Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

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Disney’s thought dead franchise tells more tales…

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth movie in the Disney franchise that started out unassumingly in 2003.  The first three movies of this series were really good movies even if they became progressively less good with each sequel.  It got to the point, where there might have been viewer fatigue, as I didn’t even bother with watching the fourth one, although I do plan to eventually. There probably wasn’t a strong clamoring for yet another Pirate movie featuring Jack Sparrow, but the Pirate franchise still is a strong name in the Disney arsenal, so a fifth movie we are given. 

All the POTC movies seem to have the same basic plot. Jack has pissed off some cursed or dead pirate and now they are chasing him to the ends of the earth to exact their revenge.  Jack is the bad boy that doesn’t get the girl in the end but is a threat to the relationship between the girl and a more respectful gentleman.  That’s more or less what is at play here.  The villain here is not a pirate though, but a pirate hunter who was wronged by a younger Jack.

In terms of what works, this movie has amazing visuals. That’s always been a strong point for the POTC series.  Its villains are always unique and creepy looking.  Captain Salazaar and his crew fit the bill even if they seem like knockoff versions of past pirate crews in this franchise. Speaking of Salazaar, I liked how Captain Salazaar’s fate is tied to the past of Jack Sparrow, allowing both of their back stories to be fleshed out and allowing appropriate motivations for his actions during the movie.

The strongest character is Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbosa as he is given more depth in this film.  He’s always been one of POTC’s finest and he continues that here. Brendan Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario are energizing additions to the cast even if their characters are Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan lite.

Everything else about Dead Men Tell No Tales is a bland and mediocre rehash of things that have been done before.  Some of the action works, some of the action is so preposterous you’ll probably roll your eyes. The biggest problem with DMTNT is Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow.  How ironic. POTC’s most iconic character is its biggest flaw.  Jack Sparrow has always been one of my favorite antihero characters, but he comes off as a one note caricature version of his past selves here…uninspired with no furthering of his character at all. There are also no stakes when it comes to Jack, as you always know he is somehow, going to miraculously stumble his way out of any dangerous situation that comes his way. It gets old after a while.

I’ve always been a fan of POTC and in my heart felt, the first three were underrated classics. I really wanted to like this film.  In the end, I was merely along for the ride.  There is not a lot of heart here. As far as summer blockbusters go, it’ll probably satiate your appetite. It was ok but I expect more from this franchise. 

Grade: C

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