“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” opened this past weekend, continuing the misadventures of everybody’s favorite pirate that began 14 years and four movies ago.
This movie pits Captain Jack Sparrow against Spanish Captain Salazar in a race for the Trident of Poseidon. With a few new crew members (and a few old ones), a new adventure and the same old Captain Jack, how does this movie stack up to its predecessors?
Not very well.
One of the things that the fourth movie (“On Stranger Tides”) missed was the perfect ensemble of characters that the first three films possessed. By the time “Stranger Tides” rolled around, the main romantic duo (Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan) had effectively been written out of the picture, and Jack and Will’s main foil (James Norrington) killed off.
Despite missing these critical characters, “Stranger Tides” was able to establish itself as its own story apart from its predecessors.
Now with “Dead Men” hitting theaters, many fans of the POTC franchise were excited to hear that Orlando Bloom was returning to reprise his role as Will Turner, who was last seen aboard the Flying Dutchman as its new cursed captain.
However, many may find themselves disappointed, as despite being a major part of the main plot line, Bloom has a very minimal presence; nothing like that of the first three movies. Despite the character’s return, the film still very much lacks the aforementioned dynamic that made the first three films as special as they were.
With its (albeit disappointing) character return, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” also attempts to reach back to film three in order to tie everything together. While some elements of the fourth movie are made mention of, many of its plot is relatively ignored, causing several continuity issues.
“Dead Men” also fails to deliver a believable and menacing villain.
Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar shares a lot of qualities with many of the villains that made up films one through three, making him feel overdone and predictable.
Salazar’s familiarity wouldn’t be so bad though if his character didn’t seem so undeserving of the fear he seems to strike into the hearts of his enemies.
The former movies pitted Captain Jack against the likes of Barbossa, Davy Jones, and Black Beard. These characters seemed like a real threat to our hero, as the latter two have real-life legend and lore to lean on, and Geoffrey Rush delivered a phenomenal villain that became a staple to the franchise.
Compared to these three, Salazar comes across as rather shallow.
The worst part of all, however, is that this movie seemed to lack most of the charm that made films one through three enjoyable and special. Much of the humor is forced, unlike the seemingly natural delivery the prior films executed so well. Sword fights and ship battles are watered down. Jack doesn’t even seem entirely like Jack.
It’s time for The Pearl and its crew to sail off into the horizon.