The third movie in the rebooted Star Trek series, set in an alternate universe where George Kirk died. The film picks up some time after the events of the last film, the USS Enterprise is on an exploratory mission in deep space. The movie pays tribute to Leonard Nimoy who played Spock in the original series, Nimoy passed away a year before the release. The movie is the last performance of Anton Yelchin who plays the lovable engineer Pavel Chekov, Yelchin died in a car crash 6 months before the release.
The movie starts with James trying to broker peace between 2 alien spices, after a brief fight James receives a relic and leaves the planet. The movie picks up as USS Enterprise lands on the star base of Yorktown for supplies and a break from their long exploratory mission. James has applied for a ground position after struggling to find meaning to the missions, he recommends Spock as his replacement. Spock receives the news of his older self’s death from new Vulcan, Spock thinks about resigning from Starfleet to lead his people on New Vulcan. On the base the crew meet their families and spend time on the base, Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu reunites with his family after a long time. The enterprise is dispatched on a recuse mission in a nearby uncharted nebula.
The rescue mission appears to be for an escape pod that broadcasted a distress signal. After docking the pod onto the ship its occupant Kalara request James to help her ship stranded on Altamid a planet in the nebula. As the enterprise moves closer to the planet a swarm of small ships begin to attack. The ships quickly tear the enterprise apart so that their leader could come aboard, the swarms leader Krall boards the ship and wreak havoc. He captures some of the crew and kill the rest in an attempt to find a device known as Abronath, the Abronath was recovered by the Enterprise on a recent mission. Kirk is forced to issue the order to abandon ship to save the surviving crew, the ships remains fall to the planet Altamid.
On the surface Sulu, Uhura and some other survivors are captured by Krall and taken to his camp. Kirk and Chekov land somewhere on the surface and are accompanied by Kalara to the remains of the enterprise, Dr Leonard McCoy and Spock land somewhere close to Krall’s camp. Spock is injured and McCoy attempts to heal him and engages him in conversation to take his attention off the pain, Spock reveals to McCoy that he wishes to leave Starfleet to join new Vulcan and continues his older self’s work. James and Chekov figure out that Kalara was Krall’s spy and defeat her by flipping the Enterprises saucer. Somewhere else Scotty is saved by Jaylah, a scavenger who escaped Krall.
Krall reveals the Abronath is the key to complete an ancient bioweapon capable of destroying civilisations, he showcases his ability to seemingly absorb someone else’s life force. A crew member is forced to give-up the relic after Krall starts killing the crew, Krall then tests the bioweapon on the crew member. James and Chekov are reunited with scotty who’s hiding with Jaylah on an early Starfleet ship the USS Franklin. The Franklin is a lost ship that went missing and lost all contact with Starfleet. The group formulates a plan to save the crew and defeat Krall who wants to destroy Yorktown.
After a successful rescue attempt, the crew powers up the grounded vessel and uses it to chase Krall. They jam and destroy the swarm by broadcasting songs to disrupt the swarms communication, Krall is chased by the Franklin all over in Yorktown. The crew discovers that Krall is the former captain of the Franklin, Balthazar Edison who used alien technology to survive after crashing on the planet. Balthazar aims to destroy the Starfleet and start an intergalactic war against former enemies, he crashes onto the surface of the starbase and is chased by James. James confronts Balthazar in the ventilation system right before he activate the weapon, after a brief fight James ejects the weapon and Balthazar into space sacrificing himself. James is saved by Spock and McCoy who stole a swarm ship, the weapon disintegrates Balthazar in space.
The movie ends with both James and Spock deciding to stay with the Starfellt, Spock renew his relationship with Uhura. Jaylah the scavenger is accepted into Starfleet academy on James’s recommendation.
The movie which seemed to be the final one ends with The crew watches the construction of their new ship the Enterprise A while celebrating James’s birthday. A next movie is set to release in 2023, until then Live Long and Prosper.