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Chris Pine praises Benedict Cumberbatch as Star Trek baddie

Benedict Cumberbatch is "formidable" as the villain of Star Trek Into Darkness , according to leading man Chris Pine.

Pine - who will reprise his role as Captain James T. Kirk - praised the Sherlock actor while promoting animated family flick Rise Of The Guardians .

"Obviously I can't say much, but there's one scene in it. It's a really hard scene, not for me, but for Benedict. And watching him handle that and to make something that I think, on paper, could have really been a death trap for an actor", said the star. “He’s formidable as an actor and as a character in the story.”

According to the synopsis released last week , J.J. Abrams’ follow up to his rollicking 2009 reboot will take the franchise into far darker territory, as the Enterprise returns to an Earth in crisis. Infiltrated by Cumberbatch’s elusive villain, the fleet has been detonated and it's up to Kirk and his crew to defeat this “one man weapon of mass destruction”.

Pine’s appraisal comes just after the release of a new teaser poster showing a black-clad Cumberbatch surveying a mangled cityscape.

The details of this shadowy character remain firmly under wraps but as we anxiously await the trailer one thing seems certain - our Benedict has done us proud in the Brit-abroad stakes.

Directed by J.J. Abrams and co-starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Benedict Cumberbatch, Star Trek Into Darkness will open in the UK on 17 May 2013.