Just who the heck is Benedict Cumberbatch’s new “Star Trek” villain? I won’t tell.
Just who the heck is Benedict Cumberbatch’s new “Star Trek” villain?
I won’t tell.

I knew Rosebud was the sled, I knew Ilsa would get on the plane, and I knew Norman Bates liked to wear his mom’s clothes. I even knew Bruce Willis was dead the whole time. Would I have enjoyed “Citizen Kane” or “Casablanca” or “Psycho” or “The Sixth Sense” more if I hadn’t known these things beforehand? If I had gotten to gasp at Mrs. Bates’ desiccated body in that rocking chair?

A lot of the discussion about “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which opened Thursday, was about spoilers. The studio has been incredibly tight-lipped, even closing some preview screenings to the press. Beyond that, some fans have taken extraordinary measures to protect themselves from plot points; in my own circle, I know people who have not only avoided trailers but have hidden Facebook friends who discuss the trailer in their statuses.

I admire their discipline and respect that they want to go in with a blank slate — like I was lucky enough to do. I saw the film two weeks ago, with three other people and a security guard. I got to gasp and cry and nod knowingly at allusions I didn’t know were coming. It was a wonderful experience.

What it’s not, though, is the only experience. If you get spoiled, “Star Trek Into Darkness” is still going to be fun, I promise (though Facebook friends who reveal major plot points in their statuses are jerks and you should not be friends with them at all). I even look forward to seeing it again, which wouldn’t be the case if the film’s only strength was its plot.

“Star Trek Into Darkness” is, at its warp core, about relationships, authority and what we’re willing to sacrifice in service to both. It’s a film about its twists as much as “Citizen Kane” is a movie about a sled.

I Know, I Know

Yes, I jokingly inserted a mistake into every one of Thursday’s Film Riffs. I am aware that Pon farr is the Vulcan mating ritual; that Gandalf is the wizard in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy (and I know he goes from Grey to White); that Thor is from Asgard, and Heimdall is the guy who guards the Bifrost; that Han Solo puts Luke in a tauntaun, not an AT-AT; and that Homer’s middle initial is J (and his middle name is Jay). I just wanted to make sure YOU knew these things.