Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl ★★★★

I've seen this four times now, and my rating never changes. Verbinski is one of the best blockbuster directors around, crafting action sequences that are second to none, and Geoffrey Rush digs into Barbossa as few other actors ever could in a film like this. But this is far too long, and as the first of a franchise, it hasn't yet earned its bloat. It feels like it takes forever to settle on a through line, and I always grow suspicious of sprawling narratives that hinge on a character who is never even shown. Aside from that the screenwriters have tons of fun with pirate lore, and manage to establish their plot twists, rather than pull them out of their ass, like most contemporary blockbuster scribes.