The first, last and strongest feeling one detects in Star Trek Beyond is one of liberation. Free from the fanboy-baiting wankery of predecessor Star Trek Into Darkness, this refreshed franchise ironically returns to the kind of quaint charms that once built such a fervent fanbase. Granted, there was always something slightly ropey about both the design and the execution of even these modern editions, but Beyond may be the first in a long time to truly embrace its inferiority in a landscape dominated by mega-blockbusters and their expanded cinematic universes. If the mistakes of the previous film are corrected, though, this film acquires some of its own - it's fitfully entertaining, but never the breathtaking thrill-ride it aspires to be. Justin Lim directs with a lack of visual imagination, and perhaps even a curious bewilderment in the action scenes; a Fast & Furious veteran, you'll not see much of his usual aptitude for action in this film's cluttered, incoherent setpieces. That same lack of imagination extends into Beyond's scenario, arguably even originating from it, as Doug Jung and Simon Pegg's script offers little more than the same old storylines. If that's what allows the film to recapture some of the old Star Trek spirit, it also prevents it from venturing, well, beyond it. It's all distinctly average and predictable; thus, one's attention is drawn to whatever standout details it can find. The makeup effects are quite spectacular! Michael Giacchino's score is typically magisterial! Sofia Boutella really cannot act! Shame, but aren't they all having fun? A little more liberation, and then maybe I'll be having fun too.