This is one of those unique movies where if you are a fan or at least are knowledgable about a few things from the television show then you will get a lot more out of it. Also, it was made so that you can enjoy it if you never saw any of the past shows. This is a very thin line to walk and with most films that do it they end up catering too much to the people who never saw the show. With that in mind, the movie succeeds on both accounts.
Star Trek is a prequel/reboot/reimagining to the tv series and movies of the past. It follows young Kirk and Spock mostly and shows how they were raised, their families, lives, and how they got into the space academy to work together. It also re-introduces familiar ship mates Ohura, McCoy, Sulu, and others. Kirk is established as the rebel who does what he wants and all that blah blah that we've seen before to drill it into the audiences head that Kirk is gonna be the crazy one and do what he wants and not obey authority.
The main story is the villain known as Nero who, and without giving away spoilers or getting into the real story story, a star went supernova and was out of control, Spock told Nero that he didn't have to evacuate his planet as he could take care of the supernova before it reached them. Well he didn't make it and Nero holds Spock responsible and chases him down. Using Red Matter, they inadvertently create a black hole that takes them into the past where Kirk's father is piloting a ship. Nero strikes and destroys Kirk and his ship and continues to chase Spock. Kirk is all grown up now and is convinced to be like his father and joins Starfleet. They go after Nero to stop him from destroying other planets.
There is tons more there but it would take a while to type it all and it would give a lot of it away.
It is a good film once it get past i'd say the halfway point. The first half with all the exposition and setting up and explaining and introducing takes too long and nothing really happens.
Once things get movie though, it doesn't let up. The second half is great.
Little thing they threw in were calling McCoy "Bones" like the TV series, Kirk making out with a green woman like on the show, McCoy saying 'damn it i'm a doctor not a (whatever is being talked about), Leonard Nemoy reprising his role as Spock, and a few other nods.
Even if you aren't a fan of the show I still suggest watching it. Give it a chance to get going and it is a great film. I would hope it gets more people to see the show or at least the orignal movies but the level of laziness in our world right now makes me think thatll never happen.
Not joke heavy and retains a serious tone
Clever nods to television show
Successful reboot that sets up more to come
Slow first half
pounded into your head that Kirk is a rebel