It’s 10 years since the main narrative of Pirates of the Caribbean last flapped its Jolly Roger on the silver screen (2011’s standalone story On Stranger Tides notwithstanding). That’s a whole decade for the dipsomaniacal Captain Jack Sparrow to sober up and settle down to a harmonious life. Of course, Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge reveals neither has happened.
Captain down and out
In fact things are getting worse for Johnny Depp’s most comedic, khol-eyed character. After an audacious yet ultimately feckless bank robbery, his crew lose faith and abandon him, leaving him to fall into the hands of the odious Redcoats.
His biggest worry, however, is the undead and vengeful Captain Salazar. Javier Bardem plays the CGI-laden Salazar, who seemingly has his own personal wind blowing through his hair at all times, to maximum sinister effect for a 12A rating.
A rum do
On Sparrow’s side are Brenton Thwaites and Kara Scodelario, smoothly replacing Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley as the subplot romance. The scientific rationale of Carina Smyth (Scodelario) offsets Henry Turner’s (Thwaites) supernatural tenets like a Mulder and Scully for the high seas.
As with the previous films in the franchise, it’s pricked with bawdy innuendos and impressive sets that carry the increasingly rehashed galleon forwards with little resistance, critical sharks in the waters or not. The looming finale in particular is the best of the series so far.
It’s formulaic but fun, barrels of rum fun.