The original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, was a surprising film. Nobody knew quite what to expect from a movie that took its inspiration from a theme park ride, but the movie was a hit with critics and audiences, so much so that it spawned its own franchise. Many people believe the sequels lost a lot of the magic that the first film created. They start out mediocre with Dead Man's Chest and slowly roll downhill into a bigger mess with On Stranger Tides.
Now, we're about to get ourselves a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie with Dead Men Tell No Tales. Those of us who love the first movie are desperately hoping that the new one will be the return to form that we've been hoping for ever since the original film thrilled us. In order to do that, the fifth pirates' movie will have to avoid making the mistakes the previous sequels have. Here's what the new movie needs to avoid.
Overly Complex Plots
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is a fine enough film. It's not great, but it doesn't do anything particularly wrong. It sets up a solid trilogy finale with pirates fighting for their very existence as the East India Company has control over Davy Jones. If that was all that At World's End did, it might have been ok. Instead, it introduces a bunch of new plot details, like sea gods and pirate lords and gets bogged down in every character trying to double cross every other. It gets absolutely ridiculous and it needs a nearly three-hour runtime just to sort it all out. That's crap. Keep it simple, keep it fun. Hoperfully, that's what Dead Men Tell No Tales will do.
Making It The Jack Sparrow Show
Captain Jack Sparrow is a great character. Captain Jack Sparrow is a fun character to watch on the screen. But Captain Jack Sparrow works best when he's one part of an ensemble, not a solo lead. If On Stranger Tides taught us one thing, it's that. When working alongside Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, Jack Sparrow's over-the-top personality was tempered a bit. For example, while it was still fun to see how the character responded to various situations, we got to take a break now and then by focusing on the other characters. Non-stop Jack Sparrow is a little much. The new film does appear to have learned this by adding in two new characters to work alongside Jack Sparrow.
Comedic Action Scenes
A large part of why the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie works so well is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. The movie knows it's just trying to have fun and it plays to its strengths. However, one place where Curse of the Black Pearl does get serious is when it comes to the action. The first fencing battle between Jack Sparrow and Will Turner is a thing of beauty. It has style and both actors put on a performance that I would put on the list of greatest movie sword fights of all time. However, in future films, things just got silly. Jack running from cannibals was played entirely for laughs. The three-way sword fight--which had promise--became ridiculous when it continued on a moving waterwheel. The new movie needs to make the stakes feel real by making the action scenes feel serious.
Too Many Dangling Plot Threads
One of the biggest problems with all of the Pirates sequels is that they've never been content to simply make a single film. Dead Man's Chest and At World's End were written and produced as two halves of one story and they certainly came across that way. On Stranger Tides left a bunch of dangling plot threads because they expected to make more of them, but that's only happening now. Dead Men Tell No Tales needs to wrap up any existing storylines, and then wrap up its own. If a Pirates 6 comes along in the future that's fine (we guess) but let that one tell its own story.