Yesterday, my wife and I went to see the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides. It's based on a pirate novel of the same name, just with the main characters mostly switched to the PotC characters, from what I gather. I haven't read the novel, but I hear it's good. Probably something I'll try to pick up soon.
The movie was really pretty good. The previous sequel in two parts, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, were overall disappointing. I enjoyed watching them, but they were quite a letdown. Trying to stretch the Davey Jones plot over two films, and trying to wrap up the Will Turner/Elizabeth Swan thing (since they'd signed on for three films) during that overall story made it too loose, especially when they were hoping to make each also work as a standalone story.
In On Stranger Tides, Disney/Bruckheimer did what they should have done, which is just make each sequel its own self-contained story involving the same characters. There are references to the earlier events, but without the plot-logic hoop jumping of trying to tie in the Davey Jones stuff into the otherwise self contained plot of Curse of the Black Pearl.
So we've got a true sequel here, rather than an attempt to turn a stand-alone movie into a self contained trilogy, and that's a good thing.
The tone of the movie is quite different. It's still full of swashbuckling fun, but it's not quite as humorous as the previous PotC films. Since a lot of the humor came from playing off Jack with Will and Elizabeth (and without Pintel and Rageti), they ended up with a really more subtle humor in the film. That didn't bother me, but if you're planning to take the kids, there's not as much silliness for them to enjoy.
The story was pretty good. It seems a lot like a D&D adventure in a lot of ways. The characters are in a race to find the Fountain of Youth. There are the Spanish, Barbossa (who's now a privateer for King George), and Blackbeard. They have to find it, but also figure out the ritual to make it work.
I liked it. It was similar enough to the earlier films, but was still its own beast. I really wish Hollywood would make more sequels like this with various properties, rather than the quest to mimic George Lucas in everything. Anyway, don't want to spoil things, but the ending sets up another sequel, which I'd expect in a few years.
[Saw it in 2D, if anyone's wondering. And again, I can't say the experience was lesser not having seen it in 3D, but there weren't any scenes I could think of where seeing it in 3D would have made it more spectacular.]