Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is the third film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and is a direct sequel to the previous film, Dead Man’s Chest. As the franchise leans further towards the more violent and action-packed life of piracy, At World’s End represents a climactic shift in the overall plot and tone of the series. This third film brings almost every character from the previous two films together, along with a slew of new faces as well, for one massive battle of epic proportions.
Although the movie is a bit long in the tooth, the incredible special effects and exciting action scenes are well worth the wait. Apart from consistently fun pirate action, which has always been a Pirates movie staple, does At World’s End manage to produce a satisfying conclusion for the story so far? Generally speaking, this third Pirates flick amps things up yet again, but at the cost of some story issues.
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The Movie Review
At World’s End continues the story that was started in Dead Man’s Chest, involving a cunning pirate named Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), a cursed ship captain named Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), and the pompous yet deadly East India Trade Company, led by the scheming Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander). After the events of Dead Man’s Chest, Jack Sparrow finds himself stranded in Davy Jones’ Locker, an endless purgatory for souls lost to the ocean depths. Luckily, Sparrow’s comrades Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightly), and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), plan a rescue mission to save him.
However, their plan involves sailing to treacherous and uncharted seas, to the literal edge of the world.
While the adventure to save Jack Sparrow acts as the focal point for a large portion of the narrative, there are an excess of other sub-plots to fill out the runtime. There’s an unfinished romance between Will and Elizabeth, while Will is simultaneously motivated to free his father from Davy Jones’ servant crew. In order to save Jack, our main heroes will also need to win the favor of the nine pirate lords, most of whom have their own motivations and sub-plots.
Overall, there’s a lot of unnecessary story baggage that weighs down the overall plot, causing the majority of the story to feel scattered. Granted, there are plenty of cool story moments and fun nods for fans, but there’s an equal amount of filler that should’ve been cut. As a result, the middle of the movie feels messy and awkwardly paced, but thankfully, still entertaining to look at.
This is mostly due to the excellent special effects and cinematography in At World’s End. Even when compared to other big-budget movies from more recent years, At World’s End is surprisingly impressive. While the action still reaches fantastical heights, the violence is notably serious, with many characters dying from direct gunshots, sword-stabs, and more. This is good news for those who felt that the previous Pirates movies were too family-friendly. Unfortunately, this means that At World’s End might be a bit too graphic for younger viewers. Luckily, if you’re a fan of visceral, hard-hitting pirate action (that only occasionally reverts to slapstick humor), you’ll greatly enjoy what At World’s End has to offer.
The Bottom Line
Overall, At World’s End never pulls the punch. From start to end, there’s a massive amount of action, plot, and visual spectacle to take in. In fact, the ambitious nature of this third Pirates movie might be its biggest downfall, as it often feels too busy for its own good. That said, if you’re a fan of the previous Pirates movies and characters, At World’s End will be a fun and lengthy follow-up. While the movie lacks the jovial feeling of adventure that the other entries have, it makes up for it with stunningly cool visuals and action set-pieces. Simply put, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End might not be the best Pirates movie, but it’s got plenty of crazy action to keep you interested.
- Impressive special effects
- Hard-hitting action
- Classic pirate tropes and themes
- Too many sub-plots
- Movie tends to drag on