As someone who never really knew a world of "Empire Strikes Back" without "Return of the Jedi", I'm left wondering if this is how it's supposed to feel when you come out of the middle film of a trilogy where you don't know how it's going to turn out. Did the people coming out of the first screenings of Empire Strikes Back have this same sadness with a hint of disappointment?
This mood of this movie is much darker than the first. The characters are much less care-free and seem to each be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. And the sheer amount of action they've managed to cram into this movie can be a little overwhelming.
But the characters we love are still there. The dialogue is as sharp and beautiful as ever, and the whole world of Pirates 2 is as captivating and enchanting as ever. So it's still a good thing.
But still, where the Jack Sparrow of the first movie was occasionally a scoundrel, selling his friends out to save his hide, he'd be redeemed a few minutes later, the Jack Sparrow of Pirates 2 is a lot meaner, and although he's no less funny, he's a lot harder to like. Maybe that's the problem with this huge gap between the movies.
So maybe this is the same as what happened with Empire Strikes Back, and look what happened there. Time will tell.
While my review is running this long anyway, I might as well take some time to mention the fact that this DVD has some of the best behind-the-scenes featurettes I've seen. They're not afraid to talk about -- and sometimes show us -- the various problems (budget, script) the production faced. Which is a refreshing change from the usual "I was just *so* excited to be working on this film" fluff.