Although this is a rather darker piece than the previous, there are some subtle reminders that this is a Disney picture: in particular, there are several visual references to "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," including Davy Jones' pipe organ in the hold of the "Flying Dutchman," the "Dutchman's" spiky beak, the first Kraken tentacle attack, and a later sea-level view of the Kraken bearing down on its prey which lacked only the glowing "eye" lantern to be Nemo's "Nautilus" attacking. There are some other classical tropes as well: the cannibal island has very similar geography to King King's "Skull Island" with its pheonomenal gorges and cliffs. The writers also borrow other fun bits as well: Bill Nighy's delivery of his lines as Davy Jones sometimes seems to echo the "Bridge-keeper" from Monty Python. I could just see him hissing, "What is your quest?" And Pintel and Ragetti (the comic relief pirates) escape from prison to rejoin the crew and keep up a dialog that is part Monty Python, and part Vladimir and Estragon.
The new characters are worthy additions to the old gang. Nighy is wonderful as Jones, Naomie Harris is both attractive and creepy as Tia Dalma, the obeah woman, and Tom Hollander does a good job as the "new man" Cutler Beckett, who inititates the trouble this time around.
I don't have trouble with this being a middle movie and not really ending: I only hate having to wait a year for the next installment.