Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s RevengeCultureCinemaMovie reviews
As we would expect with a franchise that has spanned over a decade, Pirates of the Caribbean has navigated some choppy waters. By film number three it had lost its way slightly, so fans will be pleasantly surprised by the return to its roots in the fifth installment of the seafaring saga.
With a few subtle nods to the Disney ride that inspired it, Salazar’s Revenge is firmly anchored in it’s swashbuckling heritage and centred around Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, whose kooky antics have endangered the whole ocean. When maniacal ghost pirate Salazar and his cronies escape from the Devil’s Triangle determined to kill everyone at sea, Jack must pair up with a rag-tag bunch of pirates, an astronomer, and Will Turner’s son to defeat evil.
The sprawling cast of fan favourites and newcomers alike manages to feel fresh, though is weakened by the amount of exposition needed with all the new faces. In particular, Javier Bardem as the delightfully menacing Salazar is both terrifying and darkly funny, but his character feels underdeveloped as his backstory jostles for screen time alongside the peripheral British Navy .
Coupled with the young Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario as star-crossed lovers, it’s difficult to keep focus on the plethora of icons jostling for the limelight in this rambling affair, including a rather strange appearance from Sir Paul McCartney, and cameos from Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom.
Thankfully, the action scenes, full of hair-raising stunts, are cleaner than in previous iterations; despite a slight over-reliance on silly CGI that sometimes detracts from the tension, we’re treated to a stunning visual style that’s enjoyably matured with the brand. The attention to detail is phenomenal and really helps create a vibrant world, especially within Barbossa’s decadently imagined ship, and the soundtrack is still spine tingling.
This return to the more successful aspects of the beloved franchise is in part due to the writers, who have created a rich lore akin to The Lord of the Rings, but they occasionally play too fast and loose with the laws of their universe. We happily suspend belief for zombie sharks and impossible ships, but introducing contradictory rules for Jack’s compass this late in the game is sloppy and poses more questions than it answers.
Salazar’s Revenge is an explosively energetic homage to The Curse of the Black Pearl, and though it lacks that feature’s earthy simplicity, it’s a fun, action-packed, star-studded summer romp that will have you yearning for your own fearless adventure.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge is released nationwide on 25th May 2017.
Watch the trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge here: