Benedict Cumberbatch is mesmerising in Star Trek Into Darkness preview

The Sherlock star takes the movie to another level, says Paul Jones, following a screening of new material from the sci-fi blockbuster was among those treated to a screening of unseen footage from the upcoming Star Trek sequel at the London IMAX in Waterloo today – the first 28 delicious minutes of sci-fi blockbusting goodness, plus two further scenes from later on in the movie.


It’s good news, people.

True, I can’t make any judgement on bigger picture stuff, like how the wider plot hangs together or about the emotional heart of the movie, but on the sci-fi-action-drama axis, it delivers. Like a postman on steroids. Or something…

The action sequences we saw are spectacular and gripping, there’s plenty of humour and some great performances (with honourable mention going to Zachary Quinto as Spock – and not to Simon Pegg’s grating parody of chief engineer Scotty).

But the one thing that really stood out based on what we saw today was Benedict Cumberbatch as villain John Harrison (yes, as far as we know that’s still his name).

We didn’t see huge amounts of him but when Cumberbatch is on screen the movie hits another level. He is, instantly, utterly mesmerising (even before he appears that voice alone does the job). He brings an intensity to every scene, even the briefest appearances, and carries it through into the more physical set-pieces, particularly a chase and fight with Quinto.

There may be a tiny bit of national (and fan boy) pride mixed in with my assessment but it’s obvious that when JJ Abrams and Chris Pine told us Cumberbatch’s performance was “terrifying” and “formidable” it wasn’t a cynical attempt to appeal to a UK audience (or politeness) – they meant it. And they were right.