In the last couple years it seems like people have forgotten something. Johnny Depp can act.
I'm actually asking because I want to know. It's confusing to me that a diverse, chameleon like actor like Mr. Depp is so strongly ridiculed after making what some might consider the transition to more kid friendly fare. Honestly, would you turn down the multi-million dollar Disney franchise paycheck? I bet not. In fact, you'd do far dirtier, more vile things to earn a measly fraction of what this man gets paid. Who are you to judge?
It seems like Depp was (for a long time) considered one of the best around but is suddenly being trounced on a daily basis for his selection in roles. Were the Pirates movies great? No. But they were entertaining. And (to add) The Lone Ranger wasn't nearly as bad as anyone portrayed it. In fact, that movie was hated on before it was even screened for critics. It was set up to fail by negative reinforcement from all sides, critics and internet trolls alike. The movie never had a chance to survive even though it was one of the best big budget features of last summer. So why the hate? What did Depp do to deserve this other than continuing to make movies?
Yes, I saw Transcendence. Mildly put, Depp sucked in the movie. He was dry, flat, lacked dynamic and read his lines like a robot. Is he to be blamed for this or was it an uninspired director that didn't draw anything emotive or worthy from any of his actors? I'd go with the latter. The whole movie was a coma inducing snooze fest that took a modern theme and turned it in to one of the most boring features of the year. So why is this Depp's fault? Is he the one to blame for bad direction? Absolutely not. Could he have stepped in and said "Whoa. This script sucks. We need to rework this thing."? Definitely. So why are people so eager to bash him for the second in a string of flops for a man that's done nothing but fill cinema seats for years? I just don't understand.
Depp quite obviously fell in to a gelatinous mold with Tim Burton. Each continuous gothic role was just another version of something else he had already done with the director. But, that's the Burton style and vision, not something caused by an actor that's there trying to earn a living with a person he loves to work with. So again, why the hate? What makes us a society that ignores all the good artistic work a person has done in favor of centralized criticism of the bad?
All in all, Depp has been working in film for thirty years. Like all other things, there will be good and there will be absolutely terrible. It seems like people are beginning to trend towards a Nicolas Cage type hate for an actor that's done nothing but try to entertain people while doing a (typically) great job of it. He's not Cage and he never will be.
Let's not forget some of the excellent movies Depp has starred in and the level of dedication he put in to movies like Edward Scissorhands, Finding Neverland, The Libertine, Blow, Ed Wood, and What's Eating Gilbert Grape. The man can act. Much like the weather, careers go through phases. So stop bashing and do something positive with yourself. Go watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Then we can talk about what a bad actor Johnny Depp is. What?