Understandably lamented by series fatigue, this movie has been thoroughly shredded by critics. But audience affection for these adventures is still strong, evident in the film’s grossing of over 500 million dollars globally as of this writing. As a piece of film for anyone with a critical eye, Dead Men Tell No Tales doesn’t offer much new; there are cursed ghost pirates, there’s an adventure to break said curse. But what can’t be denied is that this movie advances the series of Pirates quite well to it’s inevitable slogged finish some years from now, tying to the core story of the series far better than previous films.
Series fatigue aside, the film’s strength lies on the performances of Johnny Depp (Jack Sparrow) and Geoffrey Rush (Captain Barbossa), much as the first film did. This return to a focus on the star performances of these grand pirates is much welcomed to the previous adaption, Stranger Tides, which although included Depp, felt aimless and forgetful. My theory is that to advance the story as they had in Dead Men, Stranger Tides was used as a filler to help pass time to avoid whiplash in certain aspects between the previous films (and lets face it, to make more money). Perhaps the greatest rooting addition that Dead Men adds is somewhat of an origin story for much of the legendary Jack Sparrow.
For cinema critics, this adaptation still does no justice to the original film which made such a splash, but dammit if you aren’t satisfied watching an infinite adventure with Jack Sparrow, then you’re taking film far too seriously too often. The Pirates series should be taken as it is: fun. And this movie perfectly illustrates that as the best movie after The Curse of the Black Pearl.