In short, the movie was pretty freaking amazing.
That's a brilliant way to set aside all that came before, but still having it be part of the canon. They pay homage and acknowledge that everything we know and love about Star Trek always happened, but now they're free to tell new stories with familiar characters, who aren't exactly like we remember. it's a perfect blend of familiarity with unexpectedness.
After some really poor effects in Wolverine, it was such a nice change of pace to watch Star Trek. The scenery, the vistas, the cityscapes were absolutely breathtaking. I believed the city on Vulcan was real, it looked that good.
I was concerned that while this was a fun action ride, that it might miss the mark of some of the best of Trek, and that's using science fiction as a vehicle to say something. While it never quite reached those heights, it did at least do some very good character work, and did try to illustrate roads not taken, and being better than you think you are, so its all good. It could have been much worse, and at least wasn't a brainless action movie. But it wasn't "Spock's Brain" either. =)
The cast was, each and every one, perfect. They felt natural in their roles, and I bought them as younger versions of old favourites. I might even say Pine was a better Kirk, but I don't wanna be lynched. ;) Chekov was really the only one that felt a bit forced to me, but the character has always been problematic, IMO.
There was maybe a little TOO much fanservice in the movie. Almost everyone had their signature line, and as expected, a cheer or laugh went up from the audience. It was fun, but maybe got a little too cutesy after awhile. Heck, they even snuck in a shout out to the show Enterprise. And while it got the biggest laugh from me, it might have been trying too hard at that point. =)
The monsters on the ice planet were a little bit gratuitous and actiony for the sake of it, but on the other hand, I welcomed having some *actual* aliens in the picture, in an otherwise bipedally humanoid universe. Not enough truly alien things in science fiction space romps. So, it was a bit cheesy, but I thought it made for a richer universe.
I forsee some people complaining about some of the goofy humour, the jokey things that didn't really go anywhere, like Kirk's gigantohands, and Scotty stuck in the tubes. However, I remember many a Trek, even in recent shows, that had a fair amount of humour, and keeping things light, and that fit in very well in the universe that has gone before. It also helped keep what could be very dark subject matter from overwhelming the picture. And they were fun. Just remember, the #1 classic episode had little furry balls of fluff that were pure comedy gold.
But flaws aside, this was an amazing movie, that balanced spectacle with characters, and restarts the Trek universe in a fun, interesting way, and allowing for new stories to be told with old friends. The old toys have been put up on the shelves, and the new ones are here to play with now. Is it too little, too late? Only time and the box office returns will tell. I wholeheartedly hope to see more of this universe.
Oh yeah, and JJ Abrams sure does love his giant red balls of doom, doesn't he?