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Star Trek Into Darkness

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Star Trek Into Darkness Movie Poster Image
Action-packed Star Trek sequel has good story, characters.
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 132 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 52 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The characters have many discussions about following the rules versus doing the right thing, coming to the conclusion that there's sometimes no easy answer. Characters also exhibit trust and teamwork, working extremely well together. The importance of friendship is a key theme of the movie.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters (a diverse bunch) are better as a team than they are as individuals. Separately, they're cocky, argumentative, inflexible, or just plain goofy. Yet they're all trying to do the right thing ... they just have their own individual ideas about what that is.


Lots of sci-fi and fantasy violence and fighting. The bad guy blows up an archive building and attacks a meeting of high-ranking officials in a hail of weapons fire. An important supporting character dies, with some blood. Characters get sucked out of their ships into space. A character's skull is crushed (off screen, but crunching noises are heard); another's leg is deliberately broken when someone steps on it. A great deal of fighting, punching, and spaceships shooting at one another. Massive, destructive crashes and explosions. A character gets radiation poisoning. A volcano threatens a planet.


The main character is shown in bed with two alien girls. No nudity is shown, and nothing happens on screen; he just climbs out of bed, and the girls are seen to be there with him. A female character changes her clothes, and she's shown in her (deliberately sexy) underwear. Some flirting and kissing.


Language is infrequent but includes a couple uses of "s--t," plus "bitch," "ass," "hell," "damn," "oh my God," and "bastard."


Budweiser is seen in the movie, and off-screen licensing/marketing deals include a Budweiser promotion and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character is seen drinking (hard liquor) in a bar after getting some bad news. He gets a bit tipsy.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Star Trek Into Darkness is the 12th Star Trek movie overall, and the second installment in director J.J. Abrams' big-budget series reboot. The biggest issue is sci-fi/fantasy violence, with lots of punching, fighting, and shooting, a little blood (though not much), and some deaths (including an important supporting character). It's more exciting than it is intense. The main character (Chris Pine) is shown getting out of a bed he's shared with two alien girls, and there's a sexy underwear scene with a female co-star. Language is infrequent but includes a couple of uses of "s--t." The main character is seen drinking in one scene after getting some bad news. As in the first one, the Trek team comes together to do the right thing, no matter how difficult that may be.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17, 17, 17, 17, and 17 year old Written bySmaug l. April 13, 2017


Dat Khan tho
Parent of a 12 and 16 year old Written bymiclaymon August 2, 2016

Violent sequel that wanders from the meaning of the franchise

The film's main antagonist is a violent terrorist who seems unaffected about hurting or killing other people. Antagonists repeatedly double-cross, protago... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byLogical_Vulcan December 28, 2018


JJ Abrams is a good director. His best attributes have to be his attention to detail, intricacies in characters, and intense suspense.
This makes him a great... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byrexington91 May 4, 2018

Good movie, extreme violence

Overall, this movie is very good. At the discretion of parents, I would not allow a kid to watch this movie until they are AT LEAST 14.
The violence is extreme... Continue reading

What's the story?

In STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) gets into trouble by breaking the rules in order to save Spock's (Zachary Quinto) life. But when a madman (Benedict Cumberbatch) attacks an archive facility on Earth, Kirk and the old crew -- including Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), and newcomer Carol (Alice Eve) -- get a new mission: Destroy the villain. Then Spock convinces Kirk to capture him instead, which leads to all kinds of new trouble. And Kirk learns that no one can be trusted until he and the crew of the Enterprise learn the secret behind their deadly prisoner.

Is it any good?

Director J.J. Abrams, despite his massive popularity and success, shows some flaws with uneven pacing in this movie, pitching moods and scenes too high and letting things drag on too long. And his idea of "style" seems to be camera-shaking and lens flares (the latter of which was once considered a mistake in moviemaking and was only implemented in the 1960s for effect).

And while Pine's blue-eyed, pretty boy rebel character has little to do with the original Captain Kirk, the rest of the characters thankfully seem to tune in to their classic counterparts, and their performances and line readings can be great fun. Likewise, Star Trek Into Darkness has a good, enthralling story at its core and some strong ideas buried beneath the empty style that eventually win the day.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Star Trek Into Darknessviolence. Does it ever feel over the top? Is it exciting or gruesome? Which do you think it's intended to be? Why?

  • What's the difference between following the rules and doing the right thing? Is there a simple answer to this problem?

  • How do the characters show teamwork? In what scenes do characters help each other? Why is teamwork an important character strength?

  • Why do you think Star Trek has such enduring appeal? What makes people become such faithful fans? How does the reboot compare to the older movies and TV shows?

Movie details

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