Friday, May 26, 2017
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review
If I'm diving into specifics, I think the first movie is a masterpiece. I have watched and re-watched that movie so many times in my life and I have an absolute blast each time. The second movie I don't think is a bad movie, but I do find it slightly underwhelming when compared to the first and I've rarely if ever gone back and watched it after my first time through. The third movie is straight up awful, but it has nothing to do with the actual universe, characters or action sequences. It has everything to do with the plot itself, specifically there being way too much of it. It's nearly three hours long and has so much story crammed into one film and it was hard to follow what in the heck was happening. I think I mentally checked out like a third of the way into the movie. And that's why I actually liked the fourth movie. It was way better than the third and even a slight step above the second. They went in a completely different direction while cutting out most of the side characters and gave us a fun, simple adventure with Jack wanting to find the fountain of youth, running into Blackbeard, mermaids and Penelope Cruz along the way. It wandered a bit in the middle, but overall was able to recapture much of the magic of the first movie.
As far as the plot of this movie goes, if anyone uses the word "convoluted" to describe this movie, I'm going to slap them in the face. That word accurately described the third movie, but not any of the others and certainly not this movie. The major thing with this movie is that we're on the hunt for the trident of Poseidon. The reasons we're searching for this I don't think would be considered a spoiler, but I didn't know why going in, so I'm not going to say. I will say that it does relate to the first trilogy in a clever way that I really appreciated and that a few different people are searching for it for slightly different reasons. One of them is Will Turner's son Henry. Another is our main villain of the movie, a creepy, cursed ghost dude name Salazar, a former captain who, much like Barbosa in the first film, was bested by Jack Sparrow in the past and has a major curse placed on him and his crew that has caused him to hunt down Jack to get his revenge and remove the curse. In fact, in the U.K. the movie is actually called "Salazar's Revenge" instead of "Dead Men Tell No Tales." Even though I do think the U.S. title sounds cooler, that U.K. title might actually be a more accurate description of the movie. Don't know why they couldn't be consistent with the title, but it's whatever.
Based on that description, if this sounds a lot like the first movie, well, it's because it kinda is. I think when they did "On Stranger Tides," they were initially planning on a second trilogy, but I think they abandoned that idea once they learned of the general reaction to that movie as "On Stranger Tides" included an end credits sequence that set up a potential premise for the fifth movie that has nothing to do with this final result of "Dead Men Tell No Tales." Instead we have a movie that parallels the first one quite well. We have an angry sea captain mad at Jack that is trying to reverse a curse placed on their crew. We have a new version of Will and Elizabeth tagging alongside Jack. We have people who need Jack's help for certain reasons as well as people trying to kill Jack for certain reasons. And we're on an adventure to find a mythical object/treasure. Throw in Gibbs and Barbosa as our main supporting characters as well as an opening scene that has Jack trying to escape the government and almost getting himself executed. While I will say that they could've been slightly more creative with this, I instead found this to be an overall net positive as this was able to recapture much, but not all, of the magic of the first movie, making it the best movie since that first one.
I won't say too much about our other characters, but Javier Bardem plays Captain Salazar in the film and he is rather excellent. His look isn't as creepy as Barbosa and crew and in the first movie when they're in the moonlight, but he is sufficiently creepy and awesome, enough for me to knight him as the second best villain this movie has had. Certainly better than Blackbeard in the fourth and squid face in the second. And I don't even remember who the main villain in the third movie is. There are times where Javier Bardem goes a little overboard with his character, but for the most part he is just having a ton of fun with the role and I really enjoyed it. Stealing the whole show for me was actually Barbosa, but I'm not going to say why. His character has come quite a ways since his turn as a villain in the first movie and it's been a great arc that is given a huge emotional turn in this fifth chapter that I really bought. I will say that I was hoping for a slightly more epic final showdown in this movie and I also kinda wanted more ghost sharks because those were sweet, but we did get a pretty good finale that did a fantastic job of wrapping this franchise up if they decide that this is our final chapter. I wouldn't mind a sixth film, but it would probably be best if it doesn't happen.
Overall, if you are a fan of this franchise and are slightly nervous about this awful critics score this movie is getting right now, then I am going to confidently assure you to simply ignore what is being said and go give this movie a shot because chances are you will probably enjoy it. No, it's not on the same level as the first, but that wasn't my expectations going in. I wasn't hoping that this would be the best movie of the summer, but rather I just wanted another fun "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie and that's exactly what I got. If you're not a fan of this franchise and you hated movies two through four, well, I don't know what to tell you because I am not in that boat, but my prediction is that this won't be the movie to covert you back to this franchise. But I will say that if you loved the first one, but hated the second and third one and thus decided to skip the fourth one, then go give the fourth one a chance. Because you might enjoy it. And then go give this movie a chance. The final scenario I can think of is that if you did in fact enjoy the second and third, but weren't a fan of the fourth, I'm guessing that you will enjoy this movie. The moral of the story is that you shouldn't skip this movie. Give it a shot. I had a blast with it and thus my grade for "Dead Men Tell No Tales" is an 8/10.