Whether this film does it well is up for debate. Putting deep religious themes in an otherwise swashbuckling comedic romp seems to many reviewers a strange juxtaposition. As a reviewer at Movie Cynics put it, "Since when did pirates ever start caring about redemption?"
D'arc, however is less cynical. "I was surprised at those inherently Christian themes of sin and redemption. I'm not sure how they got in there, but it was a welcome surprise."
The bearer of stranger tidings
And the seriousness of the themes — and the goodness of the missionary may not last long. Claflin, the actor who played Philip, told IGN his character was somebody who "goes through his journey of realizing that religion isn't everything — not that he loses his faith, but he realizes what the real world is all about."
Claflin also told ScreenRant.com he hopes in the next Pirates movie Philip will become a mercenary who kills a lot of people.
But Claflin's vision of what Philip the missionary's next moves will be may run counter to another actor's hopes for the character.
Producer Bruckheimer told Collider.com, Philip wasn't even in the original script. Screenwriters Elliott and Rossio also didn't pitch the character.
According to Bruckheimer, the person who came up with the grounded and sincere missionary character was Johnny Depp who plays the least grounded character, the pirate Jack Sparrow. Talk about redemption.