Friday, December 6, 2013

Khan's Going To Be Angry When He Wakes Up....

*It's been pointed out to me that Khan was going to blow up Captain Kirk's ship anyway after receiving all of his crew members. I have to go watch the movie again, which is a struggle as I don't actually own it, being poor and all that. Until then, my theory is that Khan was going to destroy evidence and stuff. Yeah, I'll fix this in a day or two, sorry for all the true nerds!*

I'm going to admit right off the bat, I never got into Star Trek until the movie with Chris Pine in 2009. I watched that once, thought it was good, and then went and got a hamburger. That was the extent of my fandom for Star Trek at that point. Then, Star Trek: Into Darkness came out, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan/John Harrison/Hot Villain.

Notice how Benedict Cumberbatch's character immediately became the leading promotional picture of Star Trek. Just saying. They didn't even use Chris Pine or anyone else unless they had to. Okay, done saying. 

I'm not ashamed of admitting I went to see Star Trek just because of who was in it. The movie got me to do some research on the Star Trek universe and watch some of the original episodes so score 1 for J.J. Abrams and the rest of the Star Trek fandom.

But there are several plot holes with Star Trek: Into Darkness. There have been countless reviews written on the subject, but let's look at one view in particular. In my opinion, John Harrison is the underdog good guy of this Star Trek film, the most trustworthy, and we should root for him instead of the illogical Kirk.

SPOILER ALERT (Lots of spoilers, this will have almost the entire plot of Star Trek: Into Darkness, plus some bits from the 2009 movie, and info from the old episodes. Although, if you aren't a Star Trek fan already or at least know the plot, then what the heck are you doing with your life? This is American Culture!!!)

Let's go through this point by plot point.

1. John Harrison appears and blows up a major research facility, then kills a bunch of general officers who are having a meeting next to a huge glass window with no protection (air or otherwise). This marks him as a criminal to those who don't otherwise know (ahem, Kirk).

2. Harrison flees to Kronos and Captain Kirk goes after him with a bunch of suspicious missiles.

3. Kirk captures John Harrison, brings him aboard the ship.

4. Plot twist, John Harrison is actually Khan, the leader of a race of super-humans who were discriminated against during war-time. They removed themselves from Earth and froze themselves to wait for a more accepting year. Now, 300 years later, the people of Earth are pretty much still a**holes and Khan was forced to use his super-knowledge to build technology that Admiral Marcus can use to start war with the Klingons.
Coordinates 23-17-46-11 if you please....
5. Captain Kirk investigates Khan's allegations, discovers that everything he says is true from the torpedoes containing Khan's crew to the war base behind Jupiter.

6. Captain Kirk discovers that Marcus doesn't want him to know this stuff, decides to protect Khan and is told he's going to get blown up.

7. Thanks to Scotty, Marcus has a gun malfunction and Kirk aligns himself with Khan to take on Marcus. (I'm pointing out that Admiral Marcus has proven 3 or 4 times over at this point to be a liar and a greedy b******.)

8. Kirk, Khan, and Scotty successfully take over Marcus's ship and then....Kirk has Khan stunned, intending to return him to Earth to try him as a war criminal.

9. Kirk forgets Khan is a superhuman and Khan wakes up, kicks butt, kills Marcus, and takes Scotty, Kirk, and Marcus's daughter hostage.

10. Pointy Ears arranges trade with Khan, all the torpedoes containing his crew for Kirk, Scotty, and that girl.

11. Khan's crew is removed from the torpedoes, the torpedoes are armed, and Khan, thinking the trade is going to go ahead perfectly and he will be allowed to go free and get back to deep space, trades Kirk, Scotty, and the Weapons Expert for his crew.

12. Plot twist! The torpedoes blow up Khan's ship, causing him to think his entire crew is dead and causing his ship to crash into London, killing thousands of people.

13. Plot twist! Kirk saves his own ship, but dies in the process, now they actually need Khan again to use his super-blood to save Kirk. Dang it!

14. Spock chases Khan down, beats him up, captures him, steals his blood, and freezes him again. Presumably without telling him that his crew is still alive.

Why would you do a thing like that?
Do you see anything wrong with this picture? I do. In this movie Marcus is obviously the bad guy, and Kirk ruins a perfectly good alliance with possibly the most powerful person in the galaxy. I've brought these points up to Star Trek fans, and do know what I get told repeatedly?
"He's a hot villain so you're supposed to feel sorry for him, but he's really a bad guy"
"If you watched the original Star Trek movies you'd understand that you can't trust Khan."
"Khan would probably turn on Kirk and Spock anyway, plus he's a war criminal! Watch the old movies, you'll understand."
"Watch the old episodes and then it will make sense."

