Star Trek Beyond is a bonafied Wholesome movie for a lot of reasons, but my favorite is that in a lot of ways it’s a response to the Motion Picture. it takes every depressing aspect from tmp (Jim joining the admiralty; Spock fleeing to Vulcan; the crew becoming scattered) and provides an answer. aos Jim realizes his best destiny is still to be captain of the Enterprise and decides not to join the admiralty. aos Spock considers fleeing to New Vulcan (not to Gol and not for kolinahr, but he’s fleeing all the same) but decides to stay as soon as he hears Jim say “What would i do without you, Spock?” the final shot is the crew standing together looking at the Enterprise, a visual promise that they’re still a family and not a group of friends who are about to scatter and become strangers to each other.
i see a lot of depressing post-Beyond fics. a lot of world-weary, friends-becoming-strange, losing-faith-in-Starfleet-ideals kinda vibes. which is fine because we all need a healthy dose of melancholy now and then. but those kids are like. thirty at the most. they’ve lived darker lives than their tos counterparts. they’ve lost more and fought harder.
i won’t be very surprised if Beyond is the last movie featuring that cast. but, as an ending, it’s satisfying. it corrects the mistakes of their tos counterparts. and if their timeline has so far been darker, here’s a chance to make it brighter. they fought tooth and nail for their “first, best destiny,” and in the end they choose to stay together. they choose to keep going on silly space adventures, even if we won’t get to see them.