The Lone Ranger - Review

It might sound ridiculous to some of you, but The Lone Ranger topped my list of 2013's most anticipated movies.
Yes, many of you might think "Come on! It's just Pirates of the Caribbean in the Wild West". Yes, i know. But you know what? The first Pirates movie was freaking awesome!
Judging by the trailers, The Lone Ranger promised Depp in another quirky, weird role, while Armie Hammer is sure to make for an interesting pairing of the two. Along with it, seemingly nonstop, great action is included. And with Gore Verbinski directing it, it just looked so damn promising to me.
It looked like an awesome, simple but solid and entertaining summer blockbuster movie.
Now, did The Lone Ranger meet my expecations or did it leave me in the dust?... 

The plot:
Native American warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice - The Lone Ranger.
(source: IMDb)

The Lone Ranger presents itself as an origin story of the fearless hero of justice, in which an overly polite lawman becomes the revengeful Lone Ranger after (he himself,) his brother and crew get shot by a gang of bandits. It's only with the help of Native American sidekick Tonto, that he slowly learns to become the titular hero.

While the Lone Ranger isn't that big of a deal in Europe, it can basically be regarded as The Crow or Zorro of the Wild West along with a revenge quest plot.
Obviously aiming at the exact formula of the Pirates movies, Disney/Gore Verbinski tries to sell this basic revenge story as a family friendly summer blockbuster, which doesn't work out that well most of the time.

The thing is that the movie sometimes has problems to exactly define what it exactly wants to be and what its target audience is. With that said, there are suprisingly huge tonal shifts at times.
Whereas things like the style of comedy and the protagonists aim towards a family friendly movie,
all of a sudden the audience is hit with parts, where the main villain is eating the hearts of his enemies and scenes, where Native American tribes are slaughtered by the hundreds.
These moments are sloppily build up to and while not gory or overly brutal, don't blend in well with the rest of the movie's feel and give it an largely inconsistent tone.

One moment you're laughing, and the other you're like...

The Lone Ranger's main concept is based on a very simple idea: "The Lone Ranger has adventures, finds bad guys and shoots them". There's not that much to fuck up.
Sadly, the movie often tends to overcomplicate things and then all of a sudden drops all of its serious themes only to shortly pick them up 20 minutes later.
80% of the time is spent on watching Tonto and Lone Ranger pursue the bandits, while occasionally serious themes like the conflict between "the Red Man and the White Man" and the brutal eradication of tribes get thrown in but never really given the deserved amount of attention to.

Additionally, Disney's brand sticker on this movie is a whole lot more obvious this time around than compared to the Pirates movies.
With that said, the comedy in Lone Ranger is way more kid-focused than the well-balanced humor of Jack Sparrow and his crew.
Especially Armie Hammer's character constantly delivers lines and character aspects that are so ridiculously over-exagerated and goofy that he could've been out of a Saturday morning cartoon.
Tonto on the other hand will give the audience the best humor this movie has to offer. While his lines and comic relief aren't nearly as original or fun as the ones from Jack Sparrow, it still is a whole lot more solid and way less annoying than Hammer's persona.
Still, it's not a movie that's particularly funny for adults (but maybe for kids).
The Lone Ranger tries to mimic the comedic character of the Pirates movies but ends up being miles away from it after all.

"Shut up, Kemo Sabe. You're not funny."

Although The Lone Ranger got marketed as a nonstop action-roaler-coaster like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (it's even written on the poster), the movie is honestly one big drag. All of the action scenes shown in the trailers are moments from the actionpacked beginning and final showdown of the movie. The long middle part of the movie has barely anything very entertaining, adventurous or funny to show.
While some little action scenes are scattered slightly throughout Tonto's and Lone Ranger's quest, these belong to the sort of action, where the protagonists are barely active. Things just happen with our heroes mostly running away from the situation and barely trying to change things up.
How come that in a Lone Ranger movie, the heroes spend more time asking people where the bad guys are, instead of...well...DOING SOMETHING ADVENTUROUS!?
After a very promising beginning, the movie loses its steam and momentum incredibly fast. What follows are roughly 1,5 hours of barely anything interesting happening. The feel of a real Wild West adventure never really comes up, despite the concept offering huge potential.
Regarding other critics, that say that this movie suffers from "action-overkill", i honestly don't know what the hell they are talking about.