Excuse me, but director J.J. Abrams intended for these new Star Trek movies to stand alone from the old ones, not to rely on the old ones for plot support. He's done a bang-up job of reinventing all the characters, right down to making the Enterprise not really for space exploration but for war. Seriously, isn't the old slogan of Star Trek (and also the one used at the end of Into Darkness) "Space, the final frontier."? That's what I understood, correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure that you will. We've yet to see the Enterprise actually be used for exploration....

Also, if I understand correctly, Captain Kirk in the old movies was the youngest captain ever with only 17 years of training. 17 YEARS! New ones, Kirk has a mere 3 years of training. I could go on, but the point is, NEW STAR TREK'S STAND ALONE. That is why I refuse to take into account anything from the old movies to support plot holes in the new one. (This includes info on how old Khan was leader of the Eugenics Wars and not to be trusted, everything is backwards in the new Star Trek and we must take the information as it is presented, not as we think it should be presented.)

Old Khan....

...and new Khan, big enough difference for ya?

That established, my point is that we have to draw our own conclusions about the validity of whether or not Khan is a villain. And, in my opinion, Khan is the underdog hero of Into Darkness that gets screwed over by an illogical, undertrained captain and a power-hungry admiral. Here's how I came to that conclusion.

1. Khan is woken up by Marcus and told his crew will be killed if he doesn't cooperate. Khan seems like an intelligent guy, but he also seems like someone that won't just roll over and say okay. Seems to me that Marcus probably killed 2 or 3 or 10 of Khan's crew to convince him that he meant business. Had to be something dramatic to keep such a powerful, intelligent person in captivity to design torpedoes for an entire year.
Opinion: Marcus is a jerk and lots of other not very nice words. Doesn't Iron Man start off with Tony Stark in captivity to build a weapon and then Stark punches his way out and kills a bunch of the bad guys with the very weapon that he created? The exact same thing happens with Khan. Forced into captivity to build a weapon, then he punches his way out. I mean, seriously, we root for this type of guy all the time. Khan is the victim and Admiral Marcus is the conniving baddie already.

2. Khan escapes by himself, blows up a research facility, accidentally kills Kirk's mentor, double-escapes to Kronos.
Opinion: As he was gunning for Marcus, and as he put it, he was retaliating according to how he'd been treated, I'd say it was valid. In his eyes, in fact if you look at it without a preconceived notion of who the hero is, Khan could technically be the underdog hero of this story. Just because it's told from Kirk's point of view doesn't mean Kirk is the hero. Khan took out his biggest threat and initiated a standoff that he knew would bring his crew closer to being free. Pretty hero-like if you ask me. 

3. Khan surrenders on Kronos without killing Kirk, Spock, or Uhara. Saves them in fact. Then all his information is proven valid, as are his reasons for doing what he did. This is proven by Kirk when he opens the torpedoes to find the crewsicles and by Scotty when he finds the war base behind Jupiter.
Opinion: So, everything Khan has said up to this point is valid. Everything Marcus has said proves to be a lie. Logically, who should we be trusting here? The only one that says anything about why Khan is supposed to be feared is Marcus, who uses a tiny throw-away line saying Khan was a general in the Eugenics Wars on Earth, from which he escapes. Well, Into Darkness shows that Marcus is a liar so why should we believe him? These movies stand on their own, remember? For all we know Marcus could be lying and Khan just tried to escape a genocide of his people. Logically, since Khan has been proven to tell the truth and Malcolm has been a proven liar, Kirk should trust Khan at this point. He doesn't though, obviously doesn't have a bit o' logical sense. Been stiffed on his starship captain's training if you ask me. 

4. Khan helps Kirk defuse the situation with Malcolm by taking the ship. Khan even saves Kirk when his faceplate malfunctions.
Opinion: Khan could have let Kirk die in space, no fault of his, and gotten Scotty to help him take over the ship without Kirk if he wanted to. But he didn't. Kirk was the one that needed Khan, not the other way around. We see during a minor fight that Kirk is obviously jealous of Khan's fighting skillz, so he tells Scotty to neutralize him on the bridge once they achieve their objective. Doesn't that seem underhanded to you? I mean, up until this point everything Khan has done has been for a good, valid, decent reason. Save his crew, help Kirk so Kirk can save his crew, not kill Kirk because he thinks Kirk has morals. (Khan tells him so when in the prisoner bay, no secret there). Logically, Kirk should be looking to Khan as an awesome ally at this point. 

