Star Trek Into Darkness – Khan
02: Worse: Khan
It may have been great to see the old crew go out on a few more missions, but one it wasn’t as great to see was Khan Noonien Singh. Thanks to the removal of the original five-year mission from the history of the Enterprise and her crew we lacked an in-universe reason for Khan to look for revenge against Captain Kirk.
At its core Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a tale of revenge served up cold to a group of good people who made a misstep years earlier in, depending on your point of view, marooning a group like Khan’s on Ceti Alpha V, or in letting them live at all.
While revenge may not be the most ‘Star Trek’ thing to do the attempt was certainly very well received by fans and the movie, story and characters involved all hold a very special place in the hearts and minds of fans.
Star Trek Into Darkness is an otherwise decent movie, even on some levels a great movie, but it would have been spared the Wrath of Fans had it left Benedict Cumberbatch as the all new character John Harrison rather than shoehorning him into becoming Khan.
Without the history and connection to Kirk and the crew Khan loses the most important part of his character from the movie, the blinding rage and hate that had consumed him following his wife’s death. The blame he puts on the Enterprise overwhelmed even his genetically enhanced need to control everything, to dominate everything, and instead left him consumed and focused on one goal alone. A goal that caused him to lose everything.
The further parallels to The Wrath of Khan involving Kirk taking Spock’s place in radioactive chamber were most likely a very well intentioned tribute to the original, however again without the history between the characters, it lacked a bit of the emotional gravity. It also didn’t help that the issue was solved with some clear deus ex machina in the form of Khan’s blood.
Because of the ill advised return of Khan in a role meant for John Harrison we rate Khan as Worse for the Kelvin Timeline.