The characters themselves appeal to me more than the lore, which is conveniently one of the strongest assets of Abrams' adaptation. The young cast is spunky and endearing, humanizing the sometimes gratuitous action and turning nearly every potentially clunky line into a genuine moment. Chris Pine as the arrogant young Captain Kirk is particularly compelling, and his performance evokes the brainy, bad-boy charisma of Harrison Ford. The entire cast creates vibrant, intelligent characters that stand head and shoulders over the prototypical monosyllabic summer heroes.
The realization of the film's universe is another of its clearest triumphs. The art direction and production design is unequivocally among the most awe-inspiring the genre has seen in years. From the tentacled mass of the Romulan mining vessel to Earth's towering, foggy skyscrapers, Abrams consistently impresses.
"Star Trek" is pure visceral fun, and while that necessitates a more lightweight storytelling aesthetic than longtime series fan might expect, there are enough interesting hooks and twists to keep the audience engaged, and like myself, coming back for more.