The Lone Ranger is a Wild, Wild Mess
- Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Release Date: July 3, 2013
Rating: PG-13 (sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material)
Run Time: 149 min.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichter, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, Bryant Prince, Barry Pepper, Mason Elston Cook, James Badge Deal
First, the good news. The final 30 minutes of The Lone Ranger, a project that reportedly cost $250 million to make and stars Johnny Depp (Dark Shadows) and Armie Hammer (The Social Network), are nothing short of spectacular. Clever, well-paced and thoroughly exciting (the William Tell Overture provides the perfect musical backdrop, naturally), this last half-hour is exactly what one wants a summer movie to be.
Trouble is, the audience has to sit through nearly two hours of utter tedium to get there. Although Depp is playing another one of his lovable oddballs (like Jack Sparrow, his Tonto is equally loopy) and his Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbiniski is at the helm, there's nothing about The Lone Ranger that suggests another wildly successful franchise. If anything, this movie seems to be suffering from a major identity crisis.
Never funny enough to be a comedy, and way, way too slow and violent (see Cautions below) for a family-friendly western, The Lone Ranger takes the viewer down a long, dusty road to nowhere interesting—save for those inspired final moments.
The problem is neither a lack of opulence nor action. Befitting a movie that costs this much, the set pieces are appropriately lavish. And the shoot-em-up sequences could fill three films, which isn't all that surprising since Verbinski never knew when to stop with the Pirates movies, either.
But as fantastic as everything looks, the aggressive sensory attack just loads down The Lone Ranger's already leaden storyline and unremarkable performances. Even Depp himself seems a little bit bored with what's happening (or oftentimes, not happening), which is probably why he resorts to recycling so many of his old tricks.
And while it's called The Lone Ranger, make no mistake, this is Tonto's story. Sure, it starts off with the masked man whose real name is John Reid (Hammer). He's a cocky lawyer who believes that fights should be settled by due process rather than with guns, but his philosophy changes dramatically after his older brother Dan (James Badge Dale, World War Z) and the rest of the Texas Rangers are wiped out by Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner, Phantom), an outlaw with a literal thirst for blood.
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