the Twin Towers crumble outside my bedroom window, and how horrified I was to know that we were reigning that same kind of terror down on Iraqi civilians in order to "protect" our country. Admiral Marcus struck me as a combination of Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush. The initial dilemma -- whether it was okay to kill John Harrison without a trial -- clearly references Anwar Al-alaki and the current debate on drones (and also one of the recent high school debate topics -- targeted klling of suspected terrorists is morally justified). The political commentary is there if you want it, but it's not so heavy-handed that it overwhelms the story, which I think is a good compromise between the old Star Trek and the new.

2. Carol Marcus: Holy shit, I want to know her story. She did not hesitate even for a second to try and take her father down. She is bad ass, complicated, and apparently now a part of the crew. BRING THE STORIES PLEASE.

3. Spock/Uhura: I felt uncertain about their relationship after the first movie -- not because I disliked Uhura, but because I wasn't sure that an emotionless person was ever going to fulfill her. I still have my doubts, but I'm a lot closer to believing now. Thank goodness someone in Hollywood gets that established relationships can be interesting. In just a few scenes, the writers conveyed a relationship that felt real and solid, like they're two people who have routines and go through shit and work out problems. I love that Spock thinks Uhura's anger is as frightening as a group of armed Klingons (and I want a story about how he knows that).

Sadly, I'm sure we're in for Uhura hate on the internetz because she fought with Spock on a mission. I do wish the writers had found a better time/place for that conversation, but I'm not sure where else they would have fit it in. I thought their argument added to the vibe of the crew as a big, slightly dysfunctional family, and I'm okay with it because the crew is young, and they all have learning to do. Arguing with your boyfriend while flying a ship is not as bad as half the shit Kirk pulled, but probably no one will hate on him.

4. The Prime Directive: I kind of agree with Kirk on this one -- letting a bunch of people worship a starship is not as bad as letting a bunch of people die. My heart broke for Spock; I knew exactly why he would risk everything to keep a planet alive. That said, I get the feeling that Kirk was pretty flippant about the risks of the mission, and lying to Starfleet Command was not the right thing to do. I'm glad that this universe offers consequences for violating the prime directive since TOS!Kirk and Picard seemed to get away with it all the time.

5.Ladiez: I could find causes for complaint, but where_no_woman exists to fix those things, so... I am reservedly pleased with the role of female characters in the film. Carol Marcus is a fascinating bad ass, and the story would have unfolded very differently without her presence. She makes me ask questions, which is the definition of a good character. Uhura's role was even better than I hoped for. In the first film, she got her moments early in the movie, and then she fretted a lot about Spock. In this film, her involvement directly altered the course of events several times. I loved how you could tell she was scared of the Klingons, but she volunteered to go talk to them anyway. She volunteered to beam down to fight Khan without even a second thought, and if she hadn't done that, Kirk would have died. She's a bad ass in lots of different ways, and that makes me happy.

I could keep going, but I think this is plenty for one post. Expect another one in not very long.

Visit where_no_woman for lady-centric discussion!
Lots of agreeing nodding here, and this:

Uhura's role was even better than I hoped for.


I liked Marcus, and I think we'll manage to bring Chapel in somehow!
I love your story about why ST means so much to you :)

Carol Marcus is in this? Innnnnnteresting. Did they conceive Kirk's son during this movie? Yay for bad-ass Uhura!!

...the crew as a big, slightly dysfunctional family...
Yup, that's it :)
Heh. I'm really torn about whether to see this or not. I'm sure it will be a big ol' adventure, but...I dunno. Too many car chases, too much like your standard Hollywood superhero thing. Then again, it took me three years to come around to accepting TNG, so maybe somewhere around 2016 I'll be OK with the reboot :D
YAY CAROL MARCUS! That was a nice surprise and I am so looking forward to reading all the stories about her.

I knew exactly why he would risk everything to keep a planet alive

Oh my god. I somehow hadn't made this connection for myself, but YES.