2017 is without a doubt one of the biggest and most anticipated years for cinema in recent memory. From superhero sci-fi to action adventures, this year has audiences wildly excited, and one of the films generating the most buzz is the fifth installment of the beloved #PiratesoftheCaribbean series, Dead Men Tell No Tales. However, it would be naive to say that fans weren't nervous about the film.
The series' fourth film, On Stranger Tides, received atrocious reviews, and for good reason. Simply put, the film felt like nothing more than a money grab and, most importantly, lacked heart. Audiences find themselves wondering if #DeadMenTellNoTales will be a regrettable repeat, but the fifth movie in the franchise holds more hope and far more promise than its predecessor, and there's really one reason as to why. Thanks to #Disney, we will see the return of #OrlandoBloom's Will Turner, the blacksmith-turned-pirate who would literally go to the ends of the Earth for those he loves.
His absence in the fourth installment was deeply felt by all, because while Jack is without question the main character (as well as a scene-stealer), he isn't a hero. Acting on selfish impulses almost instinctively, in many ways he's a wildcard and an unreliable protagonist. However, with Will, even when he's making a stupid decision, we know he's making the morally right one. Noble (often to a fault) we can rely on him. With his swift return to the seven seas, there's no doubt he will resurrect the series in a way no one else can.
Will Possesses All the Qualities Of A True Hero
What is a hero? Someone who we admire for their courage? Someone who always chooses the right path no matter how difficult? William Turner embodies each of these qualities and more. Time and time again, he has proven his quality, demonstrating how a true hero acts.
From standing up to Jack during their first encounter in The Curse of the Black Pearl, to leading a team of men to defeat the kraken, his bravery is nonnegotiable. Perhaps what stands out most is Will's fierce loyalty and love. When it comes between saving the woman he loves or saving his father, the choice is an impossible one, and we feel the emotional weight of his decision.
Even when Will becomes the Captain of the Flying Dutchman, he could have forsaken the duty that comes with it. Will not only died for Elizabeth, he also sacrificed a full and happy life with her because it was the right thing to do. As painful as it is, it's also incredibly endearing, and one of the reasons the audience loves him so intensely.
Will Is A Selfless And Reliable Protagonist
There's no question that Jack Sparrow is the series' main character. However, as a protagonist, he's fairly flighty. We can't trust him to act as a hero should, because even if he steps up to the plate at the very end, we can almost exclusively bank on the fact that he will act selfishly. Will, on the other hand, offers an alternative. Even if it isn't the socially acceptable thing to do, we can always trust that his decisions come from the heart.
Take Dead Man's Chest, for example. While Norrington wanted the heart of Davy Jones to regain his good standing with Lord Cutler Beckett, and Jack wanted it to save his own skin, Will wanted the heart so that he could free his father. Even once he understood what would happen if he were the one to kill Jones, he was still willing. There's something comfortingly constant about Will's morality, something reliable that is necessary from a hero.
Audiences Watched Will Step Out Of His Shell
Fans will remember the first few scenes of The Curse of the Black Pearl and cannot help but laugh. Will was a shy and timid soul who insisted on calling Elizabeth "Miss Swan." Orlando Bloom said it best, describing Will as if he were wearing a corset, constricted until the end of the film.
"Will's love for her...he's quite straight-laced. But it's like if you imagine him in one of those kind of corsets that Keira wears, it's like really tight at the beginning of the movie and he can hardly breathe and everything's kind of really tense. As the movie moves through, and as Will kind of grows, he sort of starts to untie the lace as it were. And he kind of starts to become more of a real person."
We've watched him come out of his shell, as he decided to do whatever it takes (including die) to save Elizabeth. He even goes so far as to save Jack from the noose by putting his own neck on the line. As the films went on, he became stronger and braver, but his heart remained just as true. Watching Will grow not only endeared the audience to him, but it held somewhat of a relatable truth.
There's something characteristically empathetic about Will, and a hero that we can relate to is a hero easy to root for. While Jack may be amusing, the majority of people can't relate to him on a personal level, and that's part of the reason why On Stranger Tides failed. Jack is the antihero, and while wonderful to have, it isn't enough to carry a film. The contrast and relationship between Jack and Will is what makes the films not only funny, but loved.
It's really easy to look at a series as successful and loved as POTC and say that the reason it has done so well is because it's a fun adventure ride, something entertaining that the whole family can watch together. However, almost every fan I've talked to, as devoted as they are to the series, couldn't stand On Stranger Tides. It was a fun adventure ride, sure, but it lacked heart. It lacked a reliable hero who we could relate to, and honestly, it lacked the chemistry the franchise is known for. The camaraderie, particularly in the first film between Jack, Will, and Elizabeth, was unbeatable. Now that Keira Knightley has also been announced to be in Dead Men Tell No Tales, the series has so much potential to be restored to its former glory.
What are you most looking forward to about Dead Men Tell No Tales? Nervous or excited? Let us know in the comments.