Given the likes of Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars amongst their collateral, Disney might well now perceive the Pirates Of The Caribbean series as small-change. Like Guardians Of The Galaxy the original film, The Curse Of The Black Pearl, was seen as a high-risk venture on it's original release in 2003, but defied the odds to become an award-winning artistic and financial blockbuster, as well as unleashing Keira Knightley (coming off Bend It Like Beckham at the time) and helping to build Orlando Bloom's post-Legolas endeavours.
Four sequels later, the films and world have been firmly established, thanks in no short order to the ever-reliable lead performance of Johnny Depp as the now-irreplaceable Captain Jack Sparrow, prat-falling and sweet-talking his way out of any number of jams on the high-seas. The new film, Salazar's Revenge (aka Dead Men Tell No Tales) continues the swashbuckling jinx.
It could also be subtitled The Next Generation, as Sparrow is now called upon by young Henry Turner, the offspring of Will and Elizabeth, to try and free his father from a curse affecting the ship The Flying Dutchman. Together with new cohort Carina Smyth (Kaya Scoderlario), the quest in the new film is for the Trident of Poseidon, a new artefact which holds to key to great power in the seas.
Sparrow has his own problems to deal with, not least in the evil ghostly spirit of Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem) who has escaped from the mysterious 'Devil's Triangle' and is out to kill every pirate on the high seas, with one caveat of leaving one of the crew alive….
Salazar's Revenge is pretty much what you would expect in a Pirates experience and as expected, Depp is the main focus for watching the film, as well as the glue that holds the cast together. The action sequences are as consistent as the others in previous sequels and remain spectacular and epic in their scale. Bardem offers a deliciously evil subtlety as Salazar.
If there is one criticism of this new film, it may well be that the swordplay and physical battles may have been sacrificed in favour of the CGI element, but there are still some really neat visual touches here and there. The opening sequences set the tone for the rest of the film perfectly.
Disney are clearly - and certainly - not giving up on this franchise in favour of Rey and Co. (with The Last Jedi and Han Solo imminent in the next couple of years).A new Pirates is clearly on the cards (mark our words, you will certainly not be disappointed if you stay to the very end of Salazar's Revenge for the trademark coda that we seem to hold out for in many a Marvel offering)
Salazar's Revenge is a solid couple of hours escapism and - whilst there might be the law of diminishing returns to some after seeing this - don't bet on Sparrow and Co. sailing off into the sunset just yet.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - SALAZAR'S REVENGE / CERT: PG / DIRECTORS: JOACHIM RØNNING, ESPEN SANDBERG / SCREENPLAY: JEFF NATHANSON / STARRING: JOHNNY DEPP, JAVIER BARDEM, BRENTON THWAITES, KAYA SCODELARIO, GEOFFREY RUSH / RELEASE DATE: 25TH MAY