Quite plainly, your first choice for a gung-ho movie hero would not be a quasi-scrawny pirate festooned in more eyeliner than a particularly slutty drag queen. Nor would he be the protagonist of a Disney franchise. Does he leave a vast trail of steaming viscera and blood-leaking body parts in his wake? He does not. Could he crack walnuts with a leisurely flex of a bicep/testicle? Alas not. Nevertheless, the star of the Pirates of the Caribbean series has quite a following amongst us guys.
This duplicitous devil defines the ‘lovable rogue’ dichotomy like few others in recent cinema. The conventions of good guy and bad guy seem moot here, Sparrow can flit betwixt allegiances and allies as easily as taking a piss (which he presumably does by casually dangling his meat over the side of the ship, hairy heathens that these dudes are). The East India Trading Company, the side of law and order, are presented as the enemy; while the pirates are the stars of the show. This move allows us to support the inherently really quite bastardly swashbucklers. Even the seemingly lobotomized but rather finely-bearded Orlando Bloom achieves the heroic villain effect. As such, the Captain and his penchant for having contradictory deals with each side simultaneously (twice) lends him an unpredictability that’s a delight to watch.
As, of course, does the stellar performance of Johnny Depp. A star turn as revelatory and commendable as Heath Ledger’s recent Joker, this is the role that propelled him to superstardom. A report, the details of which elude me, suggested he is now the highest payed actor in the world. (I believe it indicated that for a few million he’ll come to your humble abode and take a dump, whereupon the newspapers will flock to your bathroom to record the illustrious event for posterity/take photographs of the famous turd. Which would look wonderful indeed, framed with reverence and hung on prominent display in the kitchen. But as I say, don’t quote me on that. I had been drinking rather heavily at the time.) This is plainly just in my view. He has a remarkable flamboyance, a drunken gait and a sabre-sharp wit that steals the show effortlessly. The man has single-handedly become a primary reason for the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, as is made clear by his prominence in disneypirate’s trailer from last year’s release above. (“Look at Jack Sparrow’s latest upcoming shenanigans! There’s also some other peasants in the movie, but pay them no mind. They’re only a vehicle for our man’s lunacy. That big fairy Orlando Bloom isn’t lurking around this time, at least.” )
This is one of many reasons why I don’t write advertising blurbs.
He’s also the catalyst for some of the most ridiculous set-pieces in the Pirates movies. The rotate-amundo waterwheel swordfight, his attempt to murder the Giant Squid by INSERTING HIS SWORD INTO ITS MOUTH WHILE IT WAS CHEWING ON HIM, and the hilarious escape from the Pelegostos tribe are merely par for the course. Sparrow is quip-tastic in the manner of monotone maestro Arnold Schwarzenegger, but in a less bullet-hungry slab of furious robotic man-meat way. He’s certainly relatable, shunning a fight wherever possible and chasing women with glee wherever he finds himself (earning numerous vehement slaps for misdemeanours he can no longer remember along the way). With the insanity of some of his stunts, there are fleeting bursts of action hero prowess; interspersed with moments where he’d rather betray somebody for something shiny or get pissed on rum and pass out on a beach.
Much like all of us, in short.