Directors: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg
Notable Cast: Johnny Depp, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Stephen Graham, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Paul McCartney
Also Known As: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge
To give a bit of context to this review, my opinion of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is far from a positive one. Like most people, I was massively surprised by the quality of the first, but the second and third entries left me cold and/or irritated by the sheer and immense spectacle driven focus that they had quickly succumbed to. However, with dire expectations in hand, the fourth film was surprisingly fun. It stripped away a ton of the melodramatic set pieces for a much more efficient (and for some, boring) summer blockbuster formula that left me pleasantly surprised. That is not, however, a statement of On Stranger Tides’ quality as it certainly was not a film to challenge its viewers or was even executed in any kind of artistic fashion. It accepted itself for all its silliness and delivered a fun standalone feature.
This now brings us to the focus of this review, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, a somewhat hilarious title considering that at least half of its main returning characters have been dead or dead-like for at least some portion of this franchise. As the fifth entry into this franchise, it was mildly touted as a finale that would wrap up some threads left hanging while maintaining the classic concepts and even ‘returning to its roots’ to fix some of the issues that fans had with the fourth entry. True to its promises, it kind of does all of those things. Kind of. And it still delivers a fun summer kick off blockbuster that fans will find enjoyable enough. Truthfully though, Dead Men Tell No Tales is something of a mess narratively speaking, sticking to the formula with almost vicious intent and failing to really add anything truly inspired or new, but not quite sinking to the depths of poorly crafted storytelling that the second and third entry hit. To put it simply, it’s a lot of the same old, same old. For better or worse.