Who would have thought that a movie based on a Disneyland theme park ride would spawn a multi-billion dollar franchise?
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl did exactly that, boosting the careers of Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly – and now 14 years later they’re all back for a fifth outing.
Known as the lengthy Dead Men Tell No Tales in US, Salazar’s Revenge is another standalone story for Captain Jack, just like 2011’s On Stranger Tides.
Set two decades after the original trilogy, Jack finds himself pursed by Javier Bardem’s ghostly Capitaine Salazar, seeking revenge for how the pirate tricked him and his crew into sailing into the Devil’s Triangle.
Joined by Brenton Thwaites’ Henry Turner, the son of Knightley’s Elizabeth and Bloom’s cursed Will – who both briefly cameo – Jack must seek the Poseidon’s Trident to defeat Salazar.
The two are joined by Skins veteran Kaya Scodelario as Carina, an educated astronomer who keeps getting mistaken for being a witch.
Series regular Geoffrey Rush returns as a newly gold-encrusted Hector Barbossa – having acquired Blackbeard’s ship in the last film.
Ever the impeccable character actor, Rush’s pirate antics actually outshine that of Depp, even showing a touching emotional side to the grimy old crook.
It’s a short scene, but one in which the Beatle does a much better acting job that David Beckham’s embarrassing attempts in King Arthur.
As Pirates 5 kicks off it’s hard not to compare it to the original, with the main baddies being a group of cursed pirates once again, led by Bardem’s creepy villain.
Depp’s Jack is always a welcome sight for franchise fans, although his slapstick frolicking is borderline pantomime this time as he spends a lot his time falling over.
Thwaites’ Turner doesn’t particularly add much, but Kaya’s feisty Carina shines as one the best heroines of the blockbuster season, taking the lead in the mission to find the Trident, while surrounded by clueless men.
Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg do manage to keep energy and entertainment levels up throughout.
However the film never quite captures the spark and magic of the original movie, falling into the mediocre visual effects overload of the previous sequels.
Really Salazar’s Revenge is reserved for diehard Pirates fans looking for a bit of lighthearted fun, rather than its aim of rebooting the franchise for a new generation – who would probably be left in a convoluted muddle anyway.
Having nicely rounded up plot strands from as far back as a decade ago, perhaps this is a good place to finally raise the Jolly Roger and actually let Captain Jack sail off into the sunset?
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge will be released in UK on May 25, 2017.