(Gonna try not to cuss) I will start by saying I was/am fanatical about all three of the first ones. Yes the original is still the best, but the second is almost every damn bit as good. The plot was creative enough that it felt necessary, the writing was on par with the first, and Davy Jones is SO freaking good oh my god he is literally my favorite villain of all time (save for Agent Smith). The third one has its flaws (though I really can't think of any besides Keira Knightley's acting being occasionally over the top), but as a whole it's a WONDERFUL movie. Like sweet Jesus, Hans Zimmer's freaking score for that movie alone is goddamn legendary. And as a result I totally bought into the romance between Will & Elizabeth and really just felt an emotional connection to the whole series because of it (much like the emotion Howard Shore's music invokes for LotR). But what makes the third one so impressive is how well it handles ALL of that crazy plot while still introducing great new sh*t like the Brethren Court.
But I'm not here to talk about how great the original trilogy was. Odds are, most of you liked them too. What I want to talk about briefly before I tear Dead Men Tell No Tales to shreds, is On Stranger Tides. From what I gather, the fourth installment was/is NOT very popular. I like it. And I'll tell you why. While it didn't have the same epic sense of scale and adventure and romance and everything that made the first three so great, IT STILL HAD GOOD WRITING. It was clever, and witty, and funny as ever. And this is because Ted & Terry were still writing them, not FRICKING Jeff Nathanson. OMFG I'll get to him later. I would urge you though to go back and give On Stranger Tides another chance, especially if you've now seen the fifth installment. I think you'll find that even though it doesn't quite hold up against the first three it still FEELS like a Pirates of the Caribbean, and for all the reasons that Dead Men Tell No Tales did not, and here they are:
1) Johnny Depp has completely lost it. It's like he forgot how to play Jack Sparrow. There were seriously times watching him when I thought he was more Mad Hatter than he was Jack Sparrow. And it's so sad to watch. The old Jack was an idiot sure, but he was always clever, he was always suave, always cool. In this he's just silly. It's embarrassing. I'm serious when I say he acts like the Mad Hatter, you'll see what I mean. In the fourth one he at least still felt like Jack Sparrow.
2) Zimmer's so called "protege" Geoff Zanelli is so forgettable. I was actually trying to listen for his music but the only times the music stood out was when he was rehashing Zimmer's themes. And some of you may be like *sissy voice "oh that's all Zimmer did was rehash Badelt's themes". BISH PLEASE. Not only did he make Badelt's original theme sound even better, he introduced so many new ones (Jack's theme, Davy Jones' theme, Will & Elizabeth's theme). Even On Stranger Tides added a fun new Spanish twist to the old stuff.
3) Salazar, Henry, & Carina are also all completely forgettable. They're worse than Blackbeard (who I actually quite liked), Philip, and Syrena. There is hardly ANY character development for them and what little there was felt SO forced. I feel terrible for them (especially Thwaites and Bardem) because they're not bad actors (Bardem is actually a fantastic actor) but they just got saddled with one of the WORST freaking scripts of all time, which brings me to my final and primary complaint with the fifth installment.
4) JEFF NATHANSON IS CANCER. I mean my biggest (only) concerns from the start (because let's be honest the trailer's gave NO hint that the movie would be this bad) were the fact that Zimmer wasn't composing and that JEFF NATHANSON, the idiot who ruined Indiana Jones, was writing it, but I NEVER thought he could have F'd up this movie, not as badly as he did. Like, the movie had SO much going for it. Salazar could have been another great villain to put alongside Jones and Barbossa, but he was totally wasted with minimal and poor dialogue. Carina Smith, a female astronomer, could have been a GREAT female character! And her romance with Henry could have been done BEAUTIFULLY! Instead, what did we get? Well, I won't spoil it for you but I will say there is one of the most forced, predictable, and painstakingly banal twists I've ever seen in a movie regarding her character.
So, as I said, I absolutely LOVED the first three, and I really did like the fourth one. Enough that I was very excited about what they could do with the next one (the fifth one). All my friends said the franchise was dead but I maintained that the fifth installment had the potential to be amazing (which it did). And I waited SIX GODDAMNED YEARS for this fifth one. And it, was just, god, awful. So bad that I actually now don't want to see another installment, and I will honestly probably never watch it again because it's so bad that it almost taints my love for the first four.
I tried to think of reasons to give it more than the lowest possible rating, any reason. And ALL I could think of was the visual quality that the two Norwegian directors brought to it, so good for them, I give the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean a whopping two stars.
Thank you. This has been my angrily hastened unedited review of Dead Men Tell No Tales.