On Star Trek and male tears.

kirk and spockSo behind. On so many things. OMG.

Among the things on which I am no longer behind, however, is Star Trek: Into Darkness; I am, however, behind on writing about it, which I intended to do the day after we saw it, which was like, what was it now (counts on fingers), ten days ago? Ish?

Be forewarned: Spoilers ahoy. (But you should have seen it by now, anyway).

Anyhow, here I am, and bottom line: It was good. Not great, certainly not as good as the original reboot (can we say that? “Original reboot”?), but pretty good, and absolutely enjoyable. Worth the money. I laughed out loud at the reference to Christine Chapel.

I do remain flummoxed as to why the men of this generation of Blockbuster Filmmaking appear congenitally incapable of writing/directing/producing so much as two female characters who actually interact with each other (seriously: JJ, Joss, Peter? What the hell?), but I’m so used to that by now that I’m not even going to bother going into it here. (More women in Hollywood would be boss, but honestly, before we even raise that question, you’d think that these men, of all men, might have cracked that particular nut on their own. Honestly). (Anyway).

No, while the women/lack of women/lack of diversity of female shapes/I could go on but I won’t… bothered me, I was more struck by something else, something positive: The men.

I’ve been a Star Trek geek since I was a child, and I believe that Star Trek, in its many iterations, is part of what is makes today’s world better than the one into which I was born. Truly. Over the course of the various series and movies, Star Trek has brought into our culture a multi-hued universe in which women could hold positions of authority, sexuality was (a little) fluid, diversity of culture was valued, and serious questions about the nature of humanity and human interaction were broached (nearly) every week (also, there was some bad fashion and way too much of Riker’s trombone, but I digress). The universe that Star Trek presented was never perfect, but it has generally been better than the one in which we actually live.

And the men have always been, ya know. Manly.

Mucho manly. Strong. Stoic. Occasionally weak at the knees over a dame, or possibly a life-altering experience, and everyone knows that Spock has been, and always shall be, Kirk’s friend. And once that’s been established, Kirk yells (ahem): “KAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNNN!” because he’s manly and his friend has just died and men vow vengeance reallyreally loudly when their friends die.

But in Into Darkness, Spock and Kirk aren’t just friends. They’re loving. They love each other. When Spock looks absolutely baffled when Kirk says “I would have missed you,” Kirk rolls his eyes and sighs loudly and walks away, clearly stung and frustrated. When Uhura complains about how withholding Spock can be, she ropes Kirk into the conversation, who initially resists being roped into the conversation, but then joins in (and then, you know, somethingsomething the shuttle’s in danger! something).

By the end of the movie, Spock is no longer visibly baffled by expressions of affection, and Kirk weeps and tells Spock he’s scared, and then Spock does the little he can to try to help his friend with his fear and then, when he yells: “KAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNNN!” — well, ok, that moment might be too abidingly linked with William Shatner’s Kirk to work as well as you want it to, but still, it carries a different kind of wallop.

And there are other moments in which men get to demonstrate a range of emotion and affection they are rarely allowed in mainstream film, and: Wow. I was moved, and I was grateful.

Because while there is clearly nothing wrong with love scenes between men — that is not the only way in which men love each other. That is not the only way in which men can feel tenderness and vulnerability with each other. Men shouldn’t have to be gay in order to openly love each other.

And that’s what I have to say about Into Darkness. Late, jumbled, much too rushed, but there it is. Thanks, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto – you did great.

And now I’m off to the next thing I’m behind on.

%d bloggers like this: