Review: Johnny Depp Stinks in ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’

It’s a shame when a beloved franchise coughs and splutters over the finish line. A sad desperation hangs over this final Pirates outing, no matter how hard it attempts to shake it – something like being the guy that’s way too old to go clubbing, pretending all night you are actually having fun.

There’s an overly convoluted, but interesting enough, storyline stringing together all the big set pieces. But then there’s no memorable set pieces to speak of, unless you count stuff like ghost sharks jumping over a dinghy.

The fresh-faced new supporting actors eagerly accept batons from Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom – who just as eagerly hand them on – but fail to excite, with Javier Bardem’s turn as the villain the most enjoyable thing in the whole film. If you enjoyed his scenery chewing in Skyfall, you’ll love his shenanigans here.

Which brings me to the pile of accessories formerly known as the human known as Johnny Depp. It’s hard to ignore the considerable amount of personal baggage he currently carries; but all that aside, he stinks. You’d have to be hopelessly in love with the Captain Jack character to enjoy this performance. His Monty Python-lite shtick of clumsily falling through the plot and having everything accidentally happen perfectly is still the heart of this franchise, 14 years in. And shiver me timbers, it’s a tired routine, with each wacky facial expression inspiring a sadder sigh than the last.

Perhaps for at-home watching with kids old enough to handle the scariness, Dead Men Tell No Tales will be fine to have on in the background while you mostly use your phone. Giving it full attention is occasionally mildly entertaining, but mostly a dreary chore. Now, where did I put my Yellowbeard DVD…

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ Movie Times | Also in 3D