I think Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge is pretty awesome! Its definitely one of my top 3 favourites of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies! It had an interesting reveal as well as an intriguing post credits scene… ☺
Regarding some general thoughts on the movie:
1) The opening bank heist scene is definitely the series’ best opening scene, let alone possibly the best bank heist ever captured on film ☺ Its unbungalievably epic! I can’t wait to watch the special features on/hear or read possible commentary on how they made the scene. It would have made an excellent Lego set (let alone playable level), as Lego would be able to replicate the mechanics that they used with the horses able to pull the building through town ☺
Also, as for why Jack was in the bank vault at the beginning, rather than just taking the money and running, Jack went to go and secure the vault and ended up running into the mayor’s wife and distracting her (and himself) with rum ☺ well they couldn’t just take the money and run for lack of being able to store/carry it all; as it is, they ended up losing next to all of the gold while trying to take the entire vault! On that note, while it went along with the movie’s overall theme of moving on, it was kind of stupid of Jack to just give up his Compass for a bottle of rum when he had the one gold coin that they were able to take from the bank vault. Although, as the bottle of rum only cost a SILVER coin, Jack figured that the Compass would be as equal worth as silver, and that it would be better to save the gold coin for something more valuable (even if it is rum) for later. The Compass wasn’t really working for him, frequently over the last 10 years leading him into a direction that he either couldn’t figure out and or would only cause him more problems, without any progress on things such as how to free the Black Pearl and be a successful captain, let alone pirate, so he simply gave it up out of depression and frustration; “Pirate’s Life”, afterall, moving from one way of doing something to the next.
The “execution” scene was also just as unbungalievably epic and intense, and also would have made an excellent Lego set/level (even if altered to make it less violent). Seriously, the guillotine swings like an inch towards Jack’s head and then nearly lands on top of him! I also loved the sharks. They were thankfully included in a Lego set, and along with the “execution” scene was unbungalievable in D-Box. They, along with the rest of the movie is one of the best D-Box experiences that I’ve ever had ☺ The shark scene made me and another guy sitting nearby nearly jump out of our seats! For those who don’t know what D-Box is, they are motion-enabled seats that move with the movie’s action and other movements. Despite the higher price, aside from the unbungalievable experience enhancing, they are also reserved seats, as they will not work unless they have already been specifically paid for. They can be seen in either 3D or non-3D, and can also be adjusted to preferred motion levels, including no motion at all ☺ It’s definitely worth checking out any movie, that would offer it ☺ None of these sequences were anymore “cartoony” nor suspending of disbelief anymore than any other action sequence in the series and actually felt pretty believable if not realistic to me. You also have to keep in mind that the guillotine sequence was in slow motion, and like how it was for Jack, I have personally experienced objects landing mere inches away from someone.
3) Its not really a retcon of how Jack got his compass. As pointed out by the Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki and IMDB, Jack very well bartered the compass from his captain to Tia Dalma. It still came from Tia Dalma only Jack initially received it from his Captain and how he initially received it is just an untold layer of its story. Jack very well learned about the compass’ unique power through Tia Dalma and therefore discovered that it initially came from her.
4) When he gave the compass away in the previous movies, Jack was still following his overall intent with it, only giving it to others as a leverage to accomplish his overall goal. He gave the compass to Will so as to lead Beckett to Shipwreck cove to give the Pirates to Beckett and square his debt with Davy Jones. He gave the compass to Elizabeth to help him figure out where the Dead Man's Chest was. Here in Dead Men Tell No Tales he directly betrayed the compass by giving it away and not using it for any kind of overall intent. Its like how the cursed medallions only curse those who directly steal one from the chest, otherwise Will and Elizabeth would have been cursed from having personally held and kept the medallion for so long.
5) I’m really surprised that people are wondering why Will is angry with Jack. Even though it was to save his life, Jack is the reason why Will is cursed in the first place. Would you not feel the same way? This also explains why Will had started becoming fishy; even though he is an honorable man who would do the job well, not even he can live this kind of life without feeling miserable and frustrated let alone running into problems, which could also be the cause and effect of the Flying Dutchman crew being out of control and a possible danger for Henry.
Nonetheless, Will still needed a crew, regardless of how aggressive they may be, and again its all part of his overall frustration. Keep in mind too that its not exactly easy to find a crew; after all, who would be willing to be bound to a ship without being able to leave and or having to stay for a great length of time? He didn't really have anyone else that would be willing to be part of the crew. And again, not even someone like Will can keep doing the job forever without running into problems and frustration, despite Elizabeth and Henry being greatly loyal to him. Would you be overall satisfied with only being able to see your loved ones only once every 10 years, despite the visits that Henry made? Even with those visits, Will is not truly able to be with his son, let alone with Elizabeth nor truly live any kind of life that would make him honourable despite who he overall is. He is a truly honourable person because he had a true balance of life, despite not being able to get everything he truly wanted. But when you're stuck pretty much literally only doing one thing for all eternity, without truly doing what you can overall live with, let alone overall truly value, it throws you off and turns you against yourself, NO MATTER who you may be.
