Despite being plagued with a weariness and retread nature, there are small bursts of excitement in the action sequences, albeit cartoonish in nature. There’s plenty of ship-to-ship combat where cannons go boom and wood goes ka-pow. Depp enters the picture with an amusing and destructive robbery of a bank that leads to an unorthodox chase. A wall opens up on the ocean floor, deep and sturdy enough to make Moses blush.
All of these scenes look great, but are lacking a certain wit and enthusiasm that director Gore Verbinski inserted so well. Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg can’t find that familiar spark of the series that was able to perform a grand balancing act of swashbuckling theatrics and snappy dialogue. And the rather weak script by Jeff Nathanson tacks on so many tertiary themes that the quick resolves in the third act come off more lazy than intently heartfelt.
There was a time when seeing the familiar cast of Pirates of the Caribbean return to their roles on screen was an invigorating sensation. Now it’s more of a tired a perplexion as to why they’re back for a fifth film. The inevitable sequel will be less about how much these characters can be expanded upon and more about what action sequence they can be shoved in and which mythical McGuffin can be combed off the ocean floor. One thing is for certain based on these five movies: The next movie will be too long, too expensive and too infatuated with Jack’s slurring, drinking and wobbling. After enduring these formulaic movies for so long, I want Jack to walk the plank or succumb to alcohol poisoning. If his character dies, so does the series. And dead franchises tell no bland sequels.