At World’s End has it all: betrayal, double crosses, shifting and shaky alliances, heartbreak, love, marriage, murder, comedy, regret and Keith Richards. Even the ending manages to provide closure and set up a possible fourth installment at the same time.

The movie kicks off on with a dark tone by breaking one of Hollywood’s most hallowed unwritten laws (hint: it involves the fate of children). I thought this might set the tone for the rest of the movie, but the film isn’t as dark as its first scene, though it’s the darkest of the three.

With Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp with perfect comic timing as always) dead, his cohorts Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) lead a motley crew to rescue Sparrow from the Kingdom of the Dead. They obtain a map from a reluctant pirate named Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), and once you think you have the upside down world of the Pirates movie pegged, they throw in some unexpectedly surreal scenes that would feel right at home in a Monty Python movie.

Like most summer movies, the dialogue-driven scenes serve to connect the various action set pieces. The intricate plotting involves a myriad of characters with murky motives, and at times, it’s difficult to care about onscreen proceedings; you just want the next impressive special effects sequence.

However, I liked the surprising emotional heft of the scene between Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) and Calypso (Naomie Harris) and would’ve liked to have seen that plot development further fleshed out.

While the action sequences are well done, they aren’t as inspired as in the previous two films. And as two of the three big stars of the movie, the Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley characters just aren’t all that interesting. I had more emotional investment with Davy Jones and Calypso.

Highly anticipated movies come with high expectations. I was entertained – but only to a point.

Grade: C

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is currently in theaters.