I saw Superman Returns again Saturday night at the drive-in, and though I still think Routh is perfect as Superman, the casting of Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane seems even more boneheaded, and the script's flaws were even more obvious to me. I agree with most of the criticisms in the comments on the other Superman post.
We were at the movie as part of a social event for Peggy's business school class, and we had a pretty good turnout. After the movie was finished (2 and a half long hours later), Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest was showing on the screen directly opposite our screen and that screening had also just ended. So half of the group went home and the other half decided to drive over and re-set-up and watch Pirates. Even though I was not particularly enthused to see the movie (I hated the original), there is something kind of fun about seeing a movie the rest of the country is obviously ga-ga for ($55 million in one day) on opening weekend. So here's the verdict: though Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest is not a great movie, probably not even a good movie, it is not awful, and it is a marked improvement over the first.
Here's what's good about it, in a SPOILER-FREE manner: 1) Depp. He made me laugh out loud a couple times, mostly because of that makeup they did on his eyelids. Maybe I was punchy because it was so late, but I thought it was frickin' hilarious.
2) Bill Nighy as Davy Jones. It's a brilliant performance (facial motion capture, I'm guessing). I think it's as nuanced and compelling in its way as Andy Serkis's work as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies. Throughout Pirates 2, the CGI work here (as far as I could tell on the fairly distant drive-in screen) was flawless.
3) Davy Jones's crew. These freaks and monsters are genuinely, legitimately disturbing creations. For younger viewers (and probably not a few older viewers, too) these things are the stuff of honest-to-God nightmares. The hammerhead pirate-monster in particular stands out.
Here's the stuff that sucked, also in a spoiler-free manner: 1) Orlando Bloom. Holy Christ, he sucks. He brings absolutely nothing to the table. He is bereft of charisma, his acting ability ranges from angry and defiant to ... maybe that's it. He was very good at scanning the horizon in Lord of the Rings. Maybe we should find him more roles doing that.
2) The script. Terry Rossio (among others) throws a lot of stuff in here for the characters to chase after (a key, a chest, the content of the chest), and he has "fun" with the characters finding and then losing all of these things for 2 and a half hours, all the while, everyone else's minds have turned to mush watching this thing. When Orlando Bloom and some other guy have a swordfight on a giant, rolling water wheel, I realized that any hope I might have harbored for a comprehensible story (faint to begin with) were finally crushed. (Also: these Pirates movies, for all of their pretensions of being throwbacks to more swashbuckling fare, have the most reliably terrible swordfights I've ever seen. Why is that? Couldn't someone set up a screening of The Princess Bride for the writers prior to the writing?)
3) The length. Neither Black Pearl nor Dead Man's Chest need to be 2 and a half hours. Just not necessary. After an hour, you start to feel every minute of this thing.
On the plus side, the laughs are there, (though sparse and largely absent from the last hour and a half), and the CG effects and the hammy pirate acting are often interesting enough to power skeptical (not to mention sleepy) viewers through to the end of this bloated spectacle. On the other hand, if you liked the first one, you'll probably love this thing.