I gave up on the "Pirates" movies several editions ago, scorning them with the same detest that I greet each new loud, boring and repetitive Transformers release.
While I enjoyed the original film in 2003, each sequel got more bloated, longer and complicated than the last.
That's why I am so surprised how much I enjoyed 2017's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES.
Sure, some of the sequels problems are still there. Johnny Depp's portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow is still lazy and repetitive, but he seems to be having more fun this time around. He also has much better lines to drunkenly unwind, thanks to screenwriter Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal).
The plot is still somehow overly complicated and non-existent at the same time, but the entire movie unwinds like an old movie serial, piling great action sequence on top of sequence.
Best of all, we've got a great villain this time. Javier Bardem is a half decayed, weightless specter of Captain Salazar, cursed to remain undead at sea and unable to touch the land.
Bardem's proven that he can be a superb bad guy, his Silva character in "Skyfall" is one of the best OO7 baddies of all time. He is all wheezing menace and relentless impending death in his quest to find Jack.
We have two young leads with ties to the series past, and both bring great energy and presence. Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent) is Henry Turner, son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom).
Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner) is Carina Smith, whose lineage is wrapped around our characters as well.
There are several visually stunning sequences in the film, (the entire movie is incredible to look at) including a bank heist involving stealing the entire bank that opens the movie and looks like it cost $20 million in itself.
There are ghost sharks, a sea battle with foes jumping from ship to ship and the greatest non-Moses parting of the sea ever filmed.
Depp is having a blast, Geoffrey Rush brings a great deal of humor as returning pirate Barbossa and there are several fun cameos, including a jailed Paul McCartney who's clearly enjoying himself.
The difference this time is that I was truly enjoying myself watching Jack Sparrow for the first time since the original film 14 years ago.
It's an hour shorter than most of the sequels, the quest for Poseidon's Trident gives the narrative some meaningless drive and every bit of the $230 million budget is up there in 4K glory that provides a feast for the eyes.
Looks like Jack had one good adventure left in him after all. I'll give DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES a very surprising B.