5. Kirk has Scotty stun Khan, meaning to make him a prisoner again.
Opinion: Why? Khan is obviously a threat to Marcus, but is just waiting for orders and doing as the Captain commanded. You watch him on the bridge of Marcus's ship. They take the bridge and Khan looks to Kirk for further orders. He doesn't go straight to Marcus to kill him, Khan WAITS FOR ORDERS! And Kirk just has him taken down. Do'h, Kirk? Are you sure you got out of Starfleet in only 3 years because you were smart or just because you were so dumb the teachers couldn't stand to look at you anymore?

photo of Khan on Starfleet deck waiting for orders

6. Khan shows off his superhuman-ness by jumping up, taking everyone hostage, and killing Marcus, who most likely killed members of Khan's crew and definitely held him captive for a year making him build weapons to start a war.
Opinion: If it was Kirk taking out Marcus we would be cheering. Instead, because a semi-threatening guy took out the really powerful baddie, we are supposed to feel...what? I was confused. Apparently we were supposed to feel sorry for Marcus because he had his head imploded. 
I was elated the Khan took out Marcus, and in such a cool way too! I mean, if I had skull-crushing powers I would go around...smashing things I guess, it'd be fun. But I wasn't supposed to be happy that Marcus died, I was supposed to feel terrified now that Khan was in control. Well, if Kirk hadn't just made an enemy out of Khan by shooting him and proving that he, Kirk, was absolutely untrustworthy, then I think they would have been okay. In fact, they probably would have been well on their way to a male bonding moment if not for Kirk's jealousy.

7. Khan trades Kirk, Scotty, and Marcus's daughter for his 72 crewsicles.
Opinion: Fair trade, why is Kirk complaining? Because he doesn't want to give Khan the cool black ship to get away in? It was probably expensive, maybe they could arrange a different transport. Of course, things are kind of tense between the two and Kirk has proven he can't be trusted, so Khan's going to take what he has and get away. Sure, Khan threatens to kill Kirk's crew if they won't turn over the torpedoes, but what's the issue there? Opposing sides threaten each other all the time. Kirk would do the same if he were in Khan's position and obviously had the upper hand. Plus, Khan DOESN'T blow up Kirk after getting his crewsicles.

8. The trade happens, but we find out that the torpedoes all explode in Khan's ship and kill all the remaining crew on it. This includes Marcus's old crew that were just following orders, that Kirk has now killed. He intended to kill Khan and make Khan think his crewsicles are all dead. Instead, he killed Admiral Marcus's men and ensured that the cool black ship would now crash into earth and kill a bunch of civies in London.
Opinion: Why? You just blew up the most powerful, expensive ship in the galaxy rather than let Khan take it. Talk about toddler syndrome. And you killed a bunch of people in London, AND you killed all the people left on that ship. Khan's superhuman powers pretty much guarantee he will be the only survivor. Seems to me that the baddie meter at this point goes straight to Captain Kirk. 
The moment Khan thinks his family all just died. Why would you do that!!!
9. Due to the fight the Enterprise is damaged and almost crashes, but Kirk saves it by dying in the process. Now Spock realizes, dang it, they need Khan to save Kirk. He transports down to Earth with a GUN, obviously to take Khan hostage. Khan takes off, Spock catches up. They have a fight and Spock wins, taking Khan hostage again.
Opinion: Khan really has the short end of the stick here, he's been left in a crashing ship, thinks he has just lost his entire family, and now has an assassin sent after him. What do we do with assassins? We kill them. (Remember Han Solo) Of course Khan fights after Spock engages him in the battle. Would you just die if someone sent an assassin after you? Nope, you'd try to get away first. Khan is still trying to win, against all odds. He doesn't though, because remember, Kirk and Spock are supposed to be the good guys.

10. Khan gets frozen again.
Opinion: This was the saddest moment of the entire movie. He probably doesn't know his crew is alive. Million to one bet that Spock kept him stunned until they could siphon off his blood, then they sent him straight to the cyrogenics chamber. He's going to be pretty dang mad when he wakes up.

So: Conclusion
If you read through all that, you've got all the facts. Khan was simply trying to save his family using Kirk to help. Then, when Kirk turned on him, Khan took out the Marcus (a proven baddie) and successfully traded Kirk and friends for his family. Then, Khan thinks his family gets blown up, tries to escape again, and gets taken out. Captain Kirk is an illogical bumbling idiot, and Khan is the underdog hero who just doesn't win in this movie.

Yeah, I said it. Khan is the good guy in Star Trek: Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams version, deal with it.

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