Rebooting/continuing the Star Trek franchise was never going to be easy.
What were they supposed to do? Make a movie based on the flop series Enterprise? Invent a brand new Star Trek crew, give them their own movie and hope for the best? Give one of the old crews their weight in gold to stick around and continue making Star Trek movies?
With J.J. Abrams onboard, in the end the goal became to restart the franchise with the Original Series crew, except with a brand new, younger cast, tons of action, state of the art special effects and try to somehow create a parallel timeline within the film itself in order to keep things fresh and avoid remaking the old show and the old movies shot-for-shot.
Probably the only logical approach, but still pretty risky.
The result was an epic, expensive blockbuster with enough action to keep even the most reluctant viewers entertained. An origins story, we got to see Kirk and co.'s pre-Enterprise days and their earliest of missions which apparently involved time-travel, Spock's planet exploding, an Eric Bana Romulan and a pretty intense Spock/Kirk rivalry. The characters we all know and love are portrayed by a young cast which does extremely well to portray the iconic crew without going for obvious impressions. Chris Pine impressively nails Shatner's Kirk without imitating Shatner, capturing the essence of the character while adding his own unique take. Zachary Quinto is much less convincing as Spock in that he's probably more angry and evil-looking than he probably should be. Besides, why would you let Sylar run your ship? That's just goofy. Simon Pegg attempts a cartoon Scottish accent as Scotty and tries a little too hard, his accent occasionally falling back into English, his jokes a little too broad and his alien sidekick/lover completely pointless. Karl Urban's McCoy is fun, Anton Yelchin's Chekov also, John Cho's Sulu is not bad and Zoe Saldana makes a decent Uhura but is given a controversial relationship with Spock which Trekkies will either hate or REALLY hate.
That's the thing, the film tries super hard to create a new timeline and change what we know about the early days of the crew as much as possible but also makes a point of trying to convince us that this story really does fit in with the old stuff, which honestly it mostly doesn't. This is actually what was always annoying about this movie: its premise feels too much like a two-dimensional gimmick to reboot the franchise and that's just distracting. Remember Star Trek: Generations? Yeah, that was another gimmicky one. You spend way too much time, as a viewer, trying to make everything fit rather than focusing on the new story at hand. The plot in question is the film's big problem: it's not really involving and although you stay relatively interested throughout because you're curious to see how they're going to make it work in the end, chances are you'll lose interest. Bana's villain is also far from memorable, even Star Trek: Nemesis' Picard clone was a far better rival! That said, the action sequences are enjoyable, the film is visually stunning, the cast does a surprisingly good job, there's a cool Leonard Nimoy cameo, and J.J. Abrams gives the whole thing enough charm to make it work.
While not the best Star Trek film around, this Star Trek is decent enough movie. It'll piss off Trekkies a little in places but if you're just in it to see a fun sci-fi flick then you'll enjoy it. You do feel like there's an amazing Trek film in there somewhere but it just needs a better plot to bring it out.
Overall, not bad, certainly worth a watch: it's an entertaining, great-looking, if slightly underwhelming movie. It won't blow your mind but you'll have fun.
A decent enough restart.