This is a good film.
It is a very good film.
I really, really liked this film.
Fear not, the whole review will not simply be variants of that single statement, I just wanted to start out with that news which I am happy to report.
After the successes of the first film in the 'rebooting' of the beloved franchise which worked primarily as a litmus test for the characters and tone of the film, the second film is altogether more confident in the world and characters it presents. The plot also makes a whole heap more sense than the time-travel, black hole malarky of the first film.
So, we know already they got Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Chekov (Alton Yelchin) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) as characters sorted. So they look to expanding the roles of others characters and the introduction of new ones, with varying success. Some of the new characters do not appear much but that is mainly because a large proportion of the film is aimed towards the relationship between Kirk and Spock after the groundwork set by the first film.
Despite the title and the advertising campaign suggesting the pitch black tone of the film, this is still a bright and funny sci-fi film. They've nailed a sense of humour with Scotty and Bones. There are action scenes a-plenty and whilst the film does have a reasonably long running time (133 minutes), the time never drags. In fact, with all the journeys off to new places and sticky situations the crew find themselves in, the film is never less than moving at a fast pace.
Now, it's not perfect. There are a few plot holes here and there and one particular thing you could see coming from a mile away but it cannot detract from the fact that they have taken the best points from the first film (adventurous tone and characters) and built a better film on top of them. Oh, and Benedict Cumberbatch is awesome! I think he's super good in this.
Oh, and I'm not a die hard trekkie, but I know my way around a little and I found some lovely little touches in the film.