An interesting review. The only part I disagree with is that the real Kirk (from TOS, played by Bill Shatner) is implied to be as arrogant as Nu-Kirk (Pine).
"Spock’s death excuses the arrogance of stranding Khan on a planet without telling anybody, of hijacking the Enterprise while it’s on a cadet cruise in the pursuit of glory." No, it was all about Kirk's greatness, not arrogance. He offered Khan to build his own world, without risking anybody else. Okay, the planet was blown off-course, but who knew that? And hijacking the Enterprise wasn't in pursuit of glory. Kirk was a flag officer, entrusted with the secret of Genesis, the most powerful force in the Trekverse this side of the Omega Molecule. He had to protect it, at all costs.
All very interesting. However, as a rule such a decision, while in a starship captain's purview, would have been reported to higher command authority, both at a local Starbase level, as it would be that commander's responsibility to keep tabs on their situation, as they could turn out to be a problem for ships both civilian and Starfleet who might have to land there for whatever reason. Also, by the time that this was set long range sensors, astronomical telemetry, etc.... would have detected a planet exploding. Kirk would also have had to report his actions to Starfleet Command. As his executive officer, Commander Spock would have been obliged to also turn in a report. That's the way command authority works in reel and real life. And lets not forget those pesky ship-board optical scanners recording every detail of Khan's actions. Not to mention a crew of 400 plus telling their slant on it. After that, what Starfleet chose to do with it was their responsibility. You need to reexamine your preconceived notions about the character. Finally, it was just a plot device to hang another movie on. One that would bring back the fans who lived to see Kirk and crew shooting up the galaxy, and generally kicking ass.
With her warp and impulse engines on like that it sort of looks like she's flying towards the Klingon ship, playing 'chicken'. Actually that would be an interesting scene had the movie tried that. That sounds more of a 'young Kirk' move though.
All this grief over a scientific project to help with population control. And Kruge seriously thought Genesis was a doomsday weapon? What an idiot! Why didn't David Marcus just come out and say what its purpose really was; hell I'd bet Kruge would call him a liar anyway.
I have always thought that the refit Connie is one of the most beautiful starships to ever grace the big screen. While I don't hate the JJprise, I do think that she is too flashy and "hot-rod" for my taste. But this beauty? I raise my glass to her.