*** out of four
This third installment of the “new” Star Trek movies doesn't bring anything new to the franchise and eschews an intelligent science fiction story in favor of wall-to-wall action, but it is solid escapist fare.
Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the USS Enterprise think they are on a rescue mission, but it turns out to be an elaborate trap. Kirk and company find themselves stranded on a planet ruled by the psychopathic Krall (Idris Elba). Kirk and Chekov (the late Anton Yelchin) find themselves being led around by the untrustworthy alien Kalara (Lydia Wilson) while 'Scotty' (Simon Pegg) befriends bad ass warrior alien Jaylah (Sofia Boutella). Meanwhile, McCoy (Karl Urban) and a wounded Spock (Zachary Quinto) seek shelter on the hostile planet. They all must rescue the captured Uhura (Zoe Saldana), retrieve a doomsday device, then get the hell off the planet.
The big chase finale is pretty suspenseful and some of the amped up action is exhilarating. However, this is directed by Justin Lin, who helmed four of the Fast and the Furious films, and he often employs quick cutting and shaky, hand-held cameras, so occasionally it's hard to decipher the action.
While it is intriguing that Beyond touches on the unfair treatment of war veterans, it rehashes the terrorist plot of the previous movie, Into Darkness, which seems like lazy writing.
Beyond is an entertaining two-hours but nothing more.