The Pirates of the Caribbean films, a series based on a theme park ride of all things, will always be remembered for birthing one Captain Jack Sparrow.
Played by the chameleonic Johnny Depp, Sparrow is the slurring, mischievous, reluctant hero who went from supporting character to cinematic icon, making Hollywood pirates fashionable again. Sparrow steals so much of the spotlight from all the other swashbucklers that it’s easy to miss how good the series’ villains are.
From Barbossa to Davy Jones the baddies are funny, tragic and usually a visual treat with their skeletal facade or squid faces. Ruthlessly chasing Sparrow across the seven seas, the bad guys are equally as endearing as our hero, perhaps even more so.
The next guy on the pirate villain roster is Armando Salazar, and so far he looks to be the best yet. Portrayed by the incredibly talented Javier Bardem, Jack Sparrow needs to put his overt cockiness to one side and start being very, very afraid. Here’s why...
4. Salazar really, really hates pirates...
The films so far have featured a few characters who don’t much like Jack Sparrow’s fellow rapscallions and their pirate-y ways, but they were nothing compared to Capitán Salazar.
He is a self-proclaimed pirate hunter – a Predator of the seven seas, who has killed thousands of rum-chugging buccaneers for no other reason than he outright hates them. Hunting and killing pirates is far beyond merely being Salazar’s job - it is his purpose. Aside from his general loathing of pirate-kind, there’s one in particular that really sticks in the Capitán’s craw…
3. ... And he hates Jack Sparrow even more
Having scourged the seven seas for many years, slaying pirates left and right, Salazar was eventually thwarted by a mischievous young boy. That boy would go on to become none other than Captain Jack Sparrow, the drunken rogue with a scraggly beard who would sail into the hearts of cinemagoers everywhere.
Cunningly outsmarting the merciless Capitán in a classic Sparrow ploy, before luring him into a damned place known as the Devil’s Triangle, Sparrow is the reason for Salazar’s death and eventual resurrection. Peeved at being undead and trapped, Salazar had nothing better to do than plot his revenge. Kept alive by an all-consuming rage, Sparrow’s charm will not save him this time.
2. He's another supernatural foe
Jack Sparrow is a charismatic bloke, but that doesn’t really explain why spectres and ghouls are so drawn to him. All manner of madness has befallen our troublesome hero, from walking skeletons to seaworld mutants to the mythical Kraken and now he’s going to have to deal with the undead.
Salazar’s resurrection has imbued him with extraordinary powers, seemingly making him more unstoppable than he was before. Strange that all the villains in the Pirates of the Caribbean anthology are supposedly cursed yet gain enviable, supernatural abilities... Maybe they should stop complaining and appreciate how lucky they are.
Anyway, now that he is something of a God, Salazar is able to walk on water and pass through solid objects leaving nowhere for Sparrow to hide. In fact, he may as well just give up now.
1. He's played by Javier Bardem: villain extraordinaire
A superhuman pirate hunter with a burning hatred of our hero, Capitán Armando Salazar already looks scary enough. But if you haven’t felt the chills creep up your spine just yet, you will once you realise that Javier Bardem is playing him.
From deadly assassin Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men to terrifying ex-secret-agent-turned-terrorist Silva in Skyfall, Bardem has become an expert in portraying nightmarishly creepy villains. If this perfect bit of casting is anything to go by, Salazar will be a villain the likes of which Jack Sparrow (and audiences) has never seen before. He must be quivering in his pirate-boots.
Click here to book your tickets for Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge, opening nationwide on 25th May.
Jon Fuge is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.