6) Uncle Jack was not pointless in any kind of way. His forewarning encouraged Jack to keep moving forward and to NEVER give up, even when things seem very difficult or next to impossible, when Jack was on the brink of giving up and sinking even further. He was actually more fitting to give that kind of advice rather than Teague (who it was actually supposed to be, but had to be changed due to Keith Richards being unavailable for filming). As Teague already gave that kind of advice in the previous 2 films, it would have been too repetitive and predictable. Uncle Jack brought in a nice and appropriate new perspective, as it is he who gave Jack his name and some of his demeanour as well :)
7) Regarding how Jack & Gibbs lost their Ship- in-a-Bottle Fleet, they very well traded them off, as they couldn’t find a way to open them, although why they didn’t think to go to Barbossa in the first place is beyond me, but then again, they probably figured that if they went to Barbossa he would just take the Pearl, let alone their whole fleet and claim them for himself. And without a ship and much of a crew, they are no match for Barbossa when he has the Queen Anne’s Revenge, let alone the Sword of Triton on his side. Afterall, Barbossa resumes being the Black Pearl’s captain and ties Jack up when he restores it.
8) I do agree that the writers were lazy in explaining how & why Salazar and his crew were cursed; I was waiting the whole movie for them to explain it ever since they first appeared. Although, given that the Devil’s Triangle is another name for the Bermuda Triangle, they merely added more onto the Bermuda Triangle’s already mysterious nature.
As for how Salazar knew about Jack’s Compass, it is quite possible that he ended up killing more of Jack’s former Wicked Wench crew members and or someone else who may have had/known about the Compass before who happened to sail into the Devil’s Triangle. Afterall, as pointed out by several, more than a few have sailed into the Triangle and chances are that they very well may have had some kind of connection to Jack and or the Wicked Wench crew.
9) I disagree with people’s criticisms about Carina and Henry. I thought that they were just as well introduced and just as well developed as when we were first introduced to Jack, Will, Elizabeth and the rest of the characters in Curse of the Black Pearl, albeit in a more hectic nature. Carina has become my second favourite character of the whole series behind Jack, and I personally like Henry much better than Will, both as a character and as an actor.
10) I really liked that for the first time in the series they actually showed flashbacks when explaining Salazar’s backstory. This is one of the reasons why Curse of the Black Pearl is one of my least favourites of the series: there is too much talky backstory explanation, which also throws off the movie’s overall pacing. Afterall, film is SHOW, don’t TELL. The use of flashbacks helped me feel more engaged with what was going on. Granted, at times the series did not essentially need flashbacks, such as when Barbossa was explaining what happened to the Black Pearl in On Stranger Tides, (which nonetheless was helped by the use of cannon fire sound effects), but it would have helped some of the lengthy and confusing explanation given in Curse of the Black Pearl and some of Dead Man’s Chest, especially when they talk about but don’t really explain certain things such as Cortes, whom I had no idea who he is, which also doesn’t help with their kind of accents and the way that they talk.
11) They could have explained her better, but overall I was fine with Shansa. There are obviously more “witchy”/fortune teller characters in the series, yet I actually thought they were going to bring Tia Dalma/Calypso back when I heard Shansa’s voice over in a TV spot, and I’m really glad that they didn’t. The Calypso stuff is what partly ruined At World’s End for me; I know that the Heathen Gods cursed the Medallions in Curse of the Black Pearl, but they went a little too far in directly featuring a God, which went against the series’ groundedness and sense of reality. They could have still kept most of the Calypso stuff without directly featuring her, having (most of) the Pirate Lords still believe that Tia Dalma is Calypso, but in reality can only channel Calypso’s power, and tries to use it to conjure the Maelstrom, only to have herself be over powered and fall to her doom in the process. The movie would have still been overall the same, while also having it be more like the other films, not only in reality, but in overall feeling.
