Johnny Depp’s rascally pirate captain Jack Sparrow is back, yet again.
However, his groggy-from-too-much-grog shtick, now all too familiar, is paying ever diminishing returns. So it’s probably a good thing his fifth screen adventure sees him playing a largely passive role in the plot.
This time, harking back to the narrative thrust of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film in 2003, a younger generation is at the helm of the story.
Brenton Thwaites’ callow teenage sailor Henry Turner, son of Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner and Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann (remember them?), is looking to free his father from the watery curse that has condemned him to captain the Flying Dutchman for ever.
As his mission unfolds, Henry throws in his lot with Kaya Scodelario’s Carina Smyth, a headstrong, orphaned astronomer who possesses part of a map that points the way to the mythical Trident of Poseidon, a handy artefact that has the power to break curses.
Jack is a party to the quest, but in their way stand Javier Bardem’s ghostly pirate-hunter Captain Salazar and Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbossa, both of them Jack’s sworn foes.
As you might expect, the film is overblown, overloud and overlong (although not nearly so bloated as previous instalments).
Yet there are still moments when this adventure is undeniably fun. The sequence in which Jack and his cronies attempt to steal an entire bank (building and all) picks up a rollicking comic momentum, while the episodes involving Bardem’s captain and his decomposing crew prickle with ghoulish dread thanks to the exceptional secial effects.