If you're a big fan of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, then the massive, sprawling, and almost exhaustively entertaining sequel Dead Man's Chest is going to remind you of either The Empire Strikes Back or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Either way, it's worth the price of a movie ticket to find out, isn't it? One of those sequels is the most exciting and dramatic ever made ... and the other one's a big sloppy mess that's a huge ball of fun. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest falls squarely between the two.

Before I commence with my second Pirates tongue-bath, I feel it's important to make one thing very clear: I am an unapologetic and rather enthusiastic "geek" when it comes to this series.  This might help to explain why the sequel's narrative logjams and occasional moments of plot-structure confusion didn't bother me all that much. This is certainly not a flawless piece of entertainment (indeed, I still like POTC1 a bit more), but this follow-up is the crown jewel of this summer season -- and it's packed with more multiplex treasures than you'll know what to do with.