After taking a movie off, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley make their triumphant return in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales.
Bloom has three scenes and Knightley’s only dialog is a groan in the end-credits scene.
While William and Elizabeth Turner are barely in the movie, they are the fulcrum on which it turns; the motivation that sets the entire plot into motion. Their son, Henry, is trying to break the curse of the Flying Dutchman and free William.
You see, all is not well with that. While the end of the third movie showed life on the Flying Dutchman post-Davy Jones as rather pristine and affable, it seems that in the beginning of the fifth movie that the ship and crew were starting to transform back into their monstrous forms … which were supposed to be a punishment for abandoning their assigned mission of helping those who died at sea pass on. This will get odder still later on.
So Henry seeks this movie’s MacGuffin, the Trident of Poseidon, which is said to be able to break the sea’s curses. (Actually, it breaks all of them. Which the movie completely forgets when the post-credits scene teases the return of the cursed version of Davy Jones).
Henry throws in with a down on his luck Jack Sparrow and a love interest whose entire personality is lazily constructed as a foil for the superstitious Henry, as all three of them just sho happen to meet each other on the same day, all just happening to seek the trident for their own purposes.
Joining the chase are Captain Barbossa, the British Navy (who, once at sea are entirely extraneous unlike in the previous four films), and the real villains: a ghostly crew of Spanish pirate hunters out for revenge. I do applaud the series continuing to depict Spaniards in the, you know, Spanish Main following On Stranger Tides’ 11th-hour flirtation.
The pacing is swift, and the action set pieces are creative and clever enough to meet expectations set by the first two movies. There’s even some good one-liners that land well. But there’s also a lot of extraneous ideas that just go nowhere. A witch is kicking around blatantly to cut the plot’s corners. The British Navy served literally no purpose, making their setup and various appearances a complete waste of time.
Verdict: Rental? (3/5). To put it succinctly, it’s better than 3 and 4, but not as good as 1 and 2.