demiurgent: (Alaemon)
[personal profile] demiurgent
This too is a spoilery spoilsport of spoiling.

I keep seeing people who say the antagonist in Star Trek is weak. This blows my mind, because there has never been a Star Trek movie that has invested so much emotional energy into its antagonist as this one. The structure of the movie builds incredible tension between our lead and his enemy until explodes cathartically, and it is nothing if not entirely satisfying when it comes to an emotional climax.

It blows my mind, until I read on in peoples' complaints, and see them calling Nero the antagonist.

This is quite patently ridiculous. Nero and his ship are the Threat, yes, but they're no more than a side digression. Hell, Kirk doesn't speak to Nero for most of the movie, and Nero doesn't even know Kirk's involved until Kirk's pointing a gun at his head. Nero isn't the antagonist.

Spock is.

Spock is clearly meant to be the antagonist who motivates the protagonist and pushes the plot forward. He's the bad guy. When Kirk is put into trouble, who does it? Spock. Who brings formal charges against Kirk? Spock. Who gets Kirk grounded? Spock. When Kirk shows up on the Enterprise, who immediately tries to remove him as a stowaway? Spock. When Pike makes Kirk First Officer, who protests? Spock. When Kirk fights tooth and nail to save Earth instead of, essentially, do nothing... who not only disagrees but charges Kirk with mutiny and maroons him on a deadly planet? Spock.

Who must be defeated, in a cathartic moment where tensions absolutely explode on screen, leaving nothing but fragments and an entirely new reality in their wake?


Spock even says that Kirk, as the prize stallion, must be 'broken' before he can be put to productive use. But it is Kirk who breaks Spock, and after that utter, complete defeat, Spock doesn't just accept that he has lost, he moves into subordinate and loyal position. He serves at Kirk's command. He has been broken to saddle, and from this point forward Kirk is in control.

The battle with Nero? The saving of Earth? That's all denouement. It doesn't have any of the emotional tension we've seen, because it's an absolute given that Kirk's going to win. It's what he does. And once Spock is entirely on board with Kirk they're not only unstoppable but they're barely even inconvenienced. Nero doesn't really put up a fight -- he's entirely routed by Kirk and Spock both on his ship and off it. And that's as it should be, because the real fight had already been won at that point.

Seriously, gang. Spock is the best villain the movies have had since Khan. Give him his due.
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