Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the British navy.
As it steps its foot into the door, Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge immediately sets sail on wild, wicked seas – carrying in its vessel a sweet heart that surrenders to nothing but trouble and fun. The opening scene directly shows signs of its decisiveness; charting territories that directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are clearly fond of. And so, they set the bar pretty high – keeping their eye on the prize, with the prize being the spectacle and swashbuckling action that awaits our presence the moment we arrive at the scene. It isn’t so hard to see that these two indie filmmakers are doing the best that they can to salvage the franchise from the shipwreck that almost made its existence forgettable.
They inject spirit into this entry’s veins, and it becomes apparent as it gains a personality that is much akin to the first installment – giving us what we love, in amounts that satisfies and makes up for the mess that had once tainted its uniqueness. Fans and non-fans might absolutely be pleased to see what it’s got in store. Slapstick humor and fantastic thrills shape it up to become the blockbuster that it is so confident in being – going as far as showing us just how lovingly engaging this genre can be in an age where superhero movies dominate the game. There are lots of things in its arsenal worth anticipating, and when it tries to entertain, it doesn’t play around. Instead, it just glues you to your seat, wowing with little to no fail. Never does it launch anything to throw you off either, even if it does clock in at 2 hours and a half.
The pacing is kept tight, and slick – feeling smoother than it’s ever been, since it relies on a plot that doesn’t require much attention, is devoid of complications, yet still is able to be of use to everything that occurs. It is its strongest suit, however compelling it still needed to be. Nothing gets too tangled up to be unraveled in ways that clutters – letting everything flow naturally in an ocean that doesn’t swallow up much of the grandeur. Johnny Depp’s return to his iconic role warms the heart and captivates – waving back to fans of the film series with pure glee, showing that he still has an appetite to make this role his own, save for some faltering here and there. Other than him, the rest of the cast make this voyage wonderful; particularly Javier Bardem’s undertaking of the titular Captain Salazar who, marks himself as a worthy villain for our antihero.
Rønning and Sandberg certainly knew what to do when they took up this project, and voila! They have made something delightful out of it. Their raking in of new faces is rather amazing, but how they treat this fifth entry, with a liking for bang-for-your-buck finality is marvelous despite the lack of total freshness. That being said, it’s not much of a memorable finale, but it does make us remember the joy of the unique entertainment experience that this film franchise has brought years ago. Bringing back old characters, and taking us to majestic places that quite solidifies Jack Sparrow’s beloved persona with spectacular results, Salazar’s Revenge makes us thirst for more of its kind…as long as it’s a shiny, rewarding treasure deserving to be sought after.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge opens in Philippine cinemas May 24 from Walt Disney Studios.