Movie Review: The Lone Ranger

IMDB, The Lone Ranger“The Lone Ranger” on IMDB

Action/Drama, 149 Minutes, 2013

As a big fan of both classic serialized heroes and westerns, I was actually looking forward to this quite a bit.  Sure, I may have been the only one, but I thought that it would at least be a nice, meaningless, popcorn lark.  Something well-done, over-the-top and forgettable.

But then they had to go and throw in all that genocide.

The movie starts slow with an ancient, clearly senile and down on his luck Tonto in 1939.  He begins to tell his story to a young boy.  We revisit this scene regularly.  This would be fine as the occasional reality check; a grounding between the bombastic action-adventure that you expect from The Lone Ranger.  Often, unfortunately, these sad, lonely vignettes are the high points.

There are deeply dark moments in this film.  Quite a few of them.  The tone yo-yo’s all over the place and prevents the audience from finding its footing.  This is a shame because when the movie shines, it really shines.

The main story is bookended with extended, grand, hyperbolic train sequences.  They make little sense but look amazing and that’s all an action movie really needs.  The plot is a little convoluted, but ignorable for the most part since the basics are clichéd as hell.  A hapless innocent experiences a tragic loss and is thrust unprepared into the role of hero and forced to rise to the challenge.  Sound familiar?

The acting is solid.  Johnny Depp’s [IMDB] Tonto has received a lot of ridicule, but was actually quite impressive.  Relative newcomer Armie Hammer’s [IMDB] Lone Ranger is seemingly limited more by the script than the actor, but is still enjoyable.  I was also very pleased to see Ruth Wilson [IMDB], who was one of the many highlights in the amazing BBC drama, Luther [IMDB].  The score was impressive, although the use of the entire William Tell Overture for the climax may have pushed things a bit too hard.

The movie falls into the “epic” syndrome, something that “Gravity” [Our Review] escaped so gracefully, and layers in both length and gravitas liberally.  30 minutes of the movie could have easily been cut and the right 30 minutes would have made it a hell of a lot more fun.  And isn’t that what you really want out of a Lone Ranger movie?  Fun?

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