FAR too many sequels these days tend to provoke the reaction: 'Does anyone really need to go through all this again?'
A rare exception to that rule is Pirates of the Caribbean - the first movie gloried in its send-up of pirate movie clichés and was the first swashbuckling epic in years that came close to recapturing the devil-may-care spirit of the Errol Flynn era.
It could, perhaps, be argued that it is tempting fate to commit everyone involved to two sequels before discovering how good or how favourably the secondinstalmentisgreeted by fans of the first movie.
The last franchise to go down this route was The Matrix and its two sequels really only succeeded in sul-lying the reputation of the remarkable original.
But you can understand why director Gore Verbinski wanted to move fast: it is unlikely he will ever be able to get three A-list stars such as Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley together for a fourth instalment.
So strike while the iron is hot and that is precisely what Verbinski has set out to do with an incident-packed adventure that has so much going on during its 150-minute running time that you truly do wonder what could be left for a third outing.
The plot is unbelievably convoluted but that's no big problem - the first picture was pretty sprawling in its scale. At the heart of it is an encounter between Depp's iconic Captain Jack Sparrow and his arch-nemesis Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) who has an old score to settle.
In the first picture, Geoffrey Rush's villain had a cursed dead crew whose decomposing forms were revealed in the moonlight. Here, Davy Jones's bizarre shipmates have body parts shaped like denizens of the deep such as hammerhead sharks or puffer-fish.
But this is just the tip of this iceberg of a story which begins by setting out to split our heroes asunder to do their own thing then tries to contrive circumstances that will bring them all back together.
It's hard to imagine anyone who enjoyed the first picture not liking what is served up here.