The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Released in 1982. Written by Jack B. Sowards. Direcgted by Nicholas Meyer. Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Ricardo Montalban. Running time 1 hour 53 minutes.


In the second installment, the film opens in the training simulator with Saavik (Kirstie Alley) at the helm providing a lot of foreshadowing of what The Enterprise and the crew within will have to come to terms with. It’s Capt. Kirk’s (William Shatner) birthday and while Kirk receives encouragement and gifts from Capt. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Capt. Terrell (Paul Winfield) land on a dusty planet to investigate samples for the Genesis Device project led by scientists Dr. Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch) and David (Merritt Butrick) and stumble upon the abandoned ship SS Botany Bay. As they try to get back to their ship, they are taken prisoner by Khan (Ricardo Montalban) and his crew. Khan has deep hatred for Capt. Kirk and realizes with these prisoners, he has the ultimate opportunity for revenge for being left on Ceti Alpha V by Capt. Kirk (see episode Space Seed, 1967, from the TV series). After a tense “hello again, old friend” exchange between Capt. Kirk and Khan, Capt. Kirk rescues Carol and David but loses the Genesis device. Capt. Kirk goes on his quest to retrieve the device as well as destroy Khan once and for all. After a fierce battle in the Mutara Nebula, the Genesis Device is about to detonate, and Spock makes the ultimate sacrifice but not before leaving his legacy in safe hands…

What I Liked

The dialogue!! Hooray 🙂 The quick wit and sarcastic banter is here in spades… [Saavik to Capt. Kirk: May I speak, sir? Capt. Kirk: Self-expression doesn’t seem to be one of your problems. ] And, of course, ANY dialogue between Capt. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. They balance serious situations logically speckled with sarcasm and humor. A perfect combination.

Khan. He is a superior villain. He’s a smooth talker and calculating with his emotions so when he expends anger—you know you’re in trouble. His eyes tell so much more than his words. A consummate actor. His costuming is fantastic. His perfect reveal as he takes off his mask and his barely-there vest type thing just covering up his nipple…wow. The worm scene is so cringe-worthy, I can barely watch it. So good. His final speech…

Capt. Kirk’s face when he sees Khan’s face and then Khan’s smiling face. Omg. When Khan realizes the shields are down. Wow. In fact, every scene between Capt. Kirk and Khan are gold. It’s like, this town (space) isn’t big enough for the both of us…Let the battle of wits and ego begin!

The gorgeous land created by Genesis with incredible green lushness and life. The Mutara Nebula in all it’s purply-blueness as the backdrop for another battle between Capt. Kirk and Khan. The red, dusty wasteland of Ceti Alpha V.

The final scene between Capt. Kirk and Spock. If you don’t think this is the greatest scene between two friends ever captured on film, something’s wrong with you…

This film takes off and goes right where it should from Khan’s first appearance in Space Seed, Star Trek season 1, Episode 22. That episode is so good as well. Khan’s magnetism, ego, and strength made this film a must.

What I Wished Was Better

??? I have no words. I would not change anything. It. Is. Perfection.

Final Thoughts

So many emotions. The Wrath of Khan is a masterpiece. Not only because Khan is the evil ego mirror image of Capt. Kirk but because of the deeper question of facing death as in facing life. How we approach life’s challenges, transitions, and birthdays…the meaning of life and who has the right to the power of giving it or taking it away.

Capt. Kirk takes chances and his loyal crew often question his orders but it doesn’t sway them from following him with full trust. Capt. Kirk learns new things about himself in this installment. He still has what it takes to command, he learns a deeper value of friendship and relationships, and his faith in what he does best is restored.

I loved this film. So much. I hope you do, too. Available on Amazon Prime. Watch the trailer below:

Next in the Star Trek film series… Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

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