Out of all of the movies, At World’s End feels the least like a Pirates movie (which is ironic because it also features the most amount of pirates), largely because of the overuse of Calypso and other spiritual supernatural content. The other 4 movies were able to have their supernatural content feel grounded and believable, but At World’s End overdid it with things like Calypso and the Multiple Jacks, which felt out of place in the Pirates world. Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio stated on the At World’s End Extras that they “just went weird” in order to keep it unexpected, but On Stranger Tides (which they also wrote) and Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge (of which Rossio co-wrote the story), proved (regardless of how you overall feel about them), that they were still able to keep it fresh and grounded, if not unexpected, without having to go against the series’ overall reality.
12) I actually cried at Barbossa’s death ☹ It was so all of a sudden and quite unexpected, and yet still very beautifully well portrayed. Overall, they gave Barbossa a good send off with him becoming this powerful, rich pirate and achieving everything that he truly wanted, only to discover his true self, including the unexpected revelation that he has a daughter, which brought out his true humanity that we knew he had through other circumstances throughout the series. As well, he did NOT rejoin the navy, no matter what some people may think, despite still wearing the wig and having control of a fleet. Per his introduction in On Stranger Tides, he found the wig comfortable and saw it as a symbol of power and authority, and in having achieved it after all of these years of not being in high power and or having it taken away from him.
I also cried at the end when Will & Elizabeth were reunited. It was a very beautiful way to give puncture to their story and truly added feeling onto the movie’s overall goal and overall moral of there ALWAYS being a way to fix ANYTHING, even if it seems pretty much impossible; No matter how impossible things seem, a powerful enough dream will overcome any darkness ☺ As Poseidon’s Trident broke EVERY curse in the ocean, Will is completely free from his curse and therefore would have his heart placed back inside his body as he was already living without it albeit in an undead state, like how the Flying Dutchman crew turned back into humans at the end of At World’s End and also had it stored in the Dead Man’s Chest that was part of the curse.
The only other things that I didn’t really like about the movie were a slight lack of Hans Zimmer’s original themes, and a weak final battle, which is also the series’ worst final battle. I didn’t really get any kind of emotional revelation with Jack regaining his status as a favourite captain. I also agree that they should have had Will come in and help them, and I was actually quite certain that was going to happen, but on the other hand, they already did that in At World’s End and it goes against the overall story and conflict, as it would prove that Will doesn’t essentially need to be rid of his curse as he and his crew can do so good when cursed, but overall they are their best selves when they are NOT cursed, again harkening back to a reason why Will was starting to become fishy and why the crew was a potential threat to Henry. As well, the Flying Dutchman wouldn't've been able to really do anything as Salazar and his crew were ghosts. The most they would be able to do would be to completely hold them off, which Jack & co. were already pretty much able to do on their own :)
Geoff Zanelli did an overall great job with the music and did use a lot of the original themes, more so than in movies like the later Harry Potters and The Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he could have used more original themes such as “Skull and Crossbones” and or “To the Pirates’ Cave!” in places like the final battle which would have had it be better and more engaging. Overall, Geoff Zanelli was a perfect replacement with his new themes (especially that new rousing adventure theme that plays at 4:20 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_PNnNkBY74&index=9&list=PLow_t-BoGfWdYYmeel8Log7-zY6JQJsOm ) which actually fit perfectly well into the Pirates world and not have it seem like a generic action adventure movie.
There is also the following that needs to be resolved:
Where are Pintel & Ragetti and Cotton? It is possible that like possibly Marty, Mullroy & Murtogg they were in Tortuga after Blackbeard attacked the Black Pearl, only to rejoin Jack & or Barbossa, but they should have at least provided an explanation as to where they were/are, especially since Cotton’s Parrot was shown flying around the Black Pearl in On Stranger Tides, yet is nowhere to be seen in Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge when the Pearl is restored (although it may be possible that he was resting inside the Pearl) They approached Mackenzie Crook and Lee Arenberg to reprise their roles, but both turned it down, only to regret it afterwards.
What happened to Phillip and Syrena, although their story pretty much seems to be resolved on its own with it being shown that Syrena took Phillip to be healed and they lived happily ever after in some form or another.
On Stranger Tides’ post credits scene, however there may be a deleted scene, as featured in Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge’s novel that somewhat resolves it: Jack’s sword becomes cursed (potentially from his Vodoo Doll) and starts going against him, only to eventually over come it.
And of course, Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge’s own post credits scene. They cannot leave the film series as it is, especially without resolving this post credits scene. Its too much of a set up to be overlooked, even more so than On Stranger Tides’, and not resolving it has the series feel incomplete and no series, let alone something as overall beloved and successful as Pirates should be overall incomplete.
Please keep in mind as well that some of these problems with the movie can be fixed/better explained with possible deleted scenes. The movie was originally reported as being 153 minutes, yet only ended up only being 129, so theres possibly about 23 minutes worth of deleted scenes that may help the movie if released :)