While I knew this was supposed to be good, I wasn't really expecting how good this one was. Far less "goofy" than the second one (that mostly limited to the "multi-Jack" hallucinations), this also had far fewer "will they get on with it" episodes (think of the wheel fight from #2). Clocking in at nearly 3 hours (you could see the surfing penguins movie twice in the same time), it really didn't drag, and that's saying something (especially if you're in the company of a 7 and an 11-year-old).
There is also a Major Surprise Plot Twist at the end, which I am amazed that I hadn't heard previously. However, this would be such a "spoiler" that I'm not even going to go there with this. Let's just say that things were churning along in one direction, only to veer off into a zone which is mighty suggestive of at least one further sequel (I recall reading that the principal actors had expressed willingness to do more of these, and perhaps a change in the script happened to not "neatly tie up" various plot threads).
There are a lot of "main characters" in this one, and I was frankly surprised how Yun Fat Chow's character, Captain Sao Feng, had less of a presence that what one might have expected from the pre-release buzz on the film. Of course, given that there are a half a dozen other Pirate leaders introduced (and all briefly given some characterization), this could have been an 8-hour movie if they all had even moderate screen time (the extended cameo by Keith Richards as Jack's father, Captain Teague, is more in-depth than most of these). Much of what drives Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is the inter-twining of the various personal sub-plots and "secret alliances" made by the main characters (pretty much everybody is working some sort of a scam on the side), which has the potential of being rather confusing (I think they lost The Wife at some point), but quite satisfying from an "intelligent writing" standpoint.
There were humorous gems strewn throughout (the true story of Ragetti's eye is especially arch), and classic bits of plot development that would warm any English major's heart. If you haven't gotten out to see this, do consider doing so while it's on the big screen ... some of the scenes are certain to be far less cool on video!