‘Star Trek Beyond’ Critical Roundup: Reviews Praise Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious Take on the Space Franchise

The film arrives in theaters on July 22.
Star Trek Beyond
"Star Trek Beyond"
Paramount Pictures

Star Trek Beyond,” the third installment of the J.J. Abrams-produced franchise, is directed by Justin Lin and promises to be jammed packed with adventure. This time around, the Enterprise crew is attacked by powerful unknown aliens, leaving them stranded on a new planet. The first reviews of the action flick have been released and overall seem to be earning generally positive reactions. Here is what the critics had to say.

IndieWire’s Eric Kohn gave the film a B-, calling it “a spectacular movie about nothing.” He appreciates Lin’s work, but overall felt like the script lacked excitement in the plot. “There’s an odd disconnect between the movie’s undercooked conflict and its epic scale, to the point where it barely exists as more than a series of flashy moments. But its trivial qualities come as something of a relief — this is a movie engineered to avoid overextending its allure, which differs greatly from so many of its summer movie peers that do exactly that.”

READ MORE: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Review: A Spectacular Movie About Nothing

Owen Gleiberman of Variety writes that “Lin brings his bravura action energy and a certain nostalgic flair to the ‘Star Trek’ series, even as he unboldly goes where too many have gone before.” He says the movie fails to break new ground but it still gets the job done. “It’s a sturdily built movie that gets the job done, and it’s got a likable retro vibe: The fact that Kirk and his crew spend a good part of the film stranded, without recourse, gives ‘Star Trek Beyond’ a wide-eyed, slightly clunky analog stasis that takes us right back to the spirit of the TV series,” he explains. “Like the show, it lets us share quality time with cast members who now seem like old friends.”

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter agrees with the previous critics about what a great job Lin has done directing the action sequences: “With ‘Fast & Furious’ veteran Justin Lin stepping in as director, the third reboot installment, Star Trek Beyond, regains momentum, and not just in the obvious area of its muscular action set pieces. The script injects a welcome strain of humor that’s true to the original Gene Roddenberry creation, delivering nostalgia without stiff veneration.”

READ MORE: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Clip Shows Off New Space-Set Action Sequences

“Revamped Enterprise team and its new director cut right to the core of the series’ original appeal,” writes The Wrap’s Russ Fischer. “‘Star Trek Beyond’ forges a path right down the middle of the franchise’s well-defined lane, playing more like a greatest-hits compilation than anything new…This episode cuts right to the core of the series’ original appeal, giving the terrific cast a chance to play against one another in a straightforward story. It’s not exactly bold, but ‘Beyond’ does satisfy.”

One trekkie that wasn’t satisfied with the film was Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty, who was wanting more action. Giving it a C+ he wrote: “If you’re looking for a witty workplace sitcom set on a futuristic starship, the latest exploits featuring the crew of the Enterprise, ‘Star Trek Beyond,’ won’t disappoint. But it has to be asked: Is that really why most of us go to see a ‘Star Trek’ film?…‘Beyond’ is more fun than deep. It’s lightweight, zero-gravity Trek that is, for the most part, devoid of the sort of Big Ideas and knotty existential questions that creator Gene Roddenberry specialized in…. As summer releases have gotten more and more and sensational and trivial, the Trek franchise could always be counted on to serve up some smarts along with its sci-fi action beats. With ‘Beyond,’ it feels like just another summer tentpole with not enough going on underneath the tent.”

“Star Trek Beyond” arrives in theaters on July 22.

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