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The Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise: The Definitive Ranking

Another franchise, another definitive ranking.

I have more affection for the entirety of the first trilogy that Gore Verbinski delivered than most people seem to have. The movies that followed, though, had no idea what was appealing at all about those first three. Diluting the weirdness, pushing Jack Sparrow forward even though he ends up with little to no reason for being around, and then introducing new characters with a great need to connect them familially with established characters all combine together for little more than the definition of corporate cash grabs.

All I know is that I want Gore Verbinski to make more movies, and I wouldn’t complain if that Bioshock movie of his suddenly came together.

Below is my ranking of the franchise. Do check out all of my other lists. I have many.

Amazon.com: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN ON STRANGER TIDES MOVIE POSTER 2 Sided  ORIGINAL 27x40: Prints: Posters & Prints

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

“This movie sucked.”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) - IMDb

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

“It’s a middling entertainment in the end. It starts pretty strong but ends weakly. There could have been more adventures with Jack Sparrow in his appropriate supporting role, but it looks like Disney doesn’t want to work with him anymore. So, if this franchise continues, we’re probably just going to get some kind of hard reboot if we get any kind of movie at all.”

Amazon.com: Wallspace Pirates of The Caribbean: at World's End - 11x17  Framed Movie Poster: Posters & Prints

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

“The plot is overcomplicated, the first third is dedicated to undoing the last moments of the previous film, and the tone, especially in the beginning, is too serious for its own good. And yet, it still wants desperately to entertain me at a cost of $300 million, and I keep being entertained by the excessiveness of it all. It doesn’t reach the tonal heights of the first, but I can easily imagine worse ways to finishing out this kind of trilogy.”

Amazon.com: Wallspace Pirates of The Caribbean: Curse of The Black Pearl -  11x17 Framed Movie Poster: Posters & Prints

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

“Still, the buckles are swashed good and fun.”

Amazon.com: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN DEAD MANS CHEST 2 MOVIE POSTER 2 Sided  ORIGINAL 27x40: Prints: Posters & Prints

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

“The movie is a film of extravagance, taking the huge budget for both sequels and throwing them at the screen in ungainly ways…The three-way sword fight between Jack, Will, and Norrington as they fight over control of the key on a beach, up a hill, into the ruins of a church, and then on top of and inside a rolling water wheel is action that’s always changing, never getting boring, and consistently visually engaging.”

9 thoughts on “The Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise: The Definitive Ranking”

  1. One of my favorite comments in all movie reviewdom is from the blooper reel of the first movie. Orlando Bloom summarizes the movie and I guess the series by waving his arms about and going, “Arrr, swash swash, buckle, buckle!”

    I watched the initial trilogy with a group of friends a while ago. We were all surprised by how well each film held up and how the admittedly ponderous *At Worlds End* tied all the threads up together.

    Good list! 🙂

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    1. It’s the perfect comment for those first three movies. It’s meant to be just fun, and the movies are best when they embrace simply that.

      I think the one part of the loose ends that get tied up that just kind of irritates me is the pieces of eight, specifically the wooden eye. It goes from silly to making little sense considering how often Ragetti nearly lost it and Jack the monkey was chewing on it, even in the second movie when they presumably had an idea that it was going to be used to important purpose in the next movie (though there were probably heavy rewrites through the whole production that brought that up).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a thing that could go either way; I wonder if a reason the filmmakers shied away from using actual coins for the pirate lords’ important talisman being a too-close similarity to the….coins used as important talismans in the first movie.

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      2. I don’t think I mind the concept in general, it’s a weird bit of nonsense that I’m inclined to enjoy. It’s just the upping of importance of certain jokey things in particular. It’s trying to impart emotional weight to something that’s honestly just not supposed to carry it. I mean…Ragetti’s eye is nothing more than a joke until all of a sudden it’s super important. That’s a bad kind of weird right there.

        Liked by 1 person

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