Dan Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Welcome to the Caribbean, love.”
It’s been years since I’ve seen any film from this franchise, and after the last couple that left a bad taste in my mouth, it was a nice surprise to see that this one hold up so well. It’s a fun action adventure with some great set pieces and characters.
It’s easy to forget just how good of a character Sparrow is, especially after the later films, but here Depp is in his element. Charming, funny, and a great but flawed action hero, a perfect fit for the films tone. They keep him mysterious and slowly reveal pieces about his character and life that really keeps you engaged with him. Saying that though, It’s Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa who steals the film for me, his character is menacing and so much fun in every scene he’s in. Keira knightly is good as Elizabeth too, a good and strong willed protagonist, but the weak link is Orlando Bloom. Will is just a boring protagonist, completely upstaged by everyone else in the film.
The plot moves swiftly, never really a dull moment between the grand set pieces. Sure some of it is a little bloated, and there could easily be a few minutes here and there trimmed off, but it works for the most part. The set pieces all look great too, fantastic Caribbean settings and great sets for al the ships. Some of the cgi perhaps look a little aged, but mostly works. The skeletons always used to terrify me as a kid! Most of the humour works, especially from Barbossa and Sparrow, some does feel a little too forced but it’s mostly effective comedy through the fun adventure.
I might go through the rest of the films again, but this is certainly a strong start and certainly the best in the series. It has a good and strong narrative, with characters that are enjoyable to watch.