The Lone Ranger hasn’t been on screen in more than 30 years. I remember watching reruns of the 60s tv series when I was a kid, watching the masked man fight for truth and justice with his partner Tonto with the William Tell Overture playing in the background. This was a time when heroes could be heroes without being complicated.
So how does that translate into the current times of dark, gritty, rebooted superheroes? Meh.
It’s been a whole since I had such mixed feelings about a movie.
See, here’s the thing: The Lone Ranger has some great action sequences. Some of them are long, but Gore Verbinski has a knack for making overblown action sequences fun, even when they’re train-car-running-sideways-ridiculous. Maybe especially then.
Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp are both good actors and have good chemistry together, too.
The problem here is that the movie is just so by the numbers. Literally nothing happens that you won’t see coming. Is there a a second bad guy? Of course there is and you’ll know who he is from the first time you see him and then the movie proceeds to beat you over the head with that fact for the rest of the first and second acts so that by the time it’s revealed to our heroes my reaction was “about fucking time” instead of any amount of surprise.
The rest of the plot moments are cribbed from other movies. Two bad guys, each one with a personal connection to one of our heroes? Check. Johnny Depp in ridiculous makeup running away from a horde of antagonists making ridiculously acrobatic escapes moment to moment? Check. Good guy who won’t kill but faces a homicidal maniac who killed someone the hero loves? Check. Main character who is bumbling paired with partner who is both insane and hyper competent? Check.
I could go on but you get the picture. I wonder of that last one I’m alluding to, the Seth Rogen Green Hornet movie, is intentional. Both properties are owned separately but The Green Hornet was originally conceived as a spin off from the Lone Ranger, Britt Reid is John Reid’s grand nephew so the parallels in the story might be an in joke.
Probably not though.
The rest of the main cast is good as well. Tom Wilkinson plays a scheming corporate villain as well as you’d expect and William Fichtner is loads of fun as the cannibalistic outlaw who sets the plot in motion. Helena Bonham Carter is fine, however she serves basically no purpose in the movie.
Also, why are we ok with Johnny Depp playing a Comanche? I know he thinks there is native ancestry in his family but that’s never been confirmed, and I know he’s been adopted into a Comanche family but not into the nation itself. So what we have is a white guy playing a native, but no one seems upset by this? Imagine if the character was black or Asian, we’d all be going ape shit, but we’re not.
So the movie left me feeling mixed. It really feels like the team involved (Bruckheimer, Verbinski and Depp) were trying to recapture that Curse of the _Black Pearl magic but what they’ve ended up with is something similar to On Stranger Tides. It’s almost good but it’s too long and the plot is kind of dumb and seems to assume that I’m dumb too with the way it telegraphs every twist and turn.
So yeah. It’s a dumb movie that is elevated by the cast and direction despite being so dumb.
Rating = 5/10