I wish I had seen this earlier. Not a startlingly brilliant movie nor does it push the edges of what a Star Trek movie can be. However, of the current sequence, it is the one that gets closest to the story aesthetic of Trek.
The villain (played by Iris Elba in heavy prosthetics) is interesting. His motivations are largely left unexplored until very late in the film but he is convincingly ruthless. As with his motivations, other aspects of the plot are revealed gradually in a story that trusts that the viewer will along.
Importantly, good use is made of the core crew members. Everybody helps and everybody contributes. The relatively slow lead-in to the main story helps give a sense that the Enterprise crew do actually spend time in space doing Star Fleet stuff.
The visuals are excellent. There is a very nicely imagined starbase that looks more like something Bank’s Culture would have made but works as an upgraded vision of what a spacefaring society might build. Likewise, the key alien planet location strikes a good bargain between convincing location shots and not-Earth-looking.
Yes, the science is stupid. Star Trek doesn’t work if it tried to make more sense than this. Nebulas now have big crashy rocks and nice habitable planets. However, the J.J.Abrams metric of distance is determined by plot is marginally less egregious than the last film thanks to a different director.
Fun action. Scratches a Star Trek itch.