To say that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (or Salazar’s Revenge in some territories) is an improvement, would only be true given how abysmal a movie its predecessor was.
And this is coming from a guy who thinks that the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies were actually fine. A little overstuffed, sure, but ultimately fine.
The worst part with Dead Men Tell No Tales however, is that it starts off promisingly, introducing a premise that ties itself back to the original trilogy and hints at some form of an emotional connection with some old characters… and then the movie actually starts and the whole thing’s pretty much just forgotten.
At this point, it’s almost like the writers are pretty much going through Jack Sparrow’s accessories (or Johnny Depp’s laundry) and picking out items that haven’t had enough screen time just so they can craft an unnecessary pseudo-backstory and throw it into their mascot’s past.
Also, how many more movies are we gonna have to sit through of Jack Sparrow beginning as an unapologetically inhumane bastard, only to reveal a soft, inner-niceness about himself by the end? It’s almost like he’s the Disney version of Southpark’s Kenny–kill him all you want, but he’s still gonna show no change in the following movie.
More embarrassing is the constant abuse of Geoffrey Rush’s Hector Barbossa (still the definitive villain of the franchise) who was given an appropriate send off in the first movie, an epic return in the second, and show-stealing role in the third.
While he was mostly set furnishing in On Stranger Tides, at the very least he wasn’t the victim of a shoehorned plot that made almost NO SENSE WHATSOEVER! Seriously, this was bordering on some “Martha!” bullshit right there.
In all, there was really nothing good about the movie. The directing was lazy, none of the actors looked like they wanted to be there (‘cept maybe for poor Kaya Scodelario who certainly deserved a better movie), Depp is clearly no longer just acting drunk, and the few anticipated cameos feel like they were blackmailed into it.
The franchise sorely misses Gore Verbinski, as does the audience.
I’m not gonna spend much time applauding the graphics. It’s an effing Disney movie. If they could make the ocean look good in Finding Dory, they definitely can make it look fine here.
The one ray of hope may be that the writer of the inevitable 6th film ball-up and bring the focus back to the characters who actually have a stake in the going-ons of the story. With the potential set-up here, maybe a Depp-less Pirates 6 is what the franchise needs.