Director Gore Verbinski re-teams with star Johnny Depp for a modern day adaptation of The Lone Ranger. This Disney production offers up plenty of high-end popcorn spectacle that Verbinski is known for as well as trademark Johnny Depp completely embodying a character from head-to-toe. The Lone Ranger is perhaps the summer’s first real blockbuster, because it wastes little time bogging down the story with anything too important and instead focuses on set piece after set piece. The Lone Ranger is just good old fashioned fun.
John Reid (Armie Hammer) is a by-the-books lawman that doesn’t really care for the guns or the adventures that most Rangers participate in. He does believe in the full extent of the law and he’ll stand be rightful justice until the day he dies.
Which sort of happens.
Something happens to Reid, which transforms him into a legendary Ranger known only as The Lone Ranger.
Native American warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) becomes his unofficial “partner” when the two meet up after a series of unfortunate events.
The Lone Ranger is the telling of John Reid’s tale from the mind of Tonto. The film unfolds slowly as Tonto retells the rise and fall of the iconic warrior and how he single-handily changed the entire landscape of the Old West with his incorruptable brand of justice that guaranteed the capturing or killing of every corrupt man walking the Earth.
Director Gore Verbinski is no stranger to tackling possible franchise-starters over at Disney. He directed Depp in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films and he went on to work with Depp yet again in Rango. Verbinski has an eye for giant blockbuster movies that almost always work because of their lighter tones, quick plots, engaging characters and endless amounts of impressively filmed action.
He brings his usual bag of tricks to The Lone Ranger, while also paying a fair amount of tribute to the original material.
The Lone Ranger doesn’t feel like a modern day blockbuster. Its plot is much simpler and its action is filmed with much more purpose and structure. Shootouts aren’t all that memorable, but the horse-riding sequences and most of the general chase sequences are all paced and with presented with constant rising action and satisfying conclusion.
Scenes don’t simply flutter away or become quickly forgotten in The Lone Ranger. Everything helps build up to that final showdown, which becomes the most entertaining twenty/thirty minutes of the entire year.
The Lone Ranger isn’t a flawless movie. It’s full of problems early on that range from specific scenes being completely pointless to whole characters serving almost no point to the eventual outcome, but once Verbinski finds that sweet spot the film explodes into a non-stop ride of action and adventure.
Johnny Depp does good work as the film’s most interesting character/comedic relief Tonto. He doesn’t create the next Jack Sparrow, but he proves himself yet again as someone that doesn’t simply wear makeup and weird costumes for the fun of it. Tonto is naturally funny and almost always unpredictable and Depp conveys that brilliantly with lots of odd gestures and silly comments.
Armie Hammer doesn’t fit in as well, coming off a little stiff and uninteresting as the film’s titular character. I’m not sure how much of this is Hammer’s fault and how much of it is Verbinski and his writers, because the Lone Ranger almost always seems like an afterthought and not so much like the film’s star. He’s great when he’s surrounded by other more interesting characters and he has no problem when it comes to kicking up the action, but when it’s all said and done the Lone Ranger is actually one of the weaker characters of the film.
And that becomes a major problem. Verbinski relies mostly on Hammer for the film’s opening building blocks and Hammer clearly displays problems carrying such weight. Once Depp gets thrown into the mix things almost instantly become better, but by that point a good 35 to 40 minutes have been wasted.
Still, everything eventually builds to the big sendoff, which makes up for all of the film’s glaring mistakes and annoying fumbles.
Gore Verbinski ends The Lone Ranger on such an incredibly high note. So much that almost everything before it can be forgiven or looked over if in the right light. I won’t defend The Lone Ranger as Disney’s win of the summer, because when compared to other films The Lone Ranger quickly falls on its ass, but as is it makes for a film that knows exactly who it was made for and it capitalizes on that every second it gets.
The Lone Ranger is that much-needed escape from overly serious summer blockbusters. It’s a film that’s a tad too long and definitely clunky in some areas, but still an enjoyable and fun experience that should keep the entire family occupied over the Holiday weekend.
The Lone Ranger – 7.5/10