1. Okay, now this is more like it.
2. We mostly appreciated the 2009 Star Trek reboot, though looking back we may have been grading on a generous curve. We barely tolerated 2013's trainwreck Star Trek Into Darkness.
3. Amazing what can happen when you get J.J. Abrams out of the director's chair. Did we say that out loud? JJ has said in interviews he grew up a Star Wars fan and it shows: The Force Awakens strikes the right Star Wars mood and shines as a labor of love, while his two Star Trek movies mistake giant spectacle to the small character work and big questions that makes Star Trek special.
4. But what is the deal with the ongoing obsession with destroying the Enterprise on film? The Enterprise name is by now practically cursed.
5. Suggesting that the famous five-year mission might grow boring felt very fresh. Why wouldn't it be boring? You can't run into Klingons, Tribbles, or green-skinned Orion girls on every shift.
6. We're not sure what to make of Karl Urban, the only actor who's doing a mimic job. Yeah, his Dr. McCoy sounds just like DeForest Kelley, which is amusing... but shouldn't he sort of try to make it his own? It feels too much like a bit.
7. As with any good ensemble caper story, all of the characters here get to contribute to the solution and take action to save each other. No one's left behind, sitting around, opening hailing frequencies or scanning for delta particles. It's a fun, fun movie mostly because of this element.
8. But we really do need more of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy working together. These movies still find ways to keep them apart. They tell everyone how close they are, sure, but we'd like to see that for ourselves.
9. We were mostly unimpressed with the villain Krall (shades of Star Trek's limp, inscrutable Nero) until the final twist. In fact, we were surprised by a couple of story turns.
10. Bonus points for Kirk tearing his shirt.
11. Ditto the retro alien planet that looked like the California desert with some spray-painted rocks.
12. The "Sabotage" scene is a real crowd-pleaser. Goose bumps.
13. But our favorite was the sequence inside (and outside) the crashed ship. The 11-year-old version of ourself would have loved that.
14. How much do you think it cost to build that Yorktown space station? And how long did it take? These are the things we ask ourselves. An amazing visual, but it was like seven Manhattan islands all strung together... in space.
15. Looking forward to the next one.