Had I seen it before: No.
What IMDb says: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon while being pursued by an undead sea captain and his crew.
– At least one series of films (Parts 5 of 5 complete!!!!)
Why I picked it: I needed to explore a series of movies and I really like the first PotC movie. It was time to finally invest some time in watching all the sequels and doing it properly.
What I liked: After On Stranger Tides, I was prepared for the worse. So I was pleasantly surprised by Dead Men Tell No Tales. There were some flaws sure, but this one did a much better job of taking the world established in the first three movies and expanding and enriching it. We got to see elements of the universe we hadn’t seen before, such as Jack Sparrow in his younger days as well as Will in his older days.
While On Stranger Tides didn’t even mention Will Turner or Elizabeth Swann in passing, Dead Men Tell No Tales features their son trying to save Will from his curse. It was an idea that made sense and actually felt like a natural continuation from where At World’s End left off. The fantasy elements were much stronger here as well. On Stranger Tides was actually a little too realistic for my tastes. There were mermaids and that was about it. I’m glad to see the filmmakers realized that without undead pirates, it just doesn’t feel like a PotC movie.
Overall I found the film entertaining, and consistent with the universe. I’m not 100% sure they could’ve done all that much better without getting Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley to agree to larger roles in the movie.
What I didn’t like: While Henry and Carina were decent enough characters in their own rights, I don’t think they had any romantic chemistry together. My belief that they like each other comes not from their actual interactions with each other, but from other characters like Jack insisting the mutual affection is there. This is a bit of a problem given that there are several instances where these characters do rather dramatic things supposedly because they’re in love with each other. I understood what the motivation was supposed to be but I didn’t really feel that motivation in my soul.
I also was shocked at how easy it was to get the Black Pearl back. For most of this movie, the Black Pearl is gone and Jack is yearning to get it back. The way it finally comes back takes about two seconds and requires very little effort. It was the kind of thing that made me wonder why they never did that sooner. Getting the Pearl back could’ve been the kind of challenge that added an extra layer of action to the story and made our heroes’ journey all the more trying but no. Maybe they just didn’t have the budget for it.
Will I watch it again: I actually think I might someday. I’m intrigued to know what would happen if you re-watched the entire franchise and skipped On Stranger Tides. How much of a difference would it make?