Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is back and the result is largely unnecessary, but sporadically entertaining.
The story focuses on Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the son of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s characters from the original film. He’s trying to find Poseidon’s trident, which will reverse a curse placed on his father. Of course, he needs the help of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), who is being pursued by a ghost captain (Javier Bardem) who wants revenge on Jack for his own death. Also helping the hero is the young astronomer Karina (Kaya Scodelario). Last but not least, Geoffrey Rush’s pirate captain from the original is back, too.
As usual for the franchise, this movie’s plot is too convoluted for its own good. But since Gore Verbinski stopped directing the films, they at least don’t run on for 2.5 hours or more (although Dead Men Tell No Tales still runs too long at 129 minutes). While the film grinds to a halt whenever it gets bogged down in its own plot and mythology, there are some fun action scenes, most notably one where Thwaites and friends have to rescue Depp and Scodelario from a guillotine and the hangman simultaneously. Speaking of Scodelario, she has charisma to spare and makes the strongest impression of the performers. She should have a bright career ahead of her.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is forgettable but passably entertaining. Considering how dire 2017 has been so far cinematically, that makes it better than many of its counterparts.