The Lone Ranger – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

loneThe Lone Ranger – 3/5 – Being a person who is reviews films, I pretty much have the banner of movie critic over my head.  Being a movie critic, you have your own little aura about yourself, which is both a good and bad thing.  Being a movie critic, you get the stipulation that there is a certain road you must travel, and you must give a specific brand of critical thinking to everything that is shown on the big screen.  With seeing a variety of films, I see it that there isn’t a certain way to critic everything, as all movies do separate things. Granted, I have certain nit picking feelings towards one thing over another, but in the general sense of the plethora of my movie experience, I want to be entertained.  In saying that, I sometimes go against the grain, stand up against the wave of general love/hate towards a film, and say what I feel when it goes against the norm. With that being said, it leads into my next statement; The Lone Ranger is simply put, an entertaining film.  There are some things that are mind cringing, and other items that make the film feel disjointed, but overall, this is a great origin story of a character that can, stand the test of time.

Premise: It is a time of endless possibilities, and a time when justice wasn’t justice anymore.  Through the eyes of Native American warrior Tonto, he recounts to a boy the untold tales that transformed a regular man, John Reid, into a man of the law, defending the innocent; a Lone Ranger.

In the main two roles, we have Tonto, played by Johnny Depp, and Lone Ranger/John Reid, played by Armie Hammer.  In these roles, both actors do a swell job, if not a valiant job with what was handed to them in this plain blockbuster of a film.  In the role Tonto, Depp gives his common shtick.  He gives us a whimsical but funny caricature, which is both full of wise methods and comical one-liners.  Even in this role doesn’t spring something different in the way of Depp’s acting skills; he does show us he can create a standout character; as Tonto is a Native American with a purpose.  His lines are both cringing and humorous, but for the most part, he entertains.  As John Reid/Lone Ranger, Armie Hammer gives a different kind of character than seen in past incarnations.  He is someone that is whole hardy, an innocent bystander thrust into a difficult situation.  In giving a man who is branded to be loyal, honorable and by the books; he gives a person who struggles to become what he was born to be.  Here he gives us different take on the origin of the Lone Ranger.  This can be a burden to some watching him act out the role in a subtle way, but I found it fondly deepening, if not outright admirable.  He gives us someone that is common to the people, but can stand out as a ‘hero’ of sorts when things get to be tough.  Watching him evolve into this ‘Lone Ranger’ character, the fulfillment comes true, even if most won’t appreciate it.  Together, there chemistry is somewhat disjointed, but is also genuine and funny in that disjointedness.  That irony makes the cliché one-liners and corny mishaps come off as pleasant.  This feeling helps to warming up to them as a duo, as the notion in being real partners pays off in the end.  When it comes to the villain, we have Butch Cavendish, played by William Fictner.  He is really a grimy, vicious individual.  He provides someone who is a true fearful, strong antagonist for both Tonto and the Lone Ranger.  His antics are sometimes off putting, but it comes across very raw, making you truly hate the individual.  With the supporting cast, we have Helena Bonham Carter as Red Harrington, Ruth Wilson as Rebecca Reid, Tom Wilkinson as Cole, James Dale Badge as the brother Dan Reid and Barry Pepper as Fuller to name a few notables.  In this movie, they are deeply involved when it comes to story progress, but nothing more than being deeper characters.  They provided worth in their interactions among the people in the film, including the main characters, even if it comes off wooden with their plain dialogue.

With the direction, it comes off as mix bag of a summer blockbuster cocooning a serious origin story.  In the first act, we introduced to the Lone Ranger’s story by the narration of Tonto.  As the story begins, we see how John Reid goes back home to be the new Prosecutor in the town of Collins, Texas.  Here, we are also introduced to the side characters, as well as Tonto.  We are then brought forward to what brings Tonto closer to John Reid, as this standard introduction is combined with a exaggerated, over the top train sequence that gives the bad guy a chance to slip away.  From here, we are then shown the Rangers (including Reid) go off to chase down the bandits.  The chase turns into your common ‘It’s a trap’ theatrics, as they are all killed.  Reid (on the other hand) comes back to life, as Tonto shows him that he is the ‘Spirit Walker’.  Here, we are led to the development of two things:

The origin the Lone Ranger

The friendship between Reid and Tonto

What we get in this second half is a mix of serious tonal back stories from Reid and Tonto, as well as cliché bad guy treachery and comical buddy/duo scenarios.  This all seems decent, but the director never seems to settle on one theme/story to take the lead.  What you get in this chuck of the film is a unfocused path of multiple storylines, not really becoming attached to one of the other.  You are then numb to the funny hijinx and the hearty moments, which are suppose to make you feel ‘heart’ for both main characters.  Eventually, the film closes the door on the back stories, and takes us down through a winding road of twisting alliances, and ‘convenient’ plot devices that lead to our action packed third act, as well as the final train sequence.  In this final act, we see the Lone Ranger and Tonto become what the film intended to, as the duo takes out the bad guys, in bombastic fashion, as the film threads lightly along an enjoyable tone.  Once the film comes to a close and all becomes to define itself, we are lead to a decent closure to the origin, and led to the rise of the Lone Ranger legend.

When it comes to the visuals, they are grand on an epic scale.  From the creations of the small town of Collins, all the way to the sweeping looks at vast deserts and wilderness of the west, you are encapsulated by what you see