Star Trek Beyond ★★½

One early satisfying action sequence involving the destruction of the Enterprise suggests that director Lin might have been a good choice for this franchise, but what follows delivers neither on the promise of that early cinematic thrill ride nor residual goodwill toward this cast. Part of the problem is that checking in with these characters every few years is hardly often enough to build rapport, but another part is that there are so many characters that each gets one obligatory subplot here, lending the feeling that the cast is punching a clock rather than inhabiting roles. Not helping matters is a sketchily drawn space vampire villain (Idris Elba), who is neither threatening nor inventive. Better than its predecessor, but still a pale imitation of the original series that it keeps invoking as a creative crutch.