Star Trek Films – Ranked From Best To Worst

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Star Trek Films

Star Trek literally has started as a small franchise business back in the 1960s, and look where it stands today. The media company is worth billions of dollars and has expanded its content in every way possible. The franchise is owned by Viacom CBS, and we obviously can not complain over the top-notch content that they have been providing us throughout. A bit of a history lesson, you may call it but Star Trek actually started in the form of a mini-series and as of right now, it has to be considered as one of the most long-lasting franchises that have the power to influence big masses. It has had a variety of sequels that come along with a lot of motion pictures, and this content has never failed to entertain us in all aspects. All this while, we can not expect the films to be similar to the shows. I mean, yes, you would point out that the two have taken place in the same universe, with the same genre, and even the cast was the same, then why do I say so?

It is because this is Star Trek we are talking about where nothing is as we expect to be but rather always extraordinary. The creators have given the taste of every form of content to the audience, be it a TV series or a film franchise. There are many people who yet debate over the fact that whether the story of Star Trek should be told in a Cinematic manner or on the small screen in little episodes that release regularly. Well, there is still a lot to argue about when it comes to the failure of the franchise, but no one can deny the fact that even these downfalls have their own level of intrigue and comes with a spectacular exception. Thus, we woke up one day and decided to rank the best to worst movies that have rocked our big screen throughout the tenure of the Star Trek franchise. Here, we have mentioned the list of Star Trek films for all the fellow newbie Trekkers out there who would like to start with the top-notch content first.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Well, do not even get me started on why this has to be the best Star Trek movie to have ever released. Obviously, if you ask any Trekker, their obvious choice would be this film, and even if someone new starts to watch this film, they will absolutely admire the whole process of filmmaking as well as the fact that this is an obvious win. The film has never set a foot out of the line that makes Star Trek movies special, and we can understand why. It has always stayed true to its roots, that is, The Original Series, and has all of its concepts arrive from with the Star Trek Universe. Also, best villain check! Khan was provided to us as the antagonist in this film, and no one can deny that his whole character arc is just genius.

Given the fact that he is a lifelong nemesis of Kirk as well as excels in representing the sins of the past, we can all say, that hands down, this Star Trek film has provided us with the all-around development of drama we never knew we needed but were actually in desperate need of. We emotionally grow attached to Khan, and despite the fact that he is a villain, the fact on which he is taking revenge is not wrong. Kirk basically just abandoned the people of Khan on a planet and decided to never look at them ever again, which is absolutely wrong. This is where the sin part comes in and how Khan represents the sins that Kirk has committed. As it is rightly said, sin and heroism are the two aspects of the same coin, and this film excels in narrating just that.

Star Trek IV: Voyage Home

You can not help but beam with tranquility from the moment you hit the play button till the moment this film ends. The whole concept which this film is based on might sound so absurd when we put it in words but well, you really have to just watch this tale to get the hang of the fact that this is not your average Star Trek film. Surely, the concept where the hero, that is, Kirk is sent on a mission to some outer galactic land in order to fight off a foreign alien sort of enemy, sounds very promising, but this movie has explored something new. So basically, our main characters decide to travel back in time in order to save whales. Yes, you have read that absolutely correctly, and I know you are shocked right now, but I want you guys to trust me on this one, the movie is amazing once you watch it and get the hand of its entire concept.

This entire plot of the movie seems like something straight out of a little episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, but the creators have surely done a great job in expanding this story onto a bigger screen and executing it with such perfection that all the fans are just in awe of it. Also, the movie does not just showcase the genre of science and fiction but has also fused it with various hints of comedy at certain points in time throughout the whole film. This is what makes Voyage Home an absolute treat to watch, and we can not help but get entertained throughout the entire run of this tale.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

Given the fact that the Star Trek franchise is so big, you cannot expect the fans to start various theories about the whole venture. Likely so, it has been a popular concept among the fans that all the Star Trek films with even numbers are amazing while the ones with odd numbers are bad. But when you watch Star Trek III, I am so sure you are going to throw this meaningless absurd idea about the films out of your window. This tale although, ranks third on our list because it does not explore any new concept despite being made with an excellent filmmaking process. The Search of Spock is more like a sequel to what came before it and gives a fair share of spotlight to Khan as an enemy yet again. Well, there is surely nothing wrong in doing so, and the fans were pretty anticipated to watch the third film of this media franchise thriving in a sequel format.

Also, the fact that this movie just came out and put an unspoken test of friendship among the Enterprise Crew is just surprising. When you first start to understand the whole concept which is explored in this film, I am so sure that a person will think that this is some sort of a sick concept to be even thinking about. But well, the director Leonard Nimoy just executes the whole thing perfectly without making the plot feel like it is something out of the blue because it obviously is not. The whole story is based on the theme of friendship, and the Trekkers surely did need this addition in their library which was easily provided by The Search For Spock.

