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Doug's Take: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' is a crown jewel in the history of 'Star Trek'

Published: Thursday, May 16 2013 1:20 p.m. MDT

This undated publicity film image released by Paramount Pictures shows Chris Pine as Kirk, Zoe Saldana as Uhura and Zachary Quinto as Spock in a scene from the movie, This undated publicity film image released by Paramount Pictures shows Chris Pine as Kirk, Zoe Saldana as Uhura and Zachary Quinto as Spock in a scene from the movie, "Star Trek Into Darkness," from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Zade Rosenthal) (Zade Rosenthal, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

When the credits roll at the end of a highly anticipated film and you’re sitting there with a big smile on your face, that’s a good thing. That’s exactly what I experienced as the credits began to roll for “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

This is a film that delivers on every front. The performances are fantastic; the storyline riveting; the action so intense you have to remind yourself to breath; and the character interaction compelling and delightful.

This movie is simply too good to even risk spoilers, so I’ll just say that we have our typical, nearing reckless, heroism from Capt. James Kirk, again played by Chris Pine, who saves a planet, saves a friend and lands himself in hot water with superiors — pretty standard, really. But this time, he’s stripped of his command and only through the support of Bruce Greenwood as his mentor, Pike, does he get a second chance.

Alice Eve is Carol and Chris Pine is Kirk in "Star Trek Into Darkness." (Paramount Pictures) Alice Eve is Carol and Chris Pine is Kirk in "Star Trek Into Darkness." (Paramount Pictures)

There are two dubious evildoers in this film, and Kirk and crew end up battling both, one from among their ranks, the other a mysterious individual with almost superhuman capabilities. Both lead the crew of the Enterprise on a perilous mission into Klingon territory that could draw the Federation into all-out war.

At the helm of “Star Trek Into Darkness” is director J.J. Abrams who, like the characters in the film, dares to be bold and has enough confidence and respect for his audience that he can take us to places that are unexpected. His respect for all of the previous Star Trek efforts is obvious and admirable.

While all the performances are terrific, I do have to single out one. Benedict Cumberbatch as one of Kirk’s greatest adversaries is spectacular, delivering one of the most complex and contradictory characters ever. He’s brilliant.

Zachary Quinto is Spock, Benedict Cumberbatch is John Harrison and Chris Pine is Kirk in "Star Trek Into Darkness." (Paramount Pictures) Zachary Quinto is Spock, Benedict Cumberbatch is John Harrison and Chris Pine is Kirk in "Star Trek Into Darkness." (Paramount Pictures)

I know I’ve been vague when it comes to plot and even some of the character descriptions, but it’s by design. I don’t want to steal even a moment of this movie’s magic.

Here’s the bottom line: In a season that has delivered and still promises great movies, “Star Trek Into Darkness” will be a crown jewel. Four stars.

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