I can’t just sit and watch a movie. I have to sift through it, think about it, and notice its more interesting details. The more a movie gives me to ponder, the more I like it.
Star Trek into Darkness made a lot of fans mad for a lot of (understandable) reasons, but I loved it.
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to this film; the changes made to the original characters and story lines, the unprofessional side of Uhura, even the sexism . I could fire up a list of arguments for and against the remakes, balancing out the original characters with their big-screen new counterparts. I could talk about the reasons many original fans hate the franchise, and my understanding of that … but instead, let’s talk about the religious symbolism. It wasn’t intended, but it’s there.
Essentially, the movie boils down to a brutal terrorist inflicting pain on unsuspecting masses in a direct assault against Starfleet Command. His rebellion is against this force, which asks our heroes to fall into the line of fire as they chase him down, capture him, and unleash greater discoveries.
Strip away all the subplots and you have the iconic allegorical representation of God, Christ, and Satan.
God: is represented in Starfleet Command, which governs over all planets and people in the inner-galactic alliance. While Starfleet itself is honorable and good, not everyone who takes action in its name is, like the admiral who intends to start a war. Yet, all our characters interact because they are brought together under Starfleet; it is, in a sense, their “creator and definer,” since it took them from mundane existence and gave them each a purpose on the Enterprise.
Jesus: Kirk lives an ordinary life until the attacks on headquarters and the death of his superior officer and mentor (as Jesus lost Joseph at some point before His mission began) nudges him into the role of a savior. Like Christ, his compassion is shown even when he has the right to pronounce judgment (he could kill Khan for his crimes, but doesn’t); and when asked to sacrifice his life for the good of everyone on the ship, he does so without a second thought, knowing it will cause him great pain and suffering, only to later rise again. His temporary issues with Spock (the Peter figure who challenges and doubts him at times) are resolved, and his sacrifice brings everyone on the ship life.
In many ways, Kirk’s “disciples” are strengthened through his sacrifice; it takes them all to greater heights in their war against Khan, and gives Spock the purpose-driven determination to overcome his enemy. Similarly, Christ’s sacrifice took His disciples to greater purposes, pushing Peter to a significant role in establishing the early church.
Satan: is the figure of Khan, who comes among innocent people and causes great destruction and death for no other purpose than defiance of Star Fleet (the Fall, and the evil in our world ever since). He manipulates everyone for his own purpose, and destroys or harms them when they’re no longer useful to him. He has the upper hand with Kirk for a short time and beats him mercilessly (as Jesus was beaten), much to the dismay of innocent bystanders. Just as Satan used the sin of Eve to cause her downfall, Khan physically breaks Carol’s leg, representing amenity between Satan and women. Yet, just as Satan underestimated the meaning behind Christ’s sacrifice, Khan underestimates his adversaries which leads to his own fall. He winds up imprisoned in isolation at the end, still alive but not really living – a perfect analogy of hell.
Whether or not you like the reboot, you have to admit… it leaves the audience, particularly a Christian audience, a lot to think about.