I mostly agree with this assessment of Pirate's of the Caribbean 3: At World's End, that like Matrix, after the first movie with high promise the series sucked it up, though like Matrix, I have to give the 3rd pirate's some credit for tackling some "Big" ideas (fyi "" should actually be air-quotes and should be interpreted at least semi-ironically).
So the whole series has the standard insidious theme of the fantasy genre these days from Superman to Harry Potter that I hate, that technology and rationality and commerce is bad, and that thievery is good. But I can't fault Pirates too much here because that's true of the entire genre. (Mage: The Ascension and Alan Moore explore this well).
But a nice touch was the (last-minute) introduction of the goddess Calypso. But I liked her because she wasn't just a run of the mill goddess, but the anthropomorphic embodiment of the spirit of nautical adventure (much like Dream in Gaiman's Sandman).
Without her, the seas becamse rational and suitable for commerce, but without her, the seas lost their magic.
As a result, as soon as she was freed, what would have been a rational, orderly by the books naval battle between two fleets, turned into cartoonishly improbable scene of swashbuckling derring-do-well between two ships in a whirlpool. Ridiculous, but fully in line with the film's internal logic of Calypso.
So I actually liked (ridulosity of) the last half an hour or so, but yeah, thought the first two hours were completely disposable prologue.
Final Grade: C+
And as an aside, I thought it was obvious that the end was merely a hook for Pirate's 4, as obvious as Charles Xavier stirring at the end of X-men 3, which despite protestations otherwise, was clearly a hook for X-men 4.
It still blows me away how many not just sequels, but sequels to sequels there are this year (pirate's, shrek, ocean's, spidey, fantastic 4, rush hour, bourne). Not to mention Harry potter and Die Hard which are the 5th and 4th in their series. Maybe next year will the be the year of sequels to sequels to sequels.