The Super Bowl ad for "Star Trek Into Darkness," the upcoming sequel from director J.J. Abrams, packs more villainy, despair and explosions into 30 seconds than most sci-fi action films do in their entire running time.
Benedict Cumberbatch continues to bring an egomaniacal "Sherlock" spin to his still-unidentified bad guy character (he's labeled as "John Harrison” in publicity stills, but there’s got to be more to that story), bookended by shots of things going boom as he faces off with Captain Kirk. "I'm better," he claims. "At what?" Kirk asks. "Everything," he responds, which officially gives the crew of the Enterprise an enemy who can match their captain in perhaps his most formidable asset (and weakness): his pride.
Watch the Super Bowl spot for 'Star Trek Into Darkness':
Speaking of the Enterprise, we see it in all sorts of fiery disarray, seemingly plummeting in complete out-of-control free-fall toward the Earth (a sight made all the more harrowing by Alice Eve's Dr. Carol Marcus screaming like she's in a horror movie). We assume this might be the official pre-show to one of the most striking images of the teaser trailer, which is indeed repeated here: the mighty ship crashing into what looks like San Francisco Bay.
The spot also gives a hint at the story (the Earth-bound aspects of it, anyway) having a much more global scope than perhaps just being limited to San Francisco, as the very first shot shows us buildings displaying the British flag.
That's pretty much all that's new here, with images of destruction and mayhem intercut with the occasional kiss (the Uhura/Spock smooch is lingered on a tad longer than in the trailer) and Cumberbatch glaring with arrogant glee, instigating his deadly yet still mysterious game with a suave "Shall we begin?" Oh, Mr. Abrams -- you do like your secrets.
"Star Trek Into Darkness" opens May 17, which, thankfully, is actually getting quite close.