I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides twice in less than 24 hours this past weekend, and it was great fun both times. It is a fantastic, self-contained yarn about a beloved character who was forced to split screen time with somewhat less beloved and less interesting characters in the first three films. For the first time in the series, Captain Jack Sparrow is our protagonist and not just a foil for the hero, and that gives us the chance to see sides of him we’ve not seen before, or at least not seen a lot of. We get to see what happens when Jack is the student rather than the teacher (in the early scenes aboard Queen Anne’s Revenge), we get to see what happens when the love story is his and he’s not just the third wheel, and, most importantly, we get even more of his “all part of the plan” antics than we ever have before.

No, it’s not a perfect film — as friends pointed out, there’s no explanation for why the Spanish just take off in the final act, rather than engaging the other parties at the Fountain in battle, and that’s just one flaw of many — but it was fun ride that found me eating lots of popcorn and Reese’s Pieces and hoping that we might get more Pirates films like this in the future.