Ranking the Pirates of the Caribbean movies
Pirates of the Caribbean movies are my all time favorite. I have found no better movie or series that combines action, adventure, excitement, and some historical details so beautifully and perfectly. I like them so much more than other movies that they almost “break the scale” for me in terms of ranking other movies. In addition, I usually enjoy even my least favorite Pirates of the Caribbean movie more than any other movies.
In Pirates CSG Podcast #30, I briefly ranked all 5 of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. You can find that podcast at the bottom of this page, but in this post I wanted to rank all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in text form, more comprehensively. I know this is a little off-topic compared to my usual Pirates CSG focus, but between the 2007 expansion and intense relation to Pirates CSG (exact same theme), I think it’s quite fitting. Keep in mind that my ratings are comparing these movies against each other – compared to all movies in general, I would rate them all about 9/10 or better haha! (I love them that much) So without further ado, here is my official opinion on ranking what I believe to be the best movie series of all time!
1. The Curse of the Black Pearl
The first movie is the most classic. A true swashbuckling film from start to finish, this movie resurrected the pirate genre and spurred a blockbuster series that has lasted 15+ years.
- Cast and the characters they portray
- Historical setting mixed with the right amount of fantasy
- Understandable plot with twists and turns that make things exciting
- Multiple climaxes in a way – many peak experiences throughout the movie
- Unforgettable music, on par with the best in movie history
Cons: None? I feel that CotBP is the most perfect movie I’ve ever seen!
Ben’s Rating: 10/10
Best game piece from Pirates CSG: Captain Jack Sparrow
This ship can move and shoot using the same move action. When this ship is given an explore action, you can swap a treasure on the wild island with a crew on any friendly ship.
Link: All Pirate Ships
- Collector’s Number: 058
- Faction Affiliation: Pirate
- Rarity: C
- Type: Crew
- Point Value: 6
CJS is arguably the best crew in the entire game, as proved by VASSAL Tournaments #1 and #2. You could make a case that he is the single best game piece ever released by Wizkids. When most of the best fleets in the history of the game have this guy as their centerpiece, you know he’s amazing, and you also know that something went wrong. I do find it rather ironic that our beloved character is such a dominant force in the game, since he’s such a major character in the movies as well.
2. Dead Man’s Chest
The second movie was shot simultaneously with the third movie, and DMC does serve as a link to At World’s End while the first movie is really on it’s own in terms of the plot. While Dead Man’s Chest is another fantastic pirate movie, it’s definitely not as perfect as the first one. (though it would be nigh impossible to match the original of course)
- We get to see Captain Jack in a completely different state
- Great amount of fitting humor
- Davy Jones and his crew are menacing but fun
- No ship battle
- Kraken a bit overpowered/excessive
Ben’s Rating: 8/10
Best game piece from Pirates CSG: HMS Endeavour
- Collector’s Number: 003
- Faction Affiliation: England
- Rarity: R
- Type: Ship
- Point Value: 21
- Cargo Space: 4
- Base Move: L
- Cannons: 2L,2L,2L,2L,2L
- Number of Masts: 5
This ship eliminates two masts with one hit.
Flavor text: Lord Beckett’s flagship and the symbol of the Crown’s power, HMS Endeavour is the most impressive warship on the sea.
Sure she didn’t play much of a role until the 3rd movie, but this cannot be avoided. Just about on par with El Acorazado and the Constitution as the best gunship in the game. Combine the best guns money can buy with just about the best offensive ship ability in the game, and give those to the most offensively-minded faction, and you’ve got a warship for the ages.
3. At World’s End
The 3rd movie is in my opinion the most EPIC, which gets it major points in my book. The movie is the culmination and grand climax of the first 3 movies, building everything up to some of the most epic moments ever seen in movies. The humor is still there, the cast is top-notch, and there are few movies that can match its brilliance. A complicated and difficult-to-follow plot is the only thing that holds it back from being as good as the first movie.
- EPIC!! On par with Lord of the Rings for me.
- Everything you could want in an epic/action/adventure/Disney/pirate movie
- Climax and payoff of just about all major storylines built up from the start of the first movie
- Incredible actions scenes including an epic ship battle
- LUDICROUSLY amazing soundtrack
- Overly complicated – plot can be very difficult to follow at times
Ben’s Rating: 9.5/10
Best game piece from Pirates CSG: Hai Peng
- Collector’s Number: 013
- Faction Affiliation: Pirate
- Rarity: R
- Type: Ship
- Point Value: 13
- Cargo Space: 4
- Base Move: S+L
- Cannons: 3S,4S
- Number of Masts: 2
Junk. If this ship has a captain crew, she gets +L to her base move.
But where would Captain Jack Sparrow be without a ship? It might not be a ship he even sailed on in the movies, but the Hai Peng is the fastest ship in the entire game, and the fleets involved in T1 and T2 prove how insanely effective it is to pair them up. The only reason the Hai Peng isn’t higher is because without CJS, the HP wouldn’t be as ridiculously good.
4. On Stranger Tides
The 4th movie was supposed to have a smaller budget and reduced cast from the trilogy of 1-3, so I went in with lowered expectations. That was key to my enjoying the movie, as it turned out to be an (arguably inevitable) serious letdown to most of the fanbase. With Captain Jack trying to hold up a lesser cast by himself, the movie just doesn’t have the magic, scale, and excitement of the originals. A “new era” of Pirates of the Caribbean is born after the true high of AWE’s ending scenes.
- New characters to spice things up (though they aren’t quite as good as those from the original 3 movies)
- Adventuring theme that may have been slightly lacking in movies 2 and 3
- A bit “meh” in nearly every way – just not the same for cast, music, plot, action, or emotions
- No ship battle – in fact, not a single cannon shot I believe! 🙁
Ben’s Rating: 4/10 (still 8.5+/10 compared to all other movies)
With this movie and the 5th one being released after Pirates CSG went out of print in 2008, there were no game pieces from this movie. However, we can make customs!
5. Dead Men Tell No Tales
If the “lower budget” and different cast made me appreciate the 4th one more, I was overhyped for the 5th movie. Although fantastic overall, myself and others had many gripes with the movie, from the casting to the plot to redundant repetition. It’s a fun movie, just not quite as great as the trailers or cast would make you expect. You can find my full review of the movie here.
- Humor – St. Martin town scene, wedding scene, etc.
- Blurring of lines between good vs. bad – you can easily root for the antagonist
- Wasted star power (Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and Paul McCartney are hardly in the movie!)
- Continuity issues/plot holes
- Too unrealistic – many bizarre things that were really obvious mistakes
- Meh characters/acting – even Captain Jack is not the same anymore
Ben’s Rating: 6/10 (still 9/10 compared to all other movies)
Although there aren’t game pieces from DMTNT, I’ve made some customs that you can find at the bottom of the Epic Seas sheet (4th tab).
You can also find all the movies in boxed sets, not to mention the excellent soundtracks.
Here you can hear my opinion during the 30th episode of the Podcast. I’ve also ranked the Top 10 Caribbean game pieces and the best game pieces from the set with multiple versions.
Check out the other episodes of the Podcast here.