“Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi should take notes.  This is what he wanted to accomplish with his disappointing third film.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is bigger, longer and features more of anything found in the first two movies.  It’s also the best
film in the series.

Although many people place “Curse of the Black Pearl” on an unreachable pedestal, the film had gaping plot holes and isn’t nearly as
inventive or spectacular as “At World’s End.”  The characters develop from the setup of “Dead Man’s Chest” and all reach satisfying
conclusions (?) to their stories.

In fact, “At World’s End” packs so many characters that viewers would be well advised to give the second film a watch before heading to
the theater.  The film continues exactly where “Dead Man’s Chest” leaves off and never looks back.

Writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio do an excellent job of balancing the character drama.  Everyone has their part, and their parts are well-

It helps that the film is a generous 168 minutes, but director Gore Verbinski directs each storyline with such style and conviction that it
never drags.

At times the film is downright weird, but never goes over the edge.  The sequences inside Davy Jones’ locker are wonderfully imaginative,
and the transformation of the mysterious “Calypso” and the ensuing battle are absolutely spectacular.

Like the characters, “At World’s End” does an awesome job of balancing the humor with considerably darker content than we’ve seen
before.  The film is the most serious of the three, but is also unquestionably hilarious.

As before, the entire cast is excellent.  Johnny Depp will get most of the credit, and he deserves it, but the return of Geoffrey Rush as
Barbossa is also fantastic and Keira Knightley gives a great performance.

Perhaps the biggest complaint about the film is the length and the busy plot, and I would have to agree.  There are a lot of betrayals and
defections.  I’m not sure all of them were necessary.

At any one moment it can be difficult to follow the motivations and true intentions of the huge cast.  Even in these moments, however, the
film is entertaining.

Like the previous films, “At World’s End” is visually superb.  The art direction and cinematography are top-notch and ILM may have wrapped
up their second consecutive Oscar for the incredible visual effects.  These are, without a doubt, the best effects ever put on film.

Hans Zimmer also delivers the best score of the series with dramatic new themes and triumphant statements of previous ones.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is not without its flaws, but the film is so much fun, so imaginative, so spectacular and so
satisfying, that I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed either of the first two films.  This is a triumphant conclusion to
the trilogy and a rare third movie that actually outdoes its predecessors.  Drink up me hearties, yo ho!

* * * 1/2
(out of four)

P.S. Be sure to stay after the credits for the traditional final scene.
Directed by: Gore Verbinski

Written by: Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio

Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom,
Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Bill Nighy

Cinematography by: Dariusz Wolski

Music by: Hans Zimmer

Released: May 25, 2007; 168 Minutes