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

The Undiscovered Country is that Star Trek movie that just takes your average everyday concepts and puts them in a movie where you can not help but be in awe of it all. What is the one thing which you most adore about The Original Series of Star Trek? I bet there are many, but the one fact, which remains intact till this point in time, has to be that the creators excel in taking a real-life issue and tensions and put them in the show. This just made the whole content feel way more relatable when it comes to linking a creation of science and fiction in your daily lives. This is what makes Start Trek, Star Trek, and The Undiscovered Country did just that. This is the only film in the entire Star Trek franchise to discuss some real issues while being set in its fantasy universe, and we can not be more thankful to the creators for giving us such a film.

The plot revolves around the closing of a Cold War with a peace treaty that was signed between the Federation as well as the Klingons. It was because the entire empire of the Klingon was about to touch bankruptcy. Also, this film has a lot of background significance in the whole universe of Star Trek as we see major developments for Kirk. This guy has to make peace with the party which is responsible for murdering his son. This story not only focuses on Kirk but also sees him taking the higher road. He has to accept the fact that times have changed, and he will have to put aside his own vengeance if he wants to see Klingons as well as the Federation existing in peace. This movie is just a lesson on how we should always opt for the higher road.

Star Trek: First Contact

Well, when it comes to discussing this movie, it is surely amazing but a tad bit hard to understand. I mean, this tale works on a very odd concept because it showcases the crew from The Next Generation but this time, they are totally on their own. Overall, if you think about watching the film one day, it is a great option. The movie has a lot of strings from the series that it attaches itself to, but that does not mean you will have to watch The Next Generation series in order to watch the film. I mean you could, but there are no restrictions whatsoever. Everything in this film is set within the Star Trek Universe, but we can not say that film works on the original principles and the framework which we expect to. You never really know what First Contact is all about because it just goes on to explore any foreign content without sticking to the originally scheduled path that is decided for the Star Trek Universe.

Star Trek

This tale has been directed by J. J. Abrams and will entertain you to your core when you first witness it. Although, if you decide to sit down and watch the movie yet again, it might not be as good as you might expect it to be. At the same point in time, Star Trek is a film that appears to have real aesthetic scenes and looks pretty polished from the outside. The reason why it is down here on the list is the fact that this film debates with its historical counterparts. Yes, you got that right. The film is trying to live up to the expectations which have already been made by the older Star Trek films but are not able to do so on its modern counterpart. The director has done an excellent job in making this film, and you will never in a million years find me saying that Star Trek is not something you can watch because it is excellent. But the thing that has not been done right in it is its plot. I mean, if you even take a tad bit of a scene in the wrong way, the whole concept will be shattered, and it is going to disappoint you. Thus, it is really very important that you know what you see with this creative and modern take on Star Trek films by J.J. Abrams. The new concepts put in this tale are that the Enterprise is being built on land this time rather than being in space, and they have a lot of reasons behind it which revolves around Kirk.

Star Trek Beyond

I mean, THE CAST of this film has me simping over them every time somebody around me mentions Star Trek Beyond. I don’t really care what the movie is about as long as the camera covers Chris Pine all the time. Now, as for the story concerns us, there are mixed reviews from the audience about the tale. Some say this has to be one of the best tales they have ever seen, while some argue that there are so many faults in this film to be even included in the Star Trek Universe. I don’t know about either of those because I am here to give my own honest opinions regarding the plot. If you want to just casually want to watch a Star Trek film then go ahead, this movie is made for you. Overall, the entire concept with the action sequences is top-notch, and you will feel that your time has been spent on some worthy content. The entire tale follows the footsteps of a classic Star Trek film and does not even cross a toe out of the legacy set by the films which have been made prior to it. Although, this is the biggest problem of the film. It has not explored any new concept apart from the one which has already been provided to it by the creators.

I am not saying that Star Trek Beyond is not a good movie to watch, in fact, it is the most relaxing thing you can ever witness if you are a Trekker, but the film has some issues with getting its own personality. We see our group of lead characters stranded on one of the alien planets. This place is quite strange, and the people are ruled by a mysterious leader whose name is Krall. This guy wants to assert his dominance and even has a fully-fledged plan to unleash a very powerful weapon against the Federation. Now, the unique thing about this modern Star Trek film is that the characters are paired in a way we have never seen before, and this gives rise to new friendships. Because the crew has crash-landed on this new planet, they all fall off in certain different directions and start finding the rest of the members but in various pairs. As I have already mentioned before, the most impressive fact that the new Star Trek movies have these days is the power of casting, and without a doubt, this film has also taken advantage of it.

