I agree with you about the weak plot and time travel backstory.
The new kirk seems like an asshole...
That's because he is. Had I written the Kobayashi Maru scene, I would've had Kirk play it straight (or straighter), instead of having him make it obvious that he cheated and flaunting it before the test ended. That wasn't very well done.
Spock and Uhura were way too visible. Spock would've been more discreet in any romantic dealings with anyone, and Uhura would've understood Spock enough not to make a scene and put him on the spot. Overall, the Vulcans were a bit too happy-go-lucky for my tastes, both full-blooded and otherwise. The elder at the Science Academy had way too much attitude. A true Vulcan would not have been offended by Spock's decision.
McCoy had practically nothing to do, although the actor seemed competent. Sulu was one of the best written characters, but he was also underused. Again, actor handled the limited role well, but neither of them were the real thing. That's juts a personal bias I can't get around after four decades of watching the originals.
...and what the hell is that ewok with eyestalks that they gave to scotty?
lol Scotty made the scene too late to have an impact on the chemistry, but he would've helped had he been involved earlier... although that little comedy relief friend of his should've been cut. Way too much Jar Jar Binks factor there... God help the sequels.
RE: 'Star Trek': An exclusive first look at the Enterprise