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Well, let’s just say he’s older. This perpetually tipsy ne’re-do-well is still struggling with pretty much the same issues he always has. Hidden under that wobbly swagger and semi-charismatic gold-toothed grin is a pirate captain who struggles to accomplish, well, anything.
Jack keeps failing to find his scruffy crew even a single gold doubloon. And his beloved ship, the Black Pearl, has been somehow shrunken down to a tiny skiff in a bottle that he carries around in his coat pocket. In truth, it’s really a stretch to call him a captain at all.
But there’s one thing no one can doubt: Jack has made a lot of enemies. And one of them—a zombified Captain Armando Salazar—is leading his putrefying gang of cursed sailors to seek and keelhaul this captain Jack Sparrow.
As legend has it, many years ago a fresh-faced Jack tricked the pirate-hunting Salazar into sailing into the Devil’s Triangle. There, he and his crew went down and got ensnared in a terrible ever-lasting torment: Their dead skin may dissolve and their ship may become moldering rot, but they live forever.
Now, however, Salazar has been miraculously set free from the Triangle’s confines. And he’s slowly scouring the seas, taking down ships and always spearing one left to spread the word that he and his dead crew are coming.
They’re coming for Captain Jack Sparrow.
How do you actually stop a cursed band of murderers who want your heart on a pike? Well, that’s a tough one. It involves something named the Trident of Poseidon—a mystical object that’s said to control all the powers of the sea. Of course, it’s also rumored to be unfindable. In fact, the map that might lead someone to said undiscoverable treasure is rumored to be something no man can ever read.
That’s a lot of rumored dead ends. But fear not, fans of Captain: Henry Turner (result of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann’s love) has been looking for the Trident his entire life. And he’s found an astronomy-focused map-reader named Carina who’s seeking that treasure, too.
Together, Jack, Henry and Carina went on a dangerous high-seas journey that many will likely one day tell tales of …
… if, well, Jack can stay sober, upright and in one piece long enough to actually survive it.
Pirates of Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: POSITIVE ELEMENTS
Both Henry and Carina are desperately seeking to connect with their estranged fathers. Henry wants to break a curse that has his dad bound; even as a young boy he risks his life to do so. And the goal of freeing his father from that spiritual bondage continues to motivate him in adulthood. Orphaned Carina, in her case, devotes her life to her missing father’s oceanic research as a way to connect with the man. In both sets of parent-child relationships, we witness a degree of reconciliation and redemption, with sacrificial love on display along the way as well.
Pirates of Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: SPIRITUAL CONTENT
Pirate superstitions abound. They take the form of multiple curses, including the one that binds Captain Salazar and his pirate crew. Those sailors are all zombies of some kind, with rotting skin and crumbling pieces. In other cases, decomposing victims just might own a lower jaw or a detached hand that floats in the air with a ghostlike look. These scary sailors can have their feet on the surface of the ocean. They also magically enliven decaying sharks that they dispatch to try and kill Jack.
Since she can read star charts, some folks call Carina a witch. In fact, some British officials want to get rid of her for her powers. Never mind that Carina isn’t a witch. But there is another tattooed woman who is said to own witch’s power. Carina hits a priest in the face with her cell door while making an escape.
Elsewhere throughout the film, various magical happenings take place.
Pirates of Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: SEXUAL CONTENT
Carina wears a formfitting, low-cut dress. She strips down to her undergarments before diving into the water. (She’s still mostly covered, though.) “I saw her ankles,” Henry blusters at this point. To which, Jack says, “You’d have witnessed a lot more if you’d kept your cakehole shut.”
Later, Carina and Henry kiss. Another married couple embraces and kisses as well. After Jack drunkenly pops out of an opened safe, a local official’s wife shows up behind him, hinting that they spent the night together.
Double entendre gags reference a dude’s “cannon balls.” Also, Carina’s career as an “astronomer” and a “horologist” garners chuckles as well.
Pirates of Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: VIOLENT CONTENT
Sword fights, impalings, gun blazings, pummeling fist fights and explosions are all too common throughout the movie. Ships are ripped asunder by cannon balls and sharp rocks. And the open mouth-like bow of Captain Salazar’s decrepit ship appears to “eat” opposing sea vessels—leaving them as smashed and flaming piles of floating refuse afterward.
Blood drips through the deck of a ship to the jail cells down under, indicating the amount of unseen slaughter taking place above. A man’s neck is viciously snapped. Henry gets hit in the mouth with a musket’s stock. Jack is strapped into a guillotine, and he sees several severed heads in a basket below him. A hangman’s noose hang around Carina’s neck. Splintery shrapnel is restlessly sent flying, and bodies sink into the sea.
A man drops from above and drives his sword into another person’s back. Two combatants fall to their deaths from a great height.
Pirates of Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: CRUDE OR PROFANE LANGUAGE
We hear one exclamation after every “oh my god!” and “p-ss off.” There’s a single use of the British crudity “bugger” as well.
Pirates of Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONTENT
Jack appears to be almost always slightly inebriated. In one case he wakes from a drunken stupor. We only see him slug back a drink on one or two occasions, though. One sequence set in a tavern and shows drinking locals.
Pirates of Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: OTHER NEGATIVE ELEMENTS
At one point Carina declares that she isn’t “looking for trouble.” “What a horrible way to live,” Jack shoots back.
Pirates of Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: CONCLUSION
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. And while that may appear to be true, time away doesn’t necessarily make the object of one’s affection any better. Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales is an excellent case in point.
It’s been six years since we last seen Jack Sparrow make his way through a well-swabbed deck. And his return seems quite hoist-the-main-sail familiar: A similar, darkly magical and deadly foe looks for his demise. Sailors predictably get cutlasses shoved through their gullets. We’ve got the same rambling, treasure-focused storyline. The same outrageously over-the-top, CGI-fueled action.
In fact, the only thing that gives this fifth pic in the series a truly fresh set of sea legs is the fact that it lands with a satisfying and solid ending. We see self-sacrificial courage, touching family reunions and a hearty happily-ever-after for everyone.