What the critics are saying about Star Trek Beyond

Reviews for Justin Lin's much-anticipated Star Trek threequel, Star Trek Beyond, are already coming in, and a consensus for the 13th film in the long-running franchise has started to emerge. Is it worth heading to theaters to watch the Enterprise's latest adventure? We've rounded up what some top critics have to say in order to give you a more detailed look before you decide whether to head to the theaters this weekend.

Variety

Owen Gleiberman of Variety seems barely mixed-positive on the movie overall. Despite a few strong sequences here and there, Gleiberman felt that Star Trek Beyond didn't really do much to move the franchise in a new direction. "To say that the movie fails to break new ground would be putting it mildly," he writes. "[It] doesn't so much advance the Trek cosmology as keep it running in place … Star Trek Beyond is a somewhat diverting place holder, but one hopes that the next Star Trek movie will have what it takes to boldly go where no Star Trek movie has gone before."

The Hollywood Reporter

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter is more positive, calling it "welcome relief from a summer of stale popcorn." Picking up from J.J. Abrams' arguably disappointing Star Trek Into Darkness, Rooney writes that Star Trek Beyond "regains momentum, and not just in the obvious area of its muscular action set-pieces. The script injects a welcome strain of humor that's true to the original Gene Roddenberry creation, delivering nostalgia without stiff veneration."

Rooney has some reservations for Lin, whom he says "directs with his foot often jammed on the accelerator, careening from one physical or aerial clash to the next where the densely packed movie could sometimes stand to take a breath." Still, he claims that the "pacing, structure and crescendos of suspense are assured." Conceding that the end result "isn't without confusing elements," he adds, "as warmongering intergalactic blitzes go, it's coherent enough"—which may go down as the most back-handed compliment in Trek review history. "While Beyond won't unseat 1982's thrilling The Wrath of Khan as the gold standard for Star Trek movies," Rooney concludes, "It's a highly entertaining entry guaranteed to give the franchise continuing life." Hey—we'll take it.

Entertainment Weekly

Falling firmly in the "mixed" category is Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly, who gave Star Trek Beyond a C rating for being "more fun than deep." "It's lightweight, zero-gravity Trek that is, for the most part, devoid of the sort of Big Ideas and knotty existential questions that creator Gene Roddenberry specialized in," he writes.

Nashawaty also has mixed thoughts on the direction by Lin and the script by co-written by star Simon Pegg. While serviceable, Nashawaty writes that the film is missing soul and feels "slightly insubstantial" in both areas. "I don't want to sound too nit-picky and churlish," he writes. "But the Trekverse is something that really means something to people. For them, Beyond is a fine movie, it's just not a very good Star Trek movie … With Beyond, [the Trek franchise] feels like just another summer tentpole with not enough going on underneath the tent."

The Wrap

Writing for The Wrap, Russ Fischer writes that Star Trek Beyond may not be the best film in the series, but that doesn't mean it's by any means terrible. "Without a TV series to bridge long gaps between movies, each new Trek film has shouldered the burden of being many things to a large and varied fanbase," he writes. "Star Trek Beyond forges a path right down the middle of the franchise's well-defined lane, playing more like a greatest-hits compilation than anything new. Given the various low points in the 13-film series, that's not a bad thing."

"This episode cuts right to the core of the series' original appeal, giving the terrific cast a chance to play against one another in a straightforward story," Fischer adds. "It's not exactly bold, but Beyond does satisfy." Considering how "meh" some people felt about Star Trek Into Darkness, that doesn't sound terrible at all.

indieWIRE

Eric Kohn of indieWIRE argues that Star Trek Beyond may be the big-screen equivalent of the TV show Seinfeld. "Spectacular as it looks, this is a $150 million blockbuster about nothing," he writes. "While Star Trek Beyond lacks a center, it compensates with an endless parade of distractions. When the movie moves along at a breezy clip, it's partly because it feels so purposeless.

"Nothing about this polished movie suggests the slightest attempt to reinvent the wheel," Kohn continues in his B- review. "If Star Trek Beyond existed outside the arena of reboots and sequels that mandated its existence, the movie's casual air might be downright radical for such an extensive production. Instead, it's just a sturdy riff on the same old routine." Hmm. Not great.

Forbes

Picking up on the argument that Star Trek Beyond is mostly about nothing is Scott Mendelson of Forbes. "The picture is filled with enjoyable characters and occasionally sharp dialogue, and a couple solid action scenes. It looked great in glorious IMAX 2D. For many that will be enough," he writes. "But it spends too much time literally and metaphorically stranded. Beyond whether or not Kirk 'finds his smile,' the movie really isn't about anything of note. Star Trek Beyond sadly upholds that old 'even/odd' rule for Star Trek cinematic universe. Or maybe it's just the unlucky 13th installment."

The Guardian

In his three-star review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw claims that Star Trek Beyond "doesn't go that far beyond what we might expect: a very decent, watchable franchise episode which is marooned for quite a long time on a distant rocky planet."

Bradshaw seems high on the film's cast, however, praising Chris Pine's "easy charm and authority" and adding that "the bantering relationship between Karl Urban and Quinto is, as ever, very enjoyable," as well as the "strong performance" from newcomer Sofia Boutella, who plays the Jennifer Lawrence-inspired Jaylah.

"This new movie could arguably have given [Idris Elba] more to do, earlier in the picture, but it is the inter-relationship of the Enterprise's crew which is the real source of drama," Bradshaw concludes. "An entertaining adventure." So there you have it.