Luke Hansen’s review published on Letterboxd:
Is it deserving of a five star rating? No, probably not, but I will never not love this movie.
It has some of the most lovable characters out there and plenty of fantastic writing to show off their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. The action scenes, specifically in the first two acts, are some of the best I have ever witnessed in a movie. Not necessarily because of choreography or visuals, but because of the reasoning behind the drama. One of my biggest problems with most films that feature action sequences, is that the action is almost like pressing a pause button on the story. It's there for spectacle and nothing more. The momentum of the story halts for a meaningless thrill ride that adds nothing substantial. Pirates of the Caribbean thrives on it's well thought out action sequences that constantly push the story forward. Very little time is wasted on mass amounts of people fighting, that we quite frankly don't care about. The first confrontation between Jack Sparrow and Will Turner is a prime example of this. Every second of that scene is revealing something new about the characters or story. It's refreshing to see action done right and serve an integral purpose to the story. It's engaging, not something that requires you to turn your brain off. The third act features more mass amounts of people fighting, but it is still primarily interesting scenes.
Another part of the writing that this film does ever so well, is how it weaves every character's story together seamlessly. We're introduced to a young Elizabeth Swan meeting a young Will Turner, then fast forward to their young adulthood years. They are our main characters. They were introduced first and the story ultimately revolves around them. It’s not until about 10-15 minutes into the movie that Captain Jack Sparrow comes sauntering along. At the end of the day, Jack is a side character with a side plot. However, those elements are so efficiently woven into the story that they no longer feel like side additions to the story. Then, there is Barbossa and James Norrington. These two, especially Norrington, fill roles that almost always feel like an afterthought in traditional stories, but that's hardly the case. Their connections to the three most recurring characters are so natural and essential, that the movie just wouldn't be complete without them. They have personal arcs that manage to not burden the story. I point this out, not to just ramble about how much I love this movie, but because very few movies successfully manage to make every character feel so essential to the story.
I couldn't wrap up this review without mentioning all the various production elements that went into making this movie such an immersive experience. The Curse of the Black Pearl has some fantastic world building that thoroughly constructs this epic place. It forges such a rich scoundrelous world that consumes me with each viewing. The tangibility of Port Royal is ingrained in our brains by the VFX work that still holds up today and some fantastic set pieces. Then there is, of course, Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt’s phenomenal score. It is iconic for a reason. The music you will never forget. Emotional and grand, expanding the world to levels that visuals can't achieve.
It is far from flawless, but the pros make up for poor logic or other mishaps. I love this movie. I've seen it a dozen times and I'm sure I'll see it a dozen more.