By this point, I think it’s safe to say that Johnny Depp fatigue has officially set in and as far as most film fans are concerned, he has overstayed his welcome. Once one of the most respected actors on the planet, he has become prone to making any movie that will get him a paycheck and most of his performances are bordering on ridiculous. That being said, his one saving grace as of late has been the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. His portrayal of pirate Jack Sparrow has become legend, and the role is one of the most popular in movie history. The films themselves have become increasingly worse since the first movie, but with this (the fifth in the franchise) supposedly being the last in the series, hopefully they decided to go with a bang instead of a whimper.
Infamous pirate Jack Sparrow (Depp) has fallen on rough times. He has lost his ship, his crew has grow tired of his recklessness and he is being hunted by many different groups of people. To make things even worse, Captain Salazar (Bardem), who Sparrow was responsible for cursing many years ago, has been released from his eternal prison. Sparrow, Salazar and Captain Barbosa (Rush), along with Henry Turner (son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan) and Carina Smyth (a scientist accused of witchcraft), are now all after the Trident of Poseidon, a legendary treasure that has the ability to end all ocean curses.
The first Pirates movie was special because it came out of nowhere to become a massive hit. Pirate movies weren’t exactly guaranteed box office. A film based on a Disneyland ride wasn’t exactly in demand. Johnny Depp was a respected actor, but wasn’t really a draw outside of Tim Burton movies. There was no reason it should have worked, but it did. Unfortunately, Disney continued churning out sequels and it got to the point they were almost unwatchable (I loathed the last two films in the franchise). The thing is, much to my surprise, the latest chapter actually improved not only on the last two films, but the second as well.
While the fact that I enjoyed the film was a shock, what caught me off guard even more was the fact that Depp didn’t annoy me as much as he has lately. I found his performance to be a little more restrained than usual. Sparrow is a character that does require a certain type of quirkiness, so I’m glad he didn’t hold back too much, but he wasn’t annoyingly frustrating like the last two movies.
If this is indeed the final film in the franchise, they definitely ended on a reasonably high note. Disney has said they will never make another Pirates movie if Depp isn’t involved, so in the end it’s up to him if another ever sees the light of day. One thing I will say is that if they do decide to make a sixth movie, I hope they stick with what made this one watchable. If you, like me, gave up on the series after the second movie, I suggest giving it a try – it may just draw you back in.
FINAL GRADE: C+