A new quest, a new villain and some new heroes all add up to an apparently average film. The reviews for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales are in.
Hoist the colors, the pirates have returned. This year’s Memorial Day weekend will be kicked off by the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. With the release less than a week away, the reviews are flooding in and they’re decidedly mixed.
The latest installment introduces Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), son of the original heroes Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. A member of the Royal Navy, Turner teams up with Captain Jack to find Poseidon’s Trident. An astronomer named Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) takes over as heroine, one of the only females in the film.
For most, she’s a welcome addition, but unfortunately underused.
As one blogger put it: “Carina can stand her own ground in a story line filled with over the top male characters.”
The film also brings in a new Big Bad, with Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar mostly garnering praise. As it turns out, Dead Men‘s villain was originally supposed to be female.
The general, albeit begrudging, consensus is simple: Dead Men isn’t terrible, but isn’t amazing. The main complaint is that, hard as it may try, the spirit and comedy of the original trilogy isn’t quite there. That said, it’s still the best one since the first film.
So far, this is the one constant from the very first round of reviews. The movie first screened at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, to mostly positive reviews.
Then again, there are some stark contrasts to the first round of reviews. While Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow has become iconic – and pops up when you least expect it – it’s perhaps the most debated aspect of the new film.
Per the earliest reviews, he’s a drunkenly wonderful as ever:
But in the latest takes, Jack Sparrow seems to be phoned in by Depp this time. As Variety’s Senior Features Writer, Andrew Barker puts it:
"“His performance here is no better and no worse than in his previous two or three outings, though what once was a bracingly anarchic approach is starting to feel a bit old hat, like a standup comic rehashing vintage punchlines for cheers of recognition, rather than laughs.”"
Dead Men is still expected to pillage the box office; Rotten Tomatoes reports 98 percent of its visitors want to see the film.
With such average reception, it’s possible that Dead Men might truly be the end of the Pirates franchise.