feedingbrett’s review published on Letterboxd:
My sister scoffed at the idea of me not gaining any strong sense of pleasure from the initial entry of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, The Curse of the Black Pearl, and certainly, my feelings towards the film are outside of the general consensus. The first film establishes the characters, their motivations, and their vulnerabilities more so than the next two films could even remotely offer. However, despite these strengths, it was to my knowledge that such films are meant to offer a grand sense of escapism and excitement that would trigger our love for adventurous stories. That film certainly strives to meet such expectations, but personally, I feel that it lacked the crucial epic and awe-inspiring touch that would have had me immersed deeply past the screen.
Gore Verbinski appeared to have corrected such shortcomings in Dead Man’s Chest, where one can finally feel the large scope that the franchise deserved, and managing to pull multiple narrative threads and somehow ensuring that the experience remains cohesive and pulsating with urgency. The world-building and deceptive-selfish personality of a pirate are on full display here, and with it, characters managed to be fleshed out, albeit minor, whilst the narrative’s energy continues to propel them forward.
It is from the set-pieces and humour that won me over in Dead Man’s Chest, the usage of such elements are ambitious and well-timed, placing these characters at times out of their usual element in order to generate the most absurd and genuine reactions, and doing so while ensuring the air of accessibility remains firm in its execution. There is no doubt that Verbinski has taken a slightly darker path than he had in the first film, as that particular bounce that defined the original is rarely on display here, but in doing so, Verbinski has strongly compensated with an ambitious storyline that would surely pay itself off in the next film, knowing that much of what is presented here is a preparation for the expansive canvas that the following film promises.
All in all, Dead Man’s Chest was a fun ride, and though some elements of it's pacing could be ironed out, but never for a moment did it feel sufferable, as persistently it provides strong motivations, amusing twists, and an efficient comedic punch that amplifies the spirit of adventure that the franchise seems to reach for. Here’s to hoping that the next film delivers the goods.