There are a few things in my life that I can point to without question, which have helped formed me into who I am today. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise for better or for worse is one of those things.
Before going to see POTC5 I had to rewatch the films because I had found myself in a weird state of limbo. I remembered everything about the first film, a jumbled mess of missing pieces for 2 and 3 and maybe half of 4. It had been a few years since the last time I watched them, I pressed play and experienced something truly strange. The movies were so engrained in my memory that I knew the lines so well I could say them along with the action, but at the same time, I had all but forgotten some of the smaller things. It was the strangest feeling, knowing something so well, yet almost feeling like you were watching it for the first time. But I digress.
Coming out of POTC5 was weird, since it had been 6 years since the last film, and almost as long since I’ve put it in my DVD player, that flame that used to burn in my brain was ignited once more and a sea of memories and feelings came rushing back. After Stranger Tides, I wasn’t sure what I would be getting into. I was hopeful, but not expecting something as magical as The Curse of the Black Pearl. But I left with muddy feelings. On the one hand I really enjoyed it, but on the other hand there were so many things that I has issue with. The comically horrible de-aging, questionable plot points and poor dialogue to name a few. Johnny Depp’s Sparrow is a drunken mess, and at this point is more like an over the top caricature of who he used to be. At least Gibbs, Scrum and Marty are back with some familiar faces, and Geoffrey Rush is once again back as Captain Barbossa.
Now, Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar was definitely a great villain, and the effects that were used on him and his crew were amazing. But again I come back to Johnny Depp. When I saw the films for the first time in theatres, I did enjoy Sparrow, but my love for him has faded throughout the franchise. Captain Hector Barbossa is and will be my favorite character, from the first time we saw him to his resurrection in 2, and his quest for vengeance in 4, Barbossa has definitely grown as a character, and has shown that he’s a force to be reckoned with.
The two new characters that were added, Henry Turner and Carina Smyth were great newcomers, and definitely were better additions than Philip and Syrena in 4. Their characters were a lot more fleshed out, and they got right down to business instead of fighting with the plot for their own story. All in all, I enjoyed the film and there were some great moments, but they were clouded over by a lot of issues…
But then something magical happened. I went a few days later to watch it again, and to my surprise I enjoyed it a lot more. When you watch a movie the first time, you focus so much on trying to get ahead of the characters and the plot, to figure out subtle clues and overanalyze little details. But when you watch it again, all of that falls away, and you relax, and enjoy the movie for what it is. This is definitely a movie that gets better the more you watch it, and one I’d recommend you to see twice before giving a final verdict. While it still does have it’s issues, and it’s not as amazing as the first, Dead Men tell No Tails is a great addition to the franchise and repairs some of the damage in my mind that the 4th movie left in my head.
All of this comes down to one last thought. Is this the final Pirates movie? It’s something that people don’t really talk about unless it’s set in stone or an actor dies (and even that’s not true 100%). This movie was promoted as “The final adventure” and I think I would be ok with that. In fact I know I’d be ok with that. The problem is, no one has confirmed that it will be the last. So with that door still partially open, it’s hard to convince myself this is the end. Will I keep watching? Probably, lets be honest here! But at what point does it over extend it’s welcome?
Dead Men Tell No Tails, is a great film that surprisingly gets better every time you watch it, is it truly the “Final Adventure”? Only time will tell. But until that time, I’m going to keep a weathered eye on the horizon, and live with the same passion and determination as my favorite Pirate Captain for death’s the day worth living for.