"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" doesn't hit theaters until Friday, but it's already left viewers disappointed.
The majority of reviews available for the fifth film in the blockbuster franchise aren't kind, leaving the Johnny Depp vehicle with a measly 33 percent "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, at the time of this writing. That score might jump if other critics are kinder, but considering the consensus, so far, seems to be that Captain Jack Sparrow's schtick is beyond old and that the plot is more confusing than ever, we're betting it will only continue to rot on the popular critic aggregator.
"Dead Men Tells No Tales" tries to freshen up the series with new young stars Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario stepping in for Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley to team up with Sparrow, and but apparently it's more formulaic than ever, with many critics comparing it to a less interesting version of the first franchise installment, "Curse of the Black Pearl." Javier Bardem is getting high marks from critics, but even the steady creepy hiss of his zombie pirate, Captain Salazar, can't save what many are considering a shipwreck.
It's the latest in a string of bad reviews for Depp movies, including recent stinkers like "Alice Through the Looking Glass," "Yoga Hosers" and "Mortdecai."
So before you reward Hollywood for trying to sell you another shiny turd, take a look at 7 of the worst reviews below, most of which take Depp to task for yet another uninspired performance.
TimeOut critic ELLIE WALKER-ARNOTT
"Unfortunately for everyone, Captain Jack Sparrow is still slurring and staggering around the Caribbean. Whatever charm and charisma Johnny Depp once had in this role is well and truly lost at sea. Even flashbacks to his youth – the origin story no one asked for, complete with CGI fresh-faced-ness – fail to reignite the love affair we once had with this hard-living pirate. Fourteen years after ‘The Curse of the Black Pearl’, he’s drunker, stupider and more of a lech. The jokes about women run aground, and watching him perve over Carina in her undergarments is repulsive rather than amusing. Avast, already!"
Hollywood Reporter critic John DeFore:
"Depp remains wholeheartedly the focus of this fifth 'Pirates' film, and saying the character's loopy novelty has faded is like complaining that there are maggots in the below-decks gruel: You knew what you were getting when you came aboard. Despite its limp zingers and a phoned-in star performance, this episode — directed with little distinction by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, of 2012's 'Kon-Tiki' — hits enough familiar notes to continue its predecessors' commercial success, keeping a small city's worth of VFX artists employed until Depp decides he can't be bothered any more."
Variety critic Andrew Barker:
"Now, 14 years and four films later, the 'Pirates' franchise has finally delivered exactly what cynics had expected all along. Containing only the faintest traces of the spark that turned this once unpromising idea into a nearly four billion-dollar enterprise, Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg’s 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' is a mercenary, visually unappealing exercise in brand maintenance. The franchise has lost a bit of its luster with every successive installment, but never has a 'Pirates' film felt this inessential, this depressingly pro forma. It will surely make money, and the estimated wait times for its namesake ride will spike in Disney parks worldwide. But considering the quality of some of the other big-money franchises in Disney’s fleet, 'Pirates' needs to make a far better case for its seaworthiness if it expects to see future voyages."
The Playlist critic Rodrigo Perez:
"The ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ series is a washed-up acrobat, a bloated whirling dervish awkwardly going through the motions, barely sticking the landing with a half-hearted, 'ta da.' Nearly all movie franchises tend to regurgitate the same story, but the best of them manage to keep things relatively fresh (see the heroes journeys in the Marvel and 'Star Wars' films, for example). But by now, nothing inventive ever occurs in Disney’s ‘Pirates’ series that feels remotely inspired. Jack Sparrow is spent and needs to be retired, but the gods of movie McFranchises demand he keep up his buffoonish antics. Like the curse that features in nearly every ‘Pirates’ film, Disney, Depp, Bruckheimer and the series seemed destined to buccaneer foolishly for the rest of all time. The blasé formula remains intact for the fifth installment, 'Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,' another silly, uninspired bore of a blockbuster leaning hard and clumsily on themes of fatherhood, legacy, and the passing of torches. The film is not unlike a classic rock supergroup reuniting to play all the greatest hits, with the payday at the end as the only true motivation, rather than returning with something new to say about their work."
Empire critic Dan Jolin:
"Keeping up with the nonsensical plot lurches and inconsistencies is exhausting. And even the once-reliable Johnny can’t distract us like he used to. Jack’s shtick has consumed the character. Where once he was an engaging oddity whose unhinged mannerisms you felt cloaked hidden (and sober) depths, Jack now feels like a routine rather than a person. Where his soul once dwelled, we find only backstory — executed with some horribly uncanny valley de-aging CGI work on Depp’s face, and one supremely pointless revelation. Ever wonder why he’s called 'Sparrow'? Us neither."
Uproxx critic Mike Ryan
"'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales' is practically incoherent. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the “plot,” but it’s been futile. I’ve asked literally eight other people who saw this movie to answer a couple specific questions and no one has been able to do it ... I officially have a headache now so I’m going to stop trying to figure this out. But suffice it to say that there are a lot of characters in this movie and a lot of them serve no purpose. Jack Sparrow really isn’t needed even though everyone is looking for him. The movie tells us Sparrow is important but it’s all smoke and mirrors – Jack Sparrow could just not be in this movie and it would be about the same."
ScreenCrush critic Matt Singer:
"Even though the latest, 'Dead Men Tell No Tales,' comes from a new pair of directors ('Kon-Tiki’s' Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg), it’s basically indistinguishable from the three previous sequels, except they’re mostly bad and it is extremely bad ... 'Dead Men Tell No Tales' is the sort of sequel that’s so bad it makes you retroactively wonder why you liked the original film so much in the first place. 'The Curse of the Black Pearl' was cheeky and fun with impressive action, cool special effects, and a charismatic star performance. This Pirates is leaden and predictable, with barely a handful of memorable shots and stunts (there is one clever sequence involving Depp and a guillotine). After 15 years, Captain Jack has devolved into an accumulation of tics and pratfalls, and his movies are basically lavish high-seas versions of a 'Scooby-Doo' episode: A guh-guh-guh-ghost does a bunch of spooky stuff and everyone runs and screams for a while, and then the bad guy gets caught. He would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those blasted meddling kids and their damn pirate."