The Star Trek TV show was an important step in the evolution of science fiction, a post-Cold War series that offered a hopeful future, a future where race, creed, religion and gender were irrelevant and that even aliens from other planets were accepted as equals. The TV show spawned additional series, along with ten feature films, but things had become rather grim and the campy humor and brash personalities of the Star Trek universe had become tired cliches held together with duct tape and old tropes.
That's why in 2009 when wunderkund director J.J.Abrams released the "reboot" film Star Trek, it was so well received. We all still want to believe in a future that's better then the present, we all hope that the human race is going to create harmony, even if there are weird alien races in the mix. The film did very well financially, with domestic grosses topping $250 million.
Star Trek Into Darkness takes place a few years after Star Trek ends, opening with a cartoonish sequence where Spock (Zachary Quinto) risks his life to prevent a nascent civilization being destroyed by a volcano. When he ends up stranded in the fiery caldera it's up to Kirk (Chris Pine) to violate the ever-important Prime Directive by revealing the ship to the locals in order to rescue Spock. But Spock has also violated the Prime Directive himself by interfering with the natural progress of the local tribe. Not good.
Back on Earth, Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) later gives them the bad news: Kirk is suspended from Starfleet and Spock is reassigned to a minor space mission as consequence for violating the rule that Starfleet holds highest in its code of conduct.