Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan


Release date: June 4, 1982

Based on: Star Trek (television series created by Gene Roddenberry)

Directed by: Nicholas Meyer

Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Bibi Besch, Paul Winfield, Kirstie Alley, Ricardo Montalban

Budget: $11.2 million

Box office: $97 million


Fifteen years after being sent into exile, an old nemesis of Kirk’s returns and seeks revenge.

Coming four years after the first film, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan takes all the good elements found in its predecessor and builds upon them to give audiences an enjoyable tale of revenge and self-reflection while taking care of the pacing problems to produce a much tighter film. The story sees a character from one episode of the show returning and being given the chance to get back at Kirk for sending him into exile. At the same time, Kirk faces his own mortality and gets a chance to reflect on the experiences he’s gained throughout a life of service to Starfleet.  

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This dichotomy, between Khan’s lust for revenge and Kirk taking the time to think about his life in an existential midlife crisis, make the two great foils for each other. Throughout the film, Khan sees himself as superior to Kirk in every possible way, going so far as to let his desire for vengeance cloud his judgement. This is compared to Kirk as he spends most of the film contemplating and seeking to figure what’s ultimately best for himself. Through it all, he comes to understand how life comprised of both the best and worst of times and they are all worth embracing as learning experiences.

Additionally, this film notably does well in showing what can be done in the three-dimensional void of space. Khan is seen as having trouble thinking in more than two dimensions and therefore treats space as if it were an ocean. However, Kirk had been established as being able to strategize in three dimensions as well as having an unwillingness to accept defeat in any scenario and uses both to his advantage. Where Khan can only move forward and backward with his ship, Kirk instead figures out a way to take advantage of moving up and down in his plans.

This is a great film, worth watching for not just fans of the series but anyone who enjoys science fiction or revenge plots.



Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Actor (William Shatner)
  • Best Director


Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD Classic Film Release
  • Best Science Fiction Film
  • Best Supporting Actor (Walter Koenig)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Kirstie Alley)
  • Best Writing
  • Best Costumes
  • Best Make-Up

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation

International Film Music Critics Awards

  • Best New Release/Re-Release of an Existing Score