The follow-up replicates many of the good things about Star Trek. The characters are fresh and in keeping with the personas of their forebears; the action is brisk and the banter clever; the special effects are impressive; and the balance of fun and serious is just right. It even has a better villain (Benedict Cumberbatch).
There are, however, weaknesses. First, it suffers from Avengers-itis. There are just too many set piece action sequences, including a tedious one where the Enterprise is plummeting in a death spiral that Kirk and company manage to get around easily enough.
The politics are also pinko. The joy of Peter Weller as a Starfleet admiral is lessened given he is a predictable warmonger bent on starting a war with the Klingons, and modern Starfleet feels almost pacifistic (basing Starfleet in San Francisco took its ideological toll).
It is also a little sloppy. Two of the security “red shirts” sent on a shore party are forgotten in a shoot ’em up melee with the Klingons; JJ Abrams decided their fate was not even worth memorializing.
And why “kill” Kirk when only a monkey would accept his demise as permanent? The picture is already an overlong 2 hours and 12 minutes.
The crew has also taken on a new science/weapons officer (Alice Eve), one so slight and dull that Abrams cheats to keep us interested.