Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review
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It’s been six years since Disney’s band of pirates last took to the high seas in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. But while some may have thought that Johnny Depp and company were ready to sail off into the sunset, they’re back in action for the fifth film in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Dead Men Tell No Tales catches up with Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow at a low point in his pirating career. He’s lost his ship, and he seems to have lost his luck, and now his crew has given up on him, too. To make matters worse, a ghost ship led by a ruthless captain from Jack’s past is coming after him, and the only way to save himself is to find the famed Trident of Poseidon. So he teams up with a pair of hopeful young seafarers on a race for the Trident.

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has certainly had its share of ups and downs throughout its 14-year history. But, just like its wacky main character—who’s fought his way out of some of the very tightest spots—the franchise just keeps coming back for more.

For the most part, Dead Men Tell No Tells is just what audiences are expecting. It’s loaded with epic action sequences and eye-popping effects (especially if you happen to see it in IMAX 3D). It’s bold and dynamic and absolutely overstuffed with storylines. Each character seems to have his or her own story—and they’re all twisted and tangled and caught up within one another until it’s all a bit of an unruly mess.

But the story isn’t the only thing that’s messy here; the characters are messy, too. Depp’s madcap hero spends most of the film staggering around with a bottle in his hand. And though his wackiness is all a part of his quirky charm (or at least it once was), he can also be too dim-witted and immature for his own good. Meanwhile, Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar is more than just creepy; there’s something just slightly uncomfortable about his whole performance. And the young characters, played by Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario, are almost entirely forgettable. Together, they make for an action-packed but unremarkable summer blockbuster.

For fans of the series, Dead Men Tell No Tales is at least an entertaining reunion, with plenty of supernatural swashbuckling action. Just don’t expect the same cleverness and charisma of the original. That ship has long since sailed.

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