A fair criticism of Star Trek the Motion Picture (or Star Trek 1) is that it feels more like an overlong episode than a feature movie. The vistas are epic enough, but the plot is only deserving of an episode.
I would apply the same criticism to the new reboot of Star Trek. It deals heavily with the back story of the new cast, but as plots go, it is not epic. It is not even grand — it mainly occurs in the last thirty minutes of the movie. But for new reboot of Star Trek, I would not stop the criticism there.
Given the apparent age of the actors and the gist of the plot, the Enterprise should bear the serial number NCC-90210. It’s a little beyond the pale (and labelled as absurd by other reviewers) that 20-something young adults would be given command of a starship for any reason, let alone the razor thin justification of the first movie. Even given that gift, the narrative for the second movie fails because Kirk is still captain — with any small amount of sober thought, a too-young field-promoted captain would be replaced by a more appropriate candidate at the earliest opportunity.
The story surrounding the original series Kirk was that at 30, he was the fleet’s youngest captain after a series of unbelievable acts. Still to command the flagship is somewhat of a stretch, but some dramatic license is in order. There is a certain amount of maturity, experience and authority required in a captain, and these qualities are all at odds with youth.
I remember sincerely believing that I could command the enterprise when I was 20. I realize now, at 40, how silly that notion was. Just the simple skill of diplomacy, which is eminently required of an Enterprise captain, is the only example needed to show this.
I’m not a fan of the NCC-90210. I tolerate it because it’s Star Trek, but I neither look forward to it nor give it consideration between installments.