By Matt Singer | Criticwire May 2, 2013 at 5:53PM
Red alert, "Star Trek" fans. Today is the stardate when the "Star Trek Into Darkness" review embargo lifted, which means we're getting our first fuller look at the critical reaction to J.J. Abrams' follow-up to his well-liked "Star Trek" reboot from 2009. This installment, which once again stars Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Mister Spock, and Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, sees the Enterprise crew facing off against The Villain Who Shall Not Be Named (played by "Sherlock" star Benedict Cumberbatch). Plus, also: darkness. And they go into it and stuff.
Speaking of stardates: is there a dating site for single "Trek" fans called StarDate.com? If not, why not? Do I have to think of everything people? C'mon!
And now to boldly go where only the U.K. press, junketeers, and select bloggers have gone before: into the first full wave of "Star Trek Into Darkness" reviews. They're arranged alphabetically by author, so you'll see the good (of which there are many) mixed with the bad (of which there are a few; if you're most interested in those, that'd be Coming Soon's Silas Lesnick and Ain't It Cool's Jeremy Smith, primarily). There's certainly no spoilers in any of my excerpts, but once you leave the safe, nurturing confines of Criticwire, all bets are off. "Star Trek Into Darkness" opens in U.S. theaters on May 17.
"An entertaining, epic sequel that takes sci-fi to new heights in terms of scope and scale and quality. I wish I could watch it again now."
"A brisk, no-nonsense sci-fi action sequel."
"A large portion of 'Star Trek''s audience may well be satisfied by a film that amounts to not much more than an incredibly pretty and sporadically funny in-joke. But think back to the corny romance of that original mission statement, recited by William Shatner on many a rainy school night. Strange new worlds. New life. New civilizations. Boldly going where no man has gone before. That pioneer spirit? It's gone."
"A thematically rich and visually thrilling instalment that delivers the perfect blend of originality and nostalgia."
"The 'Star Trek Into Darkness' roller coaster will get you gasping and being with our beloved Starfleet pals again will make you laugh and cry. It's when you start unraveling the script that you may need your deflector shields."
"This is a 'Star Trek' film designed for audiences distracted by shiny objects. Die hard fans -- and the moviegoing public in general -- deserve better than this shameful franchise entry."
"Mostly, this is fantastic fun: a two-hours-plus blockbuster that doesn’t bog down in exposition or sag in the middle."
"This is spectacle on a grand scale with some very satisfying moments."
"'STID' isn't a perfect film. I don't suppose there even is such a thing. But it is very, very good."
"Wavers entertainingly between the silly and the Shakespearean."
"An astute, if more world-weary, take on the sci-fi legend."
"I'm still waiting for this new Trek series to get a story that feels intuitive, not grindingly complicated. But I'm still happy if this is what we get while we wait."
"The plot moves along so quickly, that that these kinds of questions [about the plot] are only things that are thought about after the movie is over."
"The problem is right there in the title: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' insists on its own weightiness."
"For two hours at the AMC Century City, I forgot about everything outside the theater. I was transported to another time and place, and I loved every second of the adventure."