When we first met Captain Kirk in the form of Chris Pine in 2009’s Star Trek, he was a very outgoing young man, joining the Starfleet out of spite. That’s all transformed at the beginning of Star Trek Beyond, which has Kirk smack in the middle of his five-year mission. “What he’s lost are those encouraging factors that obligated him and propelled him in the beginning,” says Pine. “He’s a man now. He’s angry. He’s done well. And then it’s like he says to himself: ‘So now what? If I don’t have these things driving me, do I even want to be here?’”
“He’s lost his zest,” Pine states. “And I absolutely know what that feels like.” Pine was in the blockbuster-movie class in his 20s, and his role in Star Trek got him action-guy parts in top-billed films. He combated a train with Denzel Washington in Unstoppable. He went up against Tom Hardy for Reese Witherspoon in This Means War. He started in the Jack Ryan remake Shadow Recruit. He was also Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman.
“When I was a young actor, I was pretty much completely motivated by validation,” he says. “I just wanted to be told I was handsome and great and a part of the clique. It was very simple animal-social stuff. I don’t really care about these any longer. Things have changed. I, like Kirk, have to discover new things to move me into my career’s future.
He may be one of the Federation’s most well-known captains, but Captain Kirk is just a big buffoon. It’s okay since imperfection is what makes him great at what he does. He certainly didn’t get where he was by doing right all the time.
Kirk is very imperfect. He possesses no superpowers.