From the start, I subconsciously tried to cultivate low expectations for this movie so that I wouldn't be disappointed by it and so that I would be able to enjoy anything good in it. Not being in a hurry to see it, I let it fade out of theatres until I had to wait for it to be available on Netflix last month. It turns out that I approached the movie in the right way.
The thing is, I really liked the first movie. I like aspects inside the second and third ones, but I'm not the biggest fan of them overall. And as the fourth movie is rather bare, there was less for me to latch onto in it. The biggest critique I feel I can give is that the script was weak. I appreciate that they didn't try to elevate the plot into something "more epic" like they did with the third one, but a little more development would have been nice. Barbossa was always a wonderful character, fully fleshed out from his very first line. Davy Jones took a little longer to develop out, but he was alright. Cutler Beckett I somehow find very entertaining. But Blackbeard? He had no defining characteristics, besides regular pirate ones. He looks fine, with his Blackbeard's smoking beard and all, but he has no memorable personality. And what of the people from Spain? They had a couple of scenes that were presented as crucial, but with no development--it was like they were just thrown in. Angelica was kind of interesting; it isn't easy to set up a match for Jack Sparrow. But I still feel like I'm missing something from her. She isn't a pirate, right? (since Jack was the only pirate she could impersonate, as she said). What has she been up to since Jack helped her off the path to becoming a nun? She still wears a cross around her neck and is concerned about her father's soul, but she also acts quite piratey. So who is she, really?
Obviously, with the removal of Will Turner (and Elizabeth, too, I guess), Jack still needed a straight character to balance him out. Enter the missionary. His plot line with Syrena I also found lacking; I liked it, more or less, but it just felt like it was floating in the middle of the movie. The way that their story ended seems to imply that there is more to tell, given that this fourth installment does become a new trilogy as hoped. There certainly could be more to learn about them, but I doubt they would be the first focus of new movies, either.
Now on to the supernatural elements. I loved how the first movie was a combination of so many things: a period movie, a drama, an action/adventure movie, a fantasy. Fantasy should come accompanied by that certain sense of its fantasy; the first movie did this, but did this one? Not much, I thought. I came more with Jack's words to Angelica of, don't worry, I've seen plenty of the supernatural to believe that there's more. What I feel like is that this movie became just an action/adventure/comedy instead of that wonderful amalgam the first movie was. It entertained me for a couple of hours, but will I become exorbitantly excited if they announce two more movies? Not really.