Review: Johnny Depp’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Sets Sail with ‘Dead Men’


In the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, titled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Johnny Depp returns as the beloved Captain Jack Sparrow, steering the ship back on course after a series of lackluster films. This fifth chapter in the swashbuckling saga (rated PG-13) delivers an engaging tale that intertwines family legacies, thrilling action, and a formidable new villain portrayed by Javier Bardem. Join Captain Jack Sparrow on his drunken yet captivating seafaring adventure in theaters nationwide starting Thursday night.

The Redemption of Captain Jack Sparrow

Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Bandidas), Dead Men finds Jack Sparrow down on his luck, with his shrunken flagship, the Black Pearl, tucked away. Jack’s plans to pilfer a bank safe in a colonial British village go awry, leading to unexpected encounters with two young individuals whose paths align with his own.

The Curse of Henry Turner

Henry Turner (played by Brenton Thwaites) has been on a lifelong quest to locate Jack, seeking his assistance in breaking his father Will’s curse (Orlando Bloom). Will is fated to captain the Flying Dutchman for eternity. Meanwhile, Carina Smyth (portrayed by Kaya Scodelario), a resourceful astronomer armed with a diary filled with clues, embarks on a quest to find the legendary Trident of Poseidon. This powerful artifact holds the key to Henry’s mission of rescuing his father, and Jack soon realizes its significance. However, their endeavors unwittingly unleash the vengeful Captain Salazar (Bardem), an anti-pirate Spanish Navy officer consumed by a desire to eliminate Jack for condemning him and his crew to a fiery demise.

A Treacherous Voyage

Dead Men takes audiences on a turbulent journey fraught with shifting allegiances, spontaneous mutinies, and intricate plot twists. Jack’s crew members exhibit wavering loyalties, while the notorious pirate antagonist, Hector Barbossa (played by Geoffrey Rush), makes a dramatic return. Amidst the chaotic whirlpool of personalities, the burgeoning relationship between Henry and Carina struggles to survive, all while a bearded Paul McCartney adds to the spectacle.


Unraveling the Tapestry

To its credit, Dead Men ties up loose ends from previous installments. Henry’s lineage is revealed—he is the son of characters played by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in the initial trilogy. Furthermore, Brenton Thwaites’s portrayal suggests that he may be groomed to assume the helm of the franchise, possibly even sharing the spotlight with Johnny Depp.

Carina Smyth: A Feminist Force

Kaya Scodelario’s portrayal of Carina exudes the essence of a quintessential pirate, showcasing both charm and a resilient spirit. Despite societal constraints, Carina defies traditional gender roles, making significant contributions to scientific pursuits. After centuries of the Jolly Roger narrative featuring wenches and harlots, Carina represents a refreshing change, championing feminism on the high seas.

Thrilling Action and Formidable Foes

True to the series’ nature, Dead Men delivers exhilarating action sequences. Jack’s crew finds themselves pulling an entire bank through town, reminiscent of the thrilling set pieces that captivated audiences in the franchise’s original 2003 film. Meanwhile, Captain Salazar and his ghostly crew are masterpieces of CGI, their spectral forms serving as haunting reminders of their violent demise. Salazar’s crew, adorned with decaying flesh and skeletal remnants,appear truly menacing. While their phantom fish companions add a touch of horror, it is Bardem’s portrayal of Salazar that steals the show. His venomous and vengeful demeanor rivals that of Davy Jones, making him one of the nastiest adversaries Sparrow has encountered.

A Resurrected Franchise

Dead Men proves that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise still has life left in its sails. After a period of stagnation, this latest installment rejuvenates the series with its captivating storyline and well-executed action sequences.

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