starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Idris Elba
screenplay by Simon Pegg & Doug Jung
directed by Justin Lin
by Walter Chaw The cultural watershed isn't when it's revealed that Sulu (John Cho) is gay, but rather a moment just before that, when an interracial couple--an Asian man and a white woman--are used as an example of a "good" relationship. I'm Chinese, my wife is a tall redhead. When my kids watch Star Trek Beyond, it'll be the first time they see their parents reflected in a major American tentpole. There are a lot of things wrong with Star Trek Beyond, which at its best is great in the same way that David Twohy's The Chronicles of Riddick is great--and at its worst is bad in the same way the last film in this reboot series is bad (that is, self-conscious and fan-pleasing, torturously so). But when Sulu is given the one, true, rousing hero moment in the piece, it speaks not just to the vision of a multicultural United States that Lin's The Fast and the Furious movies proposed, but also, perhaps, to the real impact of an Asian-American director behind the camera. It makes sense that a Lin-directed Star Trek would make Sulu the hero; I just wasn't expecting to be so affected by it.