This review was written by my Film Swappers partner, Chris Ranson. You can follow Chris on twitter @Wolverinefactor.

Star Trek Into DarknessTitle: Star Trek Into Darkness
Runtime: 132 minutes
Director: J.J. Abrams

Star Trek Into Darkness has done everything it could to make me think it was going to be terrible, from the cheesy title, to the pretty-but-boring ten-minute IMAX preview before The Hobbit. Yet, there I was on opening day, dropping $15 to see an IMAX 3D showing and placing the title at number 3 in my top 5 summer films I couldn’t wait for.

The film opens with the same ten-minutes that were shown before The Hobbit and let me just say, what happens afterwards is some great sci-fi fun. These scenes in 3D look awesome, as water drops in front of your eyes and things burn up all over. The 3D was a solid addition to the film, and while it isn’t Avatar quality, it really adds an extra layer to each scene, be it smoke rising around you or all kinds of particle effects fluttering in front of your eyes.

I can’t go too in-depth with the plot because I don’t want to ruin anything. The setup is that a very bad man blows up a Starfleet archive. I’ll stop there, and recommend that if you want to be spoiler-free – and trust me, you do – see this as soon as possible because the twists and turns are excellent. One particular twist even garnered large vocal reaction from the theatergoers.

When the film isn’t throwing classic stuff at you, it’s delivering a finely crafted set of characters that truly come to life here. Perhaps the only flaw is that you won’t get all of the relationships unless you’ve seen the original, 2009 reboot. The dialog is fun, the set pieces are excellent, and the action feels non-stop despite plenty of dialog-heavy moments.

The cast is all around great, with everyone from the 2009 reboot returning. What really helps bring the film beyond that typical summer action film is the music. Not since Gladiator have I been so enthralled with a film’s soundtrack. Every piece of music fits perfectly with the scenes, and brings some great tension to the action.

Star Trek Into Darkness delivers on every aspect of a summer action film, but also ups the ante for the rest of this year’s releases. What director J.J. Abrams has done here is not only successfully reboot a dead series, but also deliver a sequel that improves on everything the original had going on, which is very rare in cinema. This also gives me high hopes for what he will do with the Star Wars license and here’s hoping he stays on for the third Star Trek film.