But, with two reservations, I loved it.
...unfortunately, one of those is a pretty large reservation.
First off: called it. (More or less.)
Secondly: the Carol Marcus underwear scene was completely unnecessary, pure titillation/trailer fodder, and I will not listen to anyone who says otherwise.
Thirdly, to those few out there calling Into Darkness too dark: in the last movie, the Federation lost Vulcan. That means they lost a huge portion of their peace- and logic-loving leaders to an enemy with overwhelmingly advanced technology. Of course shit was gonna get dark; we've got prior canon establishing this.
Admiral Marcus and his ilk, as a reaction to the events of the first movie (even just as a reaction to the loss of the Kelvin, which the Section 31 base is named for for a reason), makes perfect sense to me. After all, Starfleet is a peacekeeping and exploratory armada - until they come up against something they can't fight to a standstill or convince to join up. Then they militarize.
The Vengeance is the reboot UFP's reaction to Nero as surely as the Defiant was the Prime UFP's reaction to the Borg.
Section 31 trying to use Khan makes sense in the same way - we've got established canon saying Section 31 loves using GE people like that - but they underestimated Khan. Or maybe they were as charmed by him as they were wary of him, reluctant admirers similar to the Prime Enterprise. Either way, the results of that leading to the events of Into Darkness make sense and I loved it.
I loved that it incorporated elements of both "Space Seed" and Wrath of Khan, because Khan predates Nero's interference and thus should have similar motives and do similar things. I loved the (less necessary to the plot, more obviously a wink-wink-nudge-nudge reference to Prime events, utterly heartbreaking) Kirk&Spock-at-the-glass scene. I even, unexpectedly, loved the "KHAAAAN!"
...I just didn't love Khan.
I've come to understand the producers keeping Khan's identity a secret - I don't agree with it, am still a little mad about it, but I get it, and have mostly come to terms with it. But I can barely accept the idea of Benicio del Toro in the role, let alone Benedict Cumberbatch when del Toro left. At least del Toro was POC, if no more accurate for Khan than Montalbán. (And really, what was the logic there - if any brown man was good enough for Khan in the 60s, any brown man's good enough for 2013?) But Benedict Cumberbatch -
Look, I'm not saying the guy's a bad actor. He's not, he's pretty good, I have enjoyed his performances in the past. But I just cannot believe that he was the best, most appropriate choice for Khan Noonien Singh, last minute recast or not.
But someone else out there, someone more involved with the casting of this movie than I, disagreed. Fine. I think you, and most everyone else that didn't try to stop you, is an awful white-washing racist, but fine. You did it, it's done, nothing more I can do about it.
You know what's not fine? Explaining it away with an offhand reference to "plastic surgery".
You know why? Because it's not enough. Because your casual moviegoer is not going to understand what that means. "Oh, plastic surgery," they will think, "they changed his face a bit so he wouldn't look like old pictures of himself." They will not think, "Oh, plastic surgery, they bleached his skin and changed his hair and fundamentally altered the underlying structure of his face so he wouldn't look like the Indian man he is."
And they should. Every member of your audience should know what you did. They should know that you failed to live up to the ideals of the series you are writing for - and not only that, but that you did worse at it than your forebears forty years ago.
This lazy attempt to half-heartedly cover your ass disgusts me almost as much as the whitewashing it tries to explain away. And I wish you were as ashamed of it as I am for, however minutely, financially supporting it.