This new "Star Trek" feels more like old "Star Trek" in the best possible way. The first movie in this rebooted series in 2009 did an excellent job of re-imagining these familiar characters and re-introducing them, but "Into Darkness" was an entertaining if unfortunate attempt to remake one of the best "Trek" movies. In "Beyond," we're back to the original vision of this series - exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations.
What I always loved about "Star Trek" is that with each episode, I never could imaging how the crew was gonna make it out of this particular catastrophe, and "Beyond" gave me the same exciting vibe.
When the Enterprise is taken down by a swarm, the crew winds up split up or captured with a villain called Krul played by Idris Elba ready to kill for what he wants.
Director Justin Lin takes over for J.J. Abrams who left to do "Star Wars." Lin from the "Fast and Furious" series is a far more capable action director than Abrams, and the tight script co-written by Scotty actor Simon Pegg leans heavily on character dynamics.
I love this cast, and it's a tricky thing they're having to do: impersonating the original cast and also adding something new. It's all fantastically fun, which is impressive because there's also a pall of sadness over the picture, with the recent death of Checkhov actor Anton Yelchin and the movie also pays tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy.
"Star Trek Beyond" isn't just for the die-hard Trekkies. It's a blast of thrilling action with just enough campy nostalgia. Oh, and it has maybe the most effective use of rock music I've seen in a while. It's almost August, but finally - a big summer movie that actually delivers. Better late than never.