When Disney said they were returning to the series’ roots for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, what they really meant is that they were going to forget that On Stranger Tides ever happened (heaven knows we all did) and just copy the highlights of the first films. Like all poor photocopies of an original, the cracks are showing and it has faded quite a bit. Dead Men Tell No Tales was a waste of everyone’s time.
You already know what happens in Dead Men Tell No Tales. Jack will bumble around while crazy set pieces explode and fall apart, all while searching for a magical MacGuffin that will save him from a pirate ship full of undead seamen. The only change this time around is the kid he has teamed up with is the son of Will Turner. Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) is hoping that Poseidon’s Trident can save his father from having to serve for all eternity on the Flying Dutchmen. As luck would have it a very smart, very pretty girl Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) is also looking for the Trident, so they will all have to reluctantly team up.
Another fun change for Dead Men Tell No Tales is that Jack has almost no agency of his own. He is not a mastermind playing dumb, he just is dumb. He is being dragged along by these youths, and is now just a bumbling violent drunken nitwit. It is like Johnny Depp and Jack Sparrow have completed their merge in to one another. The thing is, had they written an okay story this all still might have been fine, but that is not the case. Stuff just happens in this movie, and it is all a big coincidence that all these things all just happen at the same time. I understand that all adventure films require a little ‘destiny’ to make them work, but this ‘plot’ completely relies on it, without ever even acknowledging it. All the while stealing things from other movies without even as much as a wink or a nod. Gee I wonder what Carina will say when someone mentions that ‘no man’ can read the map to the Trident.
You should not waste your time watching this movie like I did. Yes, I know it is on Netflix now, and you are looking for a movie to watch with your family, but trust me, there are a lot of better things to watch. It makes me angry that no one even tried to do something fun or original with this film. It could and should be an exciting franchise, but instead everyone involved is willing to let this franchise slide in to mediocrity while they count their money. If Dead Men Tell No Tales then everyone who made this movie must be six feet under.