This movie misses Geoffrey Rush. His character and his acting in the first movie is a lot of what makes that movie so memorable and rewatchable. With him being *largely* absent in this installment, there is a void and it is definitely noticeable as this movie is not on par with its predecessor. With that being said, this movie is still pretty good. It is not without its exposition and dull moments, but for the most part it is still fun and has some of the magic that the first movie had in boatloads. The effects are great. Davy Jones looks like a real octopus headed person! The effects are clearly upgraded from the preceding movie. The action is good. I would have liked to see a bit more from the climax in this movie though. There just isn't a whole lot of pay-off in the ending moments, but they left it open for the sequel so it makes it hard for this movie to completely stand on its own since a lot of it is paid off in "At World's End." Johnny Depp's consistency in his role as Jack Sparrow in the entire series is nice to lean on, but it seems like the writers have a difficult time making him grow. He is the main plot device but really, after you take away his goofiness there is little arc to be found in this installment, he is still the same Jack Sparrow we saw at the end of "Curse of the Black Pearl" by the end of this movie. This movie balances absurdity with seriousness and there is a pretty good blend of it here. I could have done without the funky love triangle of Keira Knightley's character, Elizabeth; Orlando Bloom's, Will Turner; and Jack Sparrow, because it doesn't feel all that natural and doesn't seem to have mattered much by the end of the movie anyway (I think the writers could have trapped him on the ship without having had a weird love triangle for a set-up). This movie is not terrible by any means. It will keep you entertained, but it is not as endearing or memorable as the first. Overall, I give this movie a 7/10.