Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
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So they revealed the whole 'Who is the villain of Star Trek, Into Darkness'. Here's yet another opinion (Spoilers).

Okay, so obviously I'm talking about the early reviews of Into Darkness. Annnnnd obviously that means I'm going to spoil it. If that's a concern, just stay away from this comment. For those of us who know, well, it's not a dead horse yet, so let's give it a smack.

Alright, still with me? Good. Let's talk. So surprise surprise, the big surprise is... well, exactly who we all sort of guessed. Expected even. So we're doing Khan again. I want to post my general rant against the (tiresome) schtick that 'This is the Nu Trek! It's sexy and actiony and SCREW long diatribes on politics because 'SPLOSIONS ARE COOLER!', but this 'reveal' basically neatly encapsulates what I want to blather about here. This reveal? This is why I have never liked J.J. Abrams stuff. Because there is definitely a theme recurring in his work here that, once you scratch the coating off whatever it is he's doing (whether an homage to Spielberg fare, a weird, wannabe-Fincher-esque serial drama like 'Lost' or this re-imagining of Roddenberry's 'Great Bird'—you always seem to find a hollow shell. 'All flash, no bang', to ruthlessly steal a phrase from Cash in the ancient (month old) threads.

I'll give him this: He knows how to play a game. All the actors puppeting tired lines about being sworn to double-dog-dare secrecy, refusing to reveal the identity of the villain yet managing to remind us all that it's a secret in every single one. Making sure little details are included that ultimately lead nowhere. Rather like in Super 8 and it's reveal in the 'monster'—show us the damage it inflicts, generate buzz, without giving away anything at all. It's marketing 101, really. My problem is that the trick is only interesting when the payoff is worth a damn. Lost never really meant anything, and indeed didn't even suggest anything interesting. The Super 8 monster as it turns out was pretty forgettable. And the big reveal for into Darkness is the first villain that jumped into literally every person's head when they heard it was a secret. No one is shocked—and I doubt that many well be shocked heading into theaters. Wow, it's Khan! The one bad guy in Star Trek the average non-fan even has a chance of naming!

But that isn't in and of itself really a problem for me, personally. What is the problem is the question in the back of my mind: Why? I find myself siding with Charlie Jane; if we want to distance Nu Trek from Trek, why re-use a classic villain at all? What's to be gained, story-telling wise, from dropping that little reference that you couldn't just build yourself in a new story, with a new character (and from what I've read of impressions of people who've seen it, I'd venture to say 'not much'). It's half-hearted pandering. More to the point, if the reveal is in fact, the most obvious answer, then why even bother with the secrecy outside of sheer manipulation?

The best part of all this is the supposed request to early reviewers to keep the identity a secret. It almost comes across like a Magician botching a trick on stage and then taking a bow afterwards. Tada! The man is actually KHAN!

Aren't you fucking amazed!?


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