Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ★★★½

While I grew up on Next Generation (which sorry folks doesn't actually hold up as some great misremembered show—it's perfunctorily adequate), this was my first exposure to Kirk/Spock team outside of pop culture and the two Abrams films. What's apparent from the opening is this is a slow paced and thoughtful film, not interested in rushing into any action. Just take a look at the scene in which Bones visits Kirk for his birthday—Meyer lingers out the pauses, and prefers the quiet master shot over the busy close-up (compare this to any shot in Darkness). Much more indebted to submarine films than science fiction, the film is decidedly awkward and dated, but I liked the sort of existential weight of this all—aka CHARACTER STAKES as opposed to the physical but irrelevant stakes of previously mentioned abomination. Everything that happens in this film related to action actually comes back to effect Kirk on a personal level, as he contemplates his own loss of youth. Lots of small issues (acting varies, effects can't compare to other 82 works, and the slowness buries a few scenes in tedium), but certainly the most poignant text of the Star Trek franchise I've encountered.