I can't quite wrap my head around it.
The movie started with a bang, an extremely powerful scene depicting the birth of James Kirk under rough conditions... This was awesome. It was an awesome space battle. It showed a moment of great heroism, great personal sacrifice. In a way that Star Trek has never shown before, it depicted a starship as a physical edifice - the damage it took seemed more real; girders fell in what felt like an actual engine room.
The heroism in the opening scene brought a tear to my eye.
I *did* twig to the fact that this was going to be a time travel movie, in that opening scene, and it did have me concerned. For good reason. The plot of this movie sucked, but in a way that Star Trek has often sucked.
Spock Prime's (that's what they call him in the IMDB credits) failure to save Romulus ... from a supernova that threatened the galaxy? The story as Spock Prime tells it: "The supernova threatened the galaxy, so we came up with a plan to use red matter to create a black hole to absorb its energy. We got everything together and were about to implement the plan when the supernova suddenly destroyed Romulus." So, uh, was it something they were watching, or somehow unpredictable, or...
A mining vessel overpowers a top-of-the-line ship - not a ship from its past, mind you. This science vessel is one of its contemporaries, and as Spock demonstrates, it has some real offensive capabilities. But the "plot" requires pieces to be maneuvered into place, so maneuvered into place they are.
I'm a little concerned that I didn't even notice surrealestate's concern during the movie. The movie totally treats women as arm candy and chess pieces to be moved around by men, and little else.
I'm also annoyed at the hoops they had to jump through to get the cadets manning a starship... Starfleet seems extremely thinly manned indeed if they can have all their ships off-world like that. Earth's defenses are nonexistent while the fleet is off doing their "rescue mission" to Vulcan. The only place Starfleet has any actual military force available to it is where Kirk is standing, and that's just wrong.
The idea that Kirk's first official assignment, ever, is as captain of Starfleet's flagship is Just Too Much. Sorry.
At one point, Spock's ship flies in and attacks an orbital installation that's drilling a hole to the Earth's core... As near as I can tell, no other ships or defenses exist to try to attack this thing. The excuse? "They brainwashed a single Starfleet captain into giving up the frequencies of Earth's defense grid." Um, how does that stop either Earth *or* Vulcan from trying to defend itself? There should have been some sign of a battle, if not an ability to stop this stupid plot without the need of our cadets' help.
And now, the big one. I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that in this Star Trek, none of the Star Trek we've ever seen ever happened. TOS, TNG, DS9, all of it is wiped out, for an alternate history version of the universe where a black hole now stands where Vulcan once was. (Oh hey, did we just see the birth of the mirror universe? Huh, that'd be pretty awesome, actually. But no, that doesn't seem likely.) They don't seem inclined to *fix* it, so it seems any sequels to this movie are in this other, new, rebooted Star Trek.
And somehow, as silly as it must seem, this diminishes the rest of Star Trek in my mind. I need to figure out why; need to pick apart this feeling and ... I need to watch me some more DS9, I think. That'll fix it.
Entertaining movie, but way unrealistic in too many ways.