Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge12¦ 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD
If there is one studio who refuse to see a franchise die, it's Disney. In recent years, the studio has turned into that annoying person who plays Monopoly with the intention of buying EVERYTHING on the board; to the point where they get shirty because despite all their protests, they can't actually buy the jail as well. Star Wars (Lucasfilm)? Buy! Marvel? Buy!
Meanwhile, they're also keen to charge the defibrillator and plunge them on their own film series, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean. The first one, which was released in 2003, made quite a splash at the box office, as well as Johnny Depp making his character Jack Sparrow a new modern film icon.
Since then, the franchise has struggled to keep afloat, with each subsequent entry watering down the series that little bit more. Surprisingly, someone has managed to slip some arm bands on this fifth instalment, as it does a good job in keeping its head above water.
It's been nine long years since a young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) last saw his father Will (Orlando Bloom); they met aboard the sunk Flying Dutchman, where Will explained he could never leave, due to a curse. Henry told him he had heard of something that could break and sea curse - Poseidon's trident - which he would do all he could to find. All this time later, he's still looking.
One person who he believes can him on his quest is Jack Sparrow (Depp), but he's proving just as elusive.
When Henry's ship finds itself in the notorious Devil's Triangle, the crew are attacked by deadly ghosts, led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem). Salazar lets Henry live, but only so he can find Sparrow and tell him that his days will soon be numbered.
While tracking Jack down, Henry's path crosses that of Carina (Kaya Scodelario), an astronomer and horologist, who is mistaken for being a witch and therefore sentenced to death. She is on a quest of her own, as she is attempting to find the map that no man can see. She suggests that if Henry helps to rescue her, they could help each other out.
Meanwhile, Jack has his own problems to deal with, particularly when his crew decide to abandon him. It's only when he meets up with Henry and Carina that it looks like they could help each other out, but with Salazar on the loose to get in the way, it won't be happy sailing.
There are certain things that you can guarantee about any Pirates film: Depp will be entertaining to watch; it will be visually pleasing; and the script will be a complete mess. Salazar's Revenge ticks all of these boxes.
How they can always screw the story up is anyone's guess. This one, like those before it, is overly complicated to the point where there's no real point in trying to follow it. If it was simplified, it would have been a far better film.
One area where it has improved though is in its duration; coming in at just over two hours, it doesn't outstay its welcome like previous films in the series.
Although the story is all over the place, the script is surprisingly entertaining, with a fair sprinkling of amusing dialogue throughout, mostly surrounding the antics of Sparrow, unsurprisingly.
And Norwegian directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg manage a sterling job of steering this beast, visually at least, on a highly attractive course. There are plenty of set pieces that manage to inject the necessary thrills and spills that you come to expect from such a franchise.
It may have only managed the second lowest box office takings of the series thus far, but that remarkably equates to the eighth grossing film of 2017 to date, so it must be doing something right.
That said, Disney are already looking out to a horizon with a sixth entry possibly bobbing up and down in the distance, which means, surprise surprise, that they're not quite ready to pull the plug on this swashbuckling franchise any time soon.