I’m a little surprised how poorly it’s been received by critics. It was good pirate fun without the excessively layered plot that caused the second and third to really drag.
My suspicion is that it’s partly to do with the nature of entertainment journalism – when a franchise, actor, director etc. has a couple of flops, whether critically or financially, it’s almost an unwritten rule that whatever they make next will be made fun of despite any of its merits. And let’s face it, negative reviews are more fun to read. In the case of Pirates of the Caribbean, the first movie was too good for any new entry to be as beloved as the franchise once was.
A good rule of thumb is that unless a critic informs you that the promotions are being dishonest (it’s easy for a trailer to lie), trust your own judgment. If you like the trailer, see the movie!