So i finally watched it last night. I enjoyed it, not as much as the original but i was entertained. And yes, i felt Wrath of Khan was the best they made...perhaps excepting First Contact. I dont think Wrath of Khan biased me though. My problems were more on fundamental issues then any real plot points.
I had my problems with it. First, for a movie that covers as many themes as it did it wasnt as epic as Abrams was clearly trying to make it. Family, loyalty, revenge, obsession...it just didnt blend together. There was no noticeable flaws, nothing bouncing off one another, but the movie never felt larger then life. It fell flat, though it didnt crash and burn. And the characters, except for Benedict Cumberbatch who was exceptional, werent very thrilling. Granted their roles were explored in the first, but no one lit it up.
While the movie was something like 2 hours 10 minutes, i felt an extra 15 or 20 minutes would have done it wonders.
Second problem was...pacing? Not really pacing, the movie never felt rushed nor to slow, but it had a tendency for time to really fly by. Best example i can think of is the sequence of scenes in which.SpoilerSpock fights Khan, then it shifts to Kirk and 2 weeks have passed, then the very next scene is a year later, then the next scene they are flying off with a totally rebuilt Enterprise. Granted, he mentioned it was repaired but still.
It was jarring for you to be watching a hectic sequence suppose to last a few seconds(Kirk flying through space) and a few minutes later watch Spock's requested transmission, which was suppose to take awhile, go through basically immediately. This was a movie with limited time, and most movies are guilty of this to some extent, so i understand, but it seemed especially jarring in this one.
Third was all the supposed "weighty" moments. Abrams is usual better than this, but for whatever reason he kept trying to have this huge dramatic moments involving a sacrifice or passing off the torch one right after another. JJ it loses all meaning if they happen frequently.
One thing i appreciate is how it stayed true to the spirit of Wrath of Khan. Which was, at its most basic level, a game of cat and mouse. While that one had the two rivals baiting one another, trying to one up each other, this one had Kirk trying to discover the true motives of Khan and Starfleet at any given moment.
Overall i cant complain. Im not a "trekkie" so i wasnt offended by the blatant nods to Wrath of Khan. In fact i enjoyed recognizing those moments. As well, as i suggested earlier, Cumberbatch was electric in his role and it was a treat to watch him.
Ultimately i felt it was worthy of the original Khan movie, but it was more of a very expensive, very flashy Star Trek episode then a movie in its own right. It was solid though and i will be watching it again.