The best part for me is the ensemble cast. There was rarely a false note among the actors. Standouts here are definitely Zachary Quinto as Spock, Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison, and Simon Pegg as Scotty. Chris Pine played a wonderfully brash Kirk as always, but I don't think the story allowed him as much time to shine as it did in the prior.
Quinto is wonderful. How he balances Spock's emotion or his supposed lack thereof is brilliant. As an audience member, I would search his face as Kirk did for some revelatory manner or something that would reveal what was beneath the intellectual facade, but Quinto only reveals it in the most fantastic way, adding more depth to the climax of the movie.
I love the dynamic between Quinto and Pine. And it's great to get a little more out of each of the minor characters in this movie here, from Bones to Sulu.
There are a few references and sort of in-jokes to the other Star Trek movies, but Abrams has created a separate universe and storyline with the reboot of the previous movie, allowing him to explore new territory while remaining true to the character of the old.
Into Darkness had a good mesh of humor, action, and emotion. Everything you could hope for. Michael Giacchino's score is excellence incarnate. The way he melds the villain's theme in different variations and elements throughout the movie was stunning. I especially loved the scenes where they cut out the sound design and let the music speak for itself.
If you haven't seen this movie yet, go.