Star Trek fans did a lot of phaser clutching back in 2008 when director J.J. Abrams said he wanted to make his iteration of Trek more like Star Wars. “All my smart friends liked Star Trek,” Abrams said at the time. “I preferred a more visceral experience.” For Star Trek Beyond, Abrams handed the keys over to director Justin Lin, and he took a more hands-off approach as producer. Of the three Star Trek movies under the Abrams banner, Beyond is the one most like a visceral Star Wars adventure.
Lin is most famous for the four Fast and Furious films he directed, and his gifts for staging adrenaline pumping action sequences are on full display here. He also directed two episodes of the cult sitcom Community, so Lin knows how to handle ensembles and comedy as well. Amidst all the action is a script by Simon Pegg – who also plays Chief Engineer Scotty – and Doug Jung that honors the ideals and ethos of Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. The end result is a movie that focuses more on the wow factor than it needs to, but is still immensely enjoyable because of it.