STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (USA/12A/132mins)
Directed by J.J. Abrams. Starring Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Alice Eve, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Peter Weller, Bruce Greenwood, Nolan North.
THE VERDICT: Say what you like about the big, fat corporate branding being force-fed to us by the major studios, when it comes to big, fat entertaining franchise movies, dang, it seems to be working. Last week's Iron Man 3 was a giddy blast, and now, along comes the second of the rebooted Star Trek outings - and it might just be one of the year's finest films. J.J. Abrams once again sets his phaser to stun. And he does. Magnificently.
There's hardly time to breathe with In Darkness before you're hit with another thrill-ride, well-crafted quip or that all-important emotional punch - think Skyfall with holograms on. The alien-goes-to-Eton look of Benedict Cumberbatch makes for one delicious villain, whilst Pine, Quinto and the gang settle ever deeper into the roles they seem destined to play. Even the stock-character comedy accents of Yelchin (as Russian Tactical Officer Chekhov) and Pegg (as Scottish engineer Scotty) can't quite derail the sci-fi fantasy fun here. MajQa'.
Review by Paul Byrne