This brings us to the hands down biggest problem with this entire movie - its length.
The Lone Ranger is a crushing 140 minutes long. That's roughly 2,5 hours that you spend sitting in the theater. This wouldn't be so bad if the movie wasn't such a huge drag to get to its fun parts.
If the movie was EASILY cut down to 90 minutes, it would've hold up much better. Aside from many needless padding-scenes, entire side-characters useless to the main story, could easily been entirely cut from the movie.
Besides, why is it, that nowadays all blockbuster movies have to be over 2 hours?!

When the action is there, it's great.

The acting in The Lone Ranger ranges (*badum tss*) from okay to solid.
With no performance being very great in particular, let's just start with the most annoying one:

Armie Hammer as the titular hero turns out to be one of the worst leading protagonist i have seen this year. The problem here is probably more about the script than his acting, but still.
Armie Hammer is playing the Lone Ranger alias John Reid, who in the course of the movie, develops from a overly-polite pacifist into a gun-wielding, revengeful defender of justice.
To be fair, it has to be said, that the simple minded concept of the original Lone Ranger had to be given some context to make Hammer's character development from a pacifist into a gun-wielding cowboy feel legit. Unfortunately, Hammer's character John Reid completely backfires, considering that he not only is a very annoying person, but also totally unrelatable.
Scenes in particular, where the villain murders his brother and eats his heart, and Hammer (despite knowing this) doesn't shoot him (but instead brings him to a Sheriff, who would later shoot him anyway) come up as completely nonsensical. This inexplicably dumb persona of Armie Hammer's character drags through the entire movie until his unconvincing sudden pacifist-to-gunslinger change in the last 20 minutes during the showdown. 
In addition to all of this, Hammer's inefficient comedy makes him look even more like an unlikable idiot, instead of an unlikely hero, that we should be rooting for.

Get ready for more epic talking, stupidity and filler.

Johnny Depp as the Native American sidekick Tonto is the most enjoyable character of the cast.
His performance won't bring him any new fans and his bag of tricks (mugging, weird noises and faces) quickly run out of creativity, but his actively badass persona make him feel much more like the strong hero of the flick than the actual Lone Ranger.
Still, although Tonto has a certain charm, he is lightyears away from being as interstingly weird and simulatenously likable as Jack Sparrow (what the movie clearly wants him to be - a calmer Jack Sparrow).
Aside from being more badass, interesting AND funny than the Lone Ranger himself, Tonto is given much more attention to in terms of a backstory, which explains his motivations. Although those are still fairly basic, they are a much more credible driving force than most of his partner.

The funny thing is that despite the glaring differences between Hammer's and Depp's performance, their interaction with each other somehow works pretty well in terms of chemistry.

Other side-characters do a solid job, although many of them (just like many needless scenes) don't contribute anything major to the overall story and could've easily been cut entirely out of the film. Characters guilty of this are especially Helena Bonham Carter as the hooker Red Harrington, and Barry Pepper as the corrupt cavalry captain Jay Fuller.

Apparently, Tim Burton somehow got involved in this.
All in all, i had very high hopes for The Lone Ranger and didn't demand much from the movie but just a good action-adventure flick, but even that apparently was too much for the movie to handle.
With the only really entertaining parts being the beginning and final showdown of the movie, The Lone Ranger has many problems that hold it back from being a better experience.
For a movie that starts so promising, it loses steam extremely quickly and continues to move on on a snail's pace. What follows are roughly 1,5 hours of needless, boring filler scenes, that never evoke the feel of watching an exciting Wild West adventure.
But even despite Hammer's overly goofy character, the kid-oriented humor and the fairly bland, thin script, the movie does have some good parts, but its a ridiculously long and boring drag to get to those. And even then, it remains questionable, whether those parts were worth the long wait. It's a prime example of a movie, where less would've been more.
Regarding the fact that this movie was basically marketed as a "Pirates of the Caribbean in the Wild West", the quality of the action scenes is the only part, where it comes close to this. Basically on every other aspect, the movie is lacking, resulting in the fun parts being mostly burried by frustration along the way.
The Lone Ranger is just too overstuffed with fillers, too inconsistent, and simply far not as engaging enough to make it that roaler-coaster-ride, that the trailers promised and that it wants to be.

Final Verdict: 3 out of 10 


  1. Nice review. As long as we don’t get a sequel or any more movies, I’ll be fine with this crap-fest.

  2. Well, it's not exactly a bad movie as it is a disappointing one, because it just doesn't take advantage of its great potential. I hope that IF a sequel will be made, that it learns from its predecessor's mistakes and fixes them.