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Indyfreak's Movie Reviews (503)

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 
It's a good enough ending. Is that spoiler free?
3/4 stars

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a solid addition to the one franchise in Hollywood I'm sure no one saw coming, that one swashbuckler series based off a theme park ride. Who know?

Anyway, Dead Men Tell No Tales revisits the drunken rascal Captain Jack Sparrow who must thwart yet another supernatural villain to save his own hide-and the world if he must. This new foe is ghost pirate Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) whose ghastly crew include phantom sailors, zombie sharks, and a ship which devours other vessels. Despite this impressive arsenal, Salazar desires the Trident of Poseidon which controls the ocean. Therefore, Jack Sparrow must reunite with Barbossa and a pair of young twentysomethings (Kaya Scoledario; Brenton Thwaites) that play the "will they or won't they" game until the end.

It's actually good fun for the most part. Unfortunately for Dead Men Tell No Tales, its best strength is its biggest weakness. These movies are often chaotic and zany and overwhelm the audience's senses at their own peril. Beyond a point, it is exhausting. Perhaps that's why the running time is significantly shorter than the other installments. The action and effects sometimes literally engulf the characters and thus the viewers. It's cool looking yes but afterwards, you feel weary.

Johnny Depp is somewhat relegated to his original role in the first film. The strange supporting character who counterbalances the younger and more levelheaded protagonist. Who in this case is Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), son of Will Turner that is bent on freeing Orlando Bloom from the curse of not banging Keira Knightley. This is not a spoiler btw it's the first scene in the movie. Thwaites is far more likable than in the disastrous wannabe epic from 2016, Gods of Egypt. Kaya Scoledario play an aspiring astronomer seeking the Trident for her personal reasons. She fulfills the void left by Keira Knightley rather well and asserts herself confidently against the mugging by three of Hollywood's most noteworthy character actors (Depp, Bardem, and Rush).

The action and CGI is excellent. There is this sense of scale and excitement sorely lacking in the fourth movie. The dramatic bits are indeed predictable but at least feel more sweet than shallow. It's hard to say whether or not that a fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean series was even necessary. Cynics will say only one film was needed at all but for those wanting something to conclude things on a high note, Dead Men Tell No Tales gets the job done.


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