The latest Pirates of the Caribbean film is setting sail with positive reviews on its side.
Premiering nearly 14 years after director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp launched the blockbuster franchise with The Curse of the Black Pearl back in 2003, the series’ fifth installment — subtitled Dead Men Tell No Tales — has seemingly rubbed industry professionals the right way at the annual CinemaCon trade show.
Screening as part of Disney’s 2017 showcase for theater owners and journalists on Tuesday night at the Las Vegas-based convention, Pirates 5 garnered glowing notices for its special effects in particular, with The Playlist contributor Gregory Ellwood calling it “impressive” while also noting the picture “has [the] most heart since [the] first movie.”
Helmed by Norwegian filmmakers Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, the epic swashbuckler sees Depp — who’s appeared in every Pirates film to date — reprising the role of Captain Jack Sparrow, which previously earned him an Oscar nod for best actor in 2004. Depp’s performance in Dead Men Tell No Tales was well-received by CinemaCon attendees as well.
“You [didn’t] think you [needed] more Jack Sparrow and then you realize you needed more Jack Sparrow,” Fandango managing editor, Erik Davis, tweeted after the screening, referencing Depp’s quirky portrayal of the seafaring hero, who returns to the ocean here in search of Poseidon’s mythical trident.
Over the years, a revolving door of A-list stars docked in the series’ waters, including Penelope Cruz, Keira Knightley, Zoe Saldana, Naomie Harris, Bill Nighy, and Keith Richards, among others. Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush also return to the Pirates universe in Dead Men Tell No Tales alongside new cast members like Oscar winner Javier Bardem and The Maze Runner actress Kaya Scodelario, whom The Salt Lake Tribune writer Sean P. Means indicates plays “the strongest female character” in Pirates history.
A handful of viewers also called the film an improvement from Pirates‘ last outing, 2011’s On Stranger Tides, which went on to gross over $1 billion at the worldwide box office despite poor critical reviews.
“The new Pirates of the Caribbean is a big step up from the lifeless [On Stranger Tides],” Ain’t It Cool News‘ Eric Vespe said, noting the film sees the series going “back to the fun myth building,” though Verbinski’s directorial hand is noticeably absent.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is set for nationwide release on May 26. Check out more early reactions from the film’s CinemaCon premiere below.