Entertainment Weekly – Owen Gleiberman – 31 May 2013
He’s played by rising British star Benedict Cumberbatch in a totally original way, with the physicality of a dancer and an eager, puckish sincerity that ingeniously disguises his vengeful mission.
Rolling Stone – Peter Travers – 16 May 2013
He’d be John Harrison, and the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) plays him in a tour de force to reckon with.
Chicago Sun Times – Matt Zoller Seitz – 16 May 2013
The plot pits the Enterprise crew against an intergalactic terrorist named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch, giving his honeyed baritone a workout), who’s waging war on the Federation for mysterious personal reasons.
AV Club – A.A.Dowd – 16 May 2013
That the scene still works like gangbusters is a testament to the primal, goosebump-provoking power of Cumberbatch’s performance.
The Wall Street Journal – John Anderson – 16 May 2013
Having gotten them all in one place, the seemingly invincible, genetically modified archvillain John Harrison (an imperious Benedict Cumberbatch) launches a lethal attack and a determined agenda of revenge.
USA Today – Claudia Puig – 15 May 2013
Benedict Cumberbatch is a brilliant addition as John Harrison, an elegant but sneering, genetically enhanced rogue Starfleet officer. A top-notch villain, he reveals a coiled menace beneath his glacial calm.
Toronto Star – Peter Howell – 15 May 2013
But the masterstroke of Into Darkness is the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch, the BBC’s new Sherlock Holmes, as the new galaxy-threatening super villain. He’s disaffected and dangerous former Starfleet ace John Harrison.Cumberbatch plays Harrison as if he’s the evil twin of Holmes. He coolly assesses every situation with an eye to maximizing his advantage and he uses deception whenever necessary.He’s the dark heart of Into Darkness, and that symbolic connection with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is duly noted. His presence is felt amongst the ping-ponging cast members even when he’s not onscreen, like Conrad’s Mr. Kurtz (or Francis Ford Coppola’s Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now).
New York Times – 15 May 2013
Mr. Cumberbatch, pale and intense, has become the object of a global fan cult, and it’s easy to see why. Whether playing a hero (as in “Sherlock”) or a villain, he fuses Byronic charisma with an impatient, imperious intelligence that seems to raise the ambient I.Q. whenever he’s on screen.
Washington Post – Ann Hornaday – 14 May 2013
But the casting coup here is Benedict Cumberbatch, who exudes steely resolve and silken savagery as a villain on the cusp of becoming a legendary nemesis…here Cumberbatch claims a deserved place front and center in a big, brash popcorn movie….“Star Trek Into Darkness” derives its ballast, and most of its menacing pleasure, from Cumberbatch, who takes tantalizing ownership of a role with near-limitless future prospects for evil mayhem.
Time – Richard Corliss – 13 May 2013
Cumberbatch raises the anxiety level and performance standard whenever he’s onscreen. As the latest Sherlock Holmes on BBC, he has embodied a supersmart hero of the 1890s. Here he is the supersmart villain of the 1990s, teleported to the 23rd century.With high cheekbones and the penetrating stare of a superior automaton — or maybe just a posh Englishman looking pityingly on the other, mostly American actors — Cumberbatch infuses Into Darkness with a creepy class. Everyone else has to make do by looking fabulous.
Little White Lies – Adam Woodard – 9 May 2013
Cumberbatch is the sequel’s MVP…But while Cumberbatch steals the show, it’s the central pairing of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto that remains the beating heart of Abrams’ series.
The Scotsman – Siobhan Synnot – 4 May 2013
Up until now, Cumberbatch’s antiheroes have been buffoons rather than threats, but Harrison is a piece of full-on, chilly, orotund Shakespearean villainry, and it’s a kick to see Cumberbatch roar, glower and run through glass windows like a weaponised Duracell bunny.
The PlayList – Oliver Lyttelton – 3 May 2013
The actor is as commanding a presence as he ever is, and proves to be surprisingly adept at the badassery too.
