Into Darknes

After Iron Man 3, the biggest event of tonight’s Super Bowl schedule was undoubtedly the release of the new Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, which did an incredible job of tightening every Star Trek fan’s excitement for the upcoming sequel.

It might have been a little light on Kirk and Spock, but when you have a villain as immediately compelling as Benedict Cumberbatch’s officially unnamed antagonist, why would you deflect attention anywhere else?

Now that the dust has settled on the night’s releases, here are the four big things we learned from the Star Trek Into Darkness Super Bowl trailer.

4. We Have A Compelling Villain

Benedict Cumberbatch

It’s taken a long time for Star Trek to really realise that a compelling villain is the key to engaging audiences. The Next Generation knew it with Q, even if he was never given enough opportunity to really flex his villainous muscles, and the wonderful Borg Queen in First Contact, but other than them only Khan has really stood out as a memorable, Machiavellian influence.

The whole issue with that is that the Enterprise crew were presented as pillars of virtue, and as good as Kirk and Picard were (which explained how jarring Picard’s “defection” to the Borg) they needed an equal and opposite force who represented a genuine threat to them. Eric Bana’s Nero almost made it – he was brawny enough, but he never quite had that irrepressible charisma that made those three villains mentioned so compelling.

But not, in the shape of Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain, it looks like we have a villain worthy of our interest and our disdain – he is cold and detached, with an obvious undercurrent of violence, and he is also perversely likable. The key ingredients to making a successful, and memorable villain.

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This article was first posted on February 4, 2013