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I was slightly less than- and by that I mean not at all- enthused that a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie was being made. The fourth film, On Stranger Tides, was…fine. There were definitely some cool elements: it brought mermaids into the story, which is something I was surprised wasn’t included sooner, and it was certainly more fun than a lot of movies are. For me though, it lacked a lot of the magic that made me adore the original trilogy. I was bitter, I’ll absolutely admit it. I assumed that Dead Men Tell No Tales was going to continue along that downward trajectory, and dig the franchise into an even deeper hole when it should have been left well enough alone. Well, I’ve seen it, and I haven’t been so happy to be proven wrong in quite some time. Dead Men Tell No Tales definitely swings back towards the vibe of the first three films, and while there are some definite plot hole issues and rewriting of previously established canon, there’s a lot for diehard Pirates fans to be very happy about.
Most notably: THESE TWO.
Jack Sparrow is a fun character, but for me Will and Elizabeth were the emotional center of the films, and the fact that they were missing from On Stranger Tides is a big reason that chapter didn’t do it for me. The announcement that Orlando Bloom was returning for this movie was welcome news, but his sad fate- becoming the cursed captain of the Flying Dutchman at the end of the third Pirates film- made it obvious that Will wasn’t going to jump right back into the fray. Brenton Thwaites’ character Henry, Will and Elizabeth’s son, was clearly going to take up the mantle of Romantic Male Lead. Still, some Will Turner is better than no Will Turner at all. Then came the super exciting news. It was supposed to remain a secret, but when the news leaked Disney decided to go with it and put a shot in one of the trailers that officially revealed that Keira Knightley was going to have a part in Dead Men Tell No Tales, something that was not previously the case.
During test screenings for the film, one of the most consistent questions from audiences was “Where is Elizabeth Swann?” Since Keira Knightley had turned down a role because she wasn’t up for the time commitment these movies require, a plan was devised to go to London and film around her existing schedule. She’s in the movie for a very, very short time and doesn’t even say anything, but it doesn’t matter. It’s him, and it’s her, and they’re in a Pirates movie again.
Let’s reminisce about their love, shall we? Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann meet when they’re twelve, and even though she’s a Governor’s daughter and he goes on to be a lowly blacksmith, as they get older they’re both feeling it.After their adventure in The Curse of the Black Pearl, they decide enough is enough, declare their love, and have their first kiss. We swoon.
As Dead Man’s Chest opens, their wedding is disrupted, which Elizabeth is particularly pissed about because she was “so ready to be married.”
At the end of the film when it looks like the Kraken is going to take everyone down just to get to Jack, Elizabeth tricks Jack by kissing him in order to chain him to the Black Pearl so everyone else can escape. Will sees them kiss and is really pissed, and Elizabeth feels too guilty to admit what she did, so Will spends the beginning of the third film, At World’s End, thinking that Elizabeth is in love with Jack. But they work it out because they’re a power couple. During the big battle at the end of the film, Will and Elizabeth have Barbossa marry them, and a quicky wedding on a pirate ship really is the only way to go.
Their marital bliss is short lived, because Davy Jones then stabs Will through the chest and the only way to save him is to help Will stab Davy Jones’ heart so that he can take Jones’ place as captain of the Flying Dutchman. Which would be great, except for the whole cursed for all eternity to roam the seas and can only step foot on land once every ten years thing. Will and Elizabeth have their one day on land, and spend it wisely. Get it girl!
Then Will has to leave to to perform his duty, and it’s incredibly depressing. I’m a happily ever after kind of girl so I was absolutely heartbroken. The At World’s End scene after the credits is bittersweet: Elizabeth and their son go to meet Will for his one day on shore after ten years.
That bring us to Dead Men Tell No Tales, in which neither of them feature very prominently, but it doesn’t matter. are in very often. The beginning of the film opens with young Henry Turner, who tracks down the Flying Dutchman so he can see his father, who’s started to look a little fishy.
Cut to nine years later, and the rest of this film plays out. Battles are had. Undead sharks try to eat people. Javier Bardem’s hair is in constant shampoo commercial flow. It’s fun, it’s funny, and it definitely reinvigorated my love for the series.
I won’t go into the plot of the entire film here, since there’s a lot going on, but the bottom line is this: the Trident of Poseidon controls all of the curses of the sea, and it gets broken, so the curse that kept Will attached to the Flying Dutchman is lifted. Will comes on shore and who is there to greet him?! This lady.
Badass 18th century lady and the freaking Pirate King. They literally run to each other across a sweeping field, and I burst into tears. I would be embarrassed, but I clearly wasn’t the only one feeling it. When they meet and embrace each other, a fully grown man somewhere in the theater yelled out “Yeah!” and people started cheering and clapping. Will and Elizabeth were apart for twenty years, but true love won out in the end. I adore these two. I thought I was over it, and it wasn’t until that moment that I realized how un-over it I am.
End film. End credits.
It’s nighttime, there’s a thunderstorm, Will and Elizabeth are asleep in bed, but something opens their bedroom door and thump thump thumps its way into their room. What’s that we can see in the shadows? It looks like a man, and are those tentacles near his face? The shadowy figure who is most definitely Davy Jones gets right up to their bed and Will startles awake, but thank goodness it was just a dream! Will heaves a deep sigh and snuggles into Elizabeth. Then the camera pans down to the floor. Is that a little puddle of water, and barnacles?! Dun dun dunnnnnnn. These two can’t catch a break.
(The scenes aren’t impossible to find online if you’re interested in doing some searching, but I won’t post them here since the movie is still in theaters. I’m not about to tangle with the House of Mouse.)
So if Disney decides to make more Pirates films, which they very well may since Dead Men Tell No Tales has already made over half a billion dollars worldwide, Davy Jones could very much be back. Since he seems to be after them again, Will and Elizabeth could be back in the mix as well, if Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are so inclined to sign on for another movie. There’s absolutely no guarantee of course, but I’m excited by the prospect of it.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is in theaters now. You can check out all of our Disney coverage here.