TrekMovie.com – Anthony Pascale – 3 May 2013
Only an actor of Benedict Cumberbatch’s caliber could have pulled off the combination of physical and psychological intimidation presented by Harrison. Cumberbatch has a good amount of screen time but he is so powerful he makes you only want more and even when he is not on screen the plot continues to weave around him.
The Daily Mail – Chris Tookey – 3 May 2013
This time, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch attempting to take over the world…With this barnstorming performance, he’s all set to take over the other nations on earth as well. Hollywood loves sneery British villains. Cumberbatch is a worthy successor to some illustrious forebears…and delivers a silky, sinister baddie with commendable, if computer-enhanced, athleticism and an attitude that makes him one of the great movie villains.
The Hollywood Reporter – Todd McCarthy – 2 May 2013
The returning actors all fit their roles with absolute comfort, while the deep-voiced Cumberbatch asserts fully self-justified treachery
The Times – Kate Muir – 2 May 2013
This recipe gains thespian meatiness with Cumberbatch as John Harrison, an ex-member of Starfleet who has turned to the very dark side, and comes equipped with Sherlockian intelligence and swashbuckling coats. His voice reverberates deep into the consciousness of those around, convincing even as it speaks evil.
Variety – Scott Foundas – 2 May 2013
…whatever Cumberbatch is playing, he’s wonderful to watch, infusing the movie with the kind of exotic grandeur Eric Bana’s wan Romulan henchman (arguably the weakest link in the 2009 film) largely lacked.
Screen Daily – Mark Adams – 2 May 2013
John Harrison (an excellent and often mesmeric Benedict Cumberbatch)…Benedict Cumberbatch – so spectacular in the BBC TV series Sherlock – is terrific as the villain, and is the perfect foil for the developing crew and the pairing of Kirk and Spock, who are driven to try and do the right thing.
GQ – Oliver Franklin – 2 May 2013
It’s a superb performance from the Sherlock star, exuding menace as the Enterprise crew warp from set-piece to spectacular set-piece.
The Telegraph – Robbie Collin – 2 May 2013
So what is there to like? Well, Pine and Quinto, and the first half-hour, and of course Cumberbatch, whose cool, bassoony baritone has seldom been put to better use than on lines like: “You can’t even break a rule, Mr Spock. How could you be expected to break bones?”
Radio Times – Paul Jones – 2 May 2013
When Benedict Cumberbatch speaks, industrial bass units developed in partnership with Nasa and the US defence department rumble into life at the back of the auditorium, shaking the foundations of the cinema. The destruction of starships and the levelling of cities sound insignificant in comparison with his stentorian tones.
The Guardian – Andrew Pulver – 1 May 2013
…this is certainly an astute, exhilarating concoction.
Digital Spy – Emma Dibdin – 1 May 2013
There are moments in Cumberbatch’s hypnotic, placid performance where you’ll question whether Harrison is a villain at all – until he strikes, and you wonder how you ever doubted it. He is genuinely terrifying, quasi-reptilian, combining visceral physical threat with a knack for emotional manipulation that wrong-foots Kirk in much the same way it does us.
Time Out – Dave Calhoun – 30 April 2013
It’s compulsory for blockbuster villains to be British of course, and Cumberbatch runs with an imperial theatrical haughtiness rather than trying to bury it. His bad guy is distinctly human, if a little two-dimensional, and he succeeds in showing real ice running through his veins and bringing some weight to a cast that generally offers more geniality than gravitas.
Empire Magazine -Ian Freer – 29 April 2013
Into Darkness is a blast, fun, funny, spectacular and exhilarating.
Total Film – Matthew Leyland – 26 April 2013
Mostly, this is fantastic fun
IGN – Lucy O’Brien – 23 April 2013
Cumberbatch himself has never been better. While he has proven his ability at volatile emotional-detachment with his role in Sherlock, he is, here, a true snake; an expressionless, sliver of a man whose mask only slips when he lunges for his prey.