So, thankfully, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is quite good. I also hope it's the last Pirates film for reasons that I can't discuss without spoiling the end (spoiler discussion at the end of this.) It's too long, but so were the other two Pirates movies. It's confusing, but so were the other two Pirates movies. It's a bit full-of-showoffiness, but so were the other two Pirates movies. This one has a handful of very well-done action sequences (I particularly enjoyed the "Up is Down" sequence as well as the entire battle sequence at the end, which is exhaustive to say the least.)
I was also extremely overwhelmingly happy that the two people who come out of this movie most glowingly were Keira Knightley and Geoffrey Rush. Keira has come a long way since the first Pirates movie (including that well-deserved Oscar nod for Pride & Prejudice) and she actually gets stuff to do in this movie! She's actually At World's End's main character if you consider that pretty much all the action revolves around her and she's always there whereas the others (including Depp's Jack Sparrow) disappear at times. And, yes, it was so good having Rush back in the pirate life. He's so good in the role of Barbossa.
I also loved the production design. That opening sequence in Singapore was like a gift for my eyes, as was the Shipwreck Cove set. Delish. The visual effects were also quite amazing and it certainly looks like the crew here will be winning their second Oscar (now that Spider-Man 3 is surely well and truly out of the running and I wouldn't even say is guaranteed for a nod. I mean, Revenge of the Sith didn't even get nommed and everyone assumed that nod was a given.) The costume was also series-best work and I would love to see Penny Rose finally get a nomination for her stellar work on all three films (how has she gone un-nominated?)
On the negative side, the storyline involving Naomie Harris' Calypso was so completely and utterly confusing that I sort of gave up trying to follow it (apparently she's some human-form version of the ocean spirits? I dunno. Surely they could've created the maelstrom out of something else and save all the confusion.) And with so many people backstabbing one another and then backstabbing others and side characters popping up to backstab someone it was all a bit much at one stage.
Overall though I quite liked it and I'm gonna give it a B.
I hope this is the last movie they make in the Pirates, because if you stayed until the end of the credits there was that sequence set ten years later! Keira's character doesn't look remotely different - couldn't they have done some sort of makeup job on here? A few wrinkles? Still, it's ten years later. Are they gonna release another one in three years and have all the cast look the exact same? I'm sure that Disney will get another film out of this series at some point (there are new Die Hard, Rambo and Indiana Jones movies coming afterall), so maybe let the franchise rest at three when the story naturally ends and just wait a decade or so before bringing it out of retirement. At least Keira and Orlando might look their age a bit more then.