Thoughts on, and a place to discuss, the plot points we can’t reveal in our review.
Why would anyone cast Idris Elba in a movie and then cover him up in layers of prosthetics and make-up? And isn’t it kind of silly that the USS Franklin, the antique Starfleet vessel found by the Enterprise survivors on the unknown planet, holds both a classic motorcycle and a copy of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” which the young Kirk blasted on a joyride in the first rebooted Star Trek? And what happened to the crew of the Franklin anyway?
The answer to all three of those questions lies with Krall, who is actually Balthazar Edison, the captain of the Franklin. Extending his life (and distorting his appearance) with a technology left behind by an unknown alien species, Edison has waited all this time to exact his revenge. A decorated hero of the military force that predated Starfleet, Edison represents a link to the dark wartime past of the Federation, whose idealism he denounces as a hypocritical sham; they gave him a peacetime commission, but never came to rescue his downed crew.
He’s also a double for Kirk’s juvenile fantasies: a grown-up who had everything the Enterprise captain might have wanted as a kid. (Pointedly, Star Trek Beyond is set around Kirk’s birthday, on which he turns a year older than his father ever got to be.) All of this makes Krall an ideal villain—but also a mismanaged one, his most intriguing motivations brushed in the race from one breathless set-piece to the next.