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture

You can not dub this film as something bad despite it is at the very bottom of this list. But there surely are some issues which we might want to discuss here. First of all, the whole legacy of The Motion Picture is different from what Start Trek films are. I mean, there is nothing wrong with exploring new subject matter and trying out different styles to understand what the audience wants, but it ought to give the film a bottom position while we are ranking the Star Trek films, right? As per what the fans perceive of this tale, they totally think that it is not necessary for a Star Trek film to always consist the thrill as well as action, and it could also be a calm film but the fact that there are absolutely no wars in Star Trek: The Motion Picture or we shall say, Motionless, is what holds it back from being at a higher level on this list.

There is just so much time wasted in the film when it could have been saved up in narrating a better tale with much more plot twists. Like, for instance, you can focus on the docking sequence, and you can not do anything but agree with me that this scene could have wrapped up way earlier than it actually did. Nevertheless, we cannot complain because this is what a franchise is meant to be. It is all about taking chances and trying out new features and see if they fail or are loved by the fans and then developing through it. But this time, in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the creators truly experimented with something new but in the process, forgot what Star Trek actually is. Also, the fans surely did not like that the crew members from The Original Series were just pushed aside in order to pave the way for the new characters to have more screen time.

Star Trek: Generations

There is nothing too wrong with the film but yes, there are some things that might bum you out if you are a Star Trek fan and watch this film. This is why we had to place this film much below on the list. The concepts which are explored in Star Trek: Generations literally need no need of exploration, yet here we are, having a full movie that was never needed in the first place. This does not mean that this creation did not provide us with entertainment, it just did not cover up new themes which were not already covered up. Generation is a film that will suit a fanfiction tale but seriously not something that should be put within the Star Trek universe. We already saw the cast of The Original Series being in the film, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and their story came to an awesome end with it. Then Generations happened, and half of the cast had to come back to do something half-heartedly, and even the fans did not enjoy the half cast of The Original Series being employed. On the other hand, we also had the cast members from The Next Generation series come back to perform in this tale while already having a fully-fledged TV show dedicated to them. This all was something irritating but entertaining at the same point in time.

Now, coming back to where Generations failed to serve the audience. As it so happens, the film can be seen trying very hard to please two audiences at the same time but then, they just fail at doing so. If the Star Trek: Generations had just stuck to one show cast, I bet the amazing story with which it comes, would have rocked the screen of the fans. The story about the cost of duty to Starfleet is actually what gets most of the attention, I must say. All this while, we get to see Kirk and Picard on one screen as they join their forces while keeping in mind the sacrifices that they have made for the benefits of Starfleet. Also, there are other things that make Picard very similar to Kirk. Both these heroes have decided to become explorers instead and have lost out on the family bits of their life. But well, there were some bold decisions taken up by the creators while making this film, and it obviously did not fit well with the fans. The first thing is about how they have killed off Kirk, legit the most loved hero in the whole Star Trek films. This ought to get a reaction out of the fans.

Star Trek: Nemesis

The whole concept that is portrayed by the film is pretty unique, and we can all accept that it has started out with a very intriguing plot twist. The entire film explores how Picard would exist in an alternative reality. I mean, how would his life be if he was not living in Starfleet rather be someone from torment. But now you might be wondering why have placed this story so low in the list where it is just about to end? Well, you all got to admit that the villain or the antagonist forces in this film were not as apt as they should have been. Because of this, there was legit no dramatic pull that we could have witnessed or some serious twists that might send shivers down our spine. It was all just about Picard and for once, it even seemed like this movie is actually his documentary. Also, the fact that Picard just sees a dark mirror and it happens to reaffirm his righteousness is just, really, not enough. On the other hand, the character development was pretty poor. I mean, Shinzon could have emerged as a better person, but the plot just did not challenge him enough because it was so busy with keeping up with Picard.

There are so many plot twists that could have been employed by the creators to put Shinzon in a better direction and have the audience feel more sympathetic towards him and understand his story rather than just having him around as a villain who wants to destroy Starfleet with his mighty weapon. I mean, the whole villain scenario in this film was so underdeveloped and repetitive, I guess? We have all seen plenty of antagonists who wants to “destroy Starfleet with their big weapon”, what is new in that? Also, the films which are based on The Next Generation series have all suffered from a common problem that might itch the fans. If you look deeply, the footing of these films has not been set right. They just simply come on the screen and do anything without staying loyal to what the franchise is. They just bring Picard and Data and put them in almost all of the scenes and majorly forget that we also have a diverse cast that needs attention. If you are trying to start watching the Star Trek films, I would not say that this film was in any way bad, after all, it was a collective effort from the entire cast and crew, but it can not compete with the rest of the films that come before it on this list.

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Star Trek: Insurrection

There was so much drama around the Star Trek films that employed the cast members from The Next Generation. I mean, it was just problematic but on the other hand, we can agree a tad bit that this was something that made the movies special and unlike others. The thing is, all the Star Trek: The Original Series films were set in the 23rd century, which way apart from where the series was taking its own narrative, and thus, it has not many issues with exploring the new subject matter. But The Next Generation films were made along with those series with the exact same timeline. Now, as we have all seen that the TNG movies were all about being stand-alone concepts and not set a toe out of the Star Trek Universe. I can understand the difficulty which the creators of these films might be facing at that time because honestly, there is just so little scope for the films to come off as something much more than just a film based on TV series. Coming back to why Insurrection has been placed at such a low point in this rank list, it is because that its whole concept, was yet again, not unique.

It did everything that the movies before it have already done. There is no denying the fact that this film has an amazing premise but well, it did not come along with the way it was executed by the creators. There is literally so much that Insurrection could have been about, and it even had that potential. It just pains my heart to know that the film could tell in-depth about the time where the Federation was wrong, but it instead decided to take the question for granted. Even the series knew how important this matter was, and they popped this topic up pretty frequently, and Insurrection had the chance to take it up, and explore the subject on a bigger scale, but just like that, it didn’t. They just helped Baku throughout the movie, and I am not saying the characters did something wrong, I am just saying that they surely had a chance to question the whole Federation as well as the integrity of the Enterprise to Star Fleet, but they let it go.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Sometimes I sit idly and feel bad for the talent and dedication that actor William Shatner put into this film. We all felt what Shatner felt while doing this film and putting in his efforts even after witnessing the average success of Voyage Home, the film just before it got. It could be understood that he wanted to redo the previous film and make it even better in order to have a directorial contribution and debut in the Star Trek franchise, but we all saw how things turned out. The thing that the audience looks for in the Star Trek films is the story to be fun and upbeat, but when it comes to The Final Frontier, we did not find these elements. Rather, our screen was rocked with concepts that were simply silly and unethical to even fit inside the Star Trek universe. The whole story just went way out of line and did not stay loyal to the franchise and what its films are supposed to look like. I guess it is okay to experiment with new concepts when you are trying to work out a whole franchise, but when a person picks up The Final Frontier individually, we can not say that it is something we are proud of.

It had listed the cast of The Original Series but did not stay true to its roots and tried to expand the branches out into some scenes that were literally not effective. It is a long-lost strategy and surely the one that works that when we are dealing with the cast members from The Original Series, the film will only be successful when the plot revolves around these characters only. Things only work out when you focus on some great antagonist forces such as Khan which truly was one hell of a supervillain and is capable of engaging the interest of the audience in a mesmerizing way. If you do not have something as great as Khan to shift your focus on, then the best way to make the film successful is by narrating more about the cast members so that the fans actually enjoy it. This film has failed to do that terribly.

Star Trek Into Darkness

I am really sorry that we have had to put this one on the last rank in this list, but you can not help but agree with me on this one, Star Trek Into Darkness is not what Star Trek is meant to be. There is just something about this film, despite being made so professionally, that does not fit into the frame which was decided at a very early stage for the Star Trek films and shows or its plotline in general. This movie suits the people best who are looking for action films without any relation to a bigger franchise. But then the creators decided to mention the word ‘Star Trek’ in its title and include it in the franchise films, and this is where it all went wrong. At the time of the release of this film, there were many problems raised against it and how disrespectful the film had been to the legacy of Star Trek. I mean, the fact that the creators have taken new uniforms, as well as ships and a new design score to this take, is nothing wrong, that is just creativity and adds to the overall aesthetic pleasure of the tale. But what bugs the fans the most is that Star Trek is not Star Trek in this movie. The whole franchise is based and grows on the genre of science as well as fiction, but the creators just decided that they want nothing to do with it.

All we see when we hit the play button to Star Trek Into Darkness is a space exploration documentary with zero engaging plotlines. No one can complain about the effects which have been used to make this movie pleasing to the eye, but that is not what Trek is about, and the Trekkers will tell you the same. All this while, the tale has done well to Kirk and how his character developed through his learning experience. On the other hand, it also feels like the movie is trying to base its theme on friendship but desperately fails to do so. It can already be seen that there is very little chemistry existing between Pine as well as Quinto. This is why the critical response to Star Trek Into Darkness was legit low, lower than we can ever think it to be. Just like we have discussed earlier, Into Darkness does nothing new with its characters. If you are looking for just some entertaining content that includes fight scenes, then I advise you to go ahead with this tale, but if you are someone who loves Star Trek movies for their legacy, then do not stop at Into Darkness because it is not up to that mark.

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By Preksha Sharma

I am Preksha Sharma and am a writing enthusiast from Bhopal, MP, India. I love drama and shows and that's what I write about at Otakukart. I like daze-core and archive fashion and drinking overpriced lattes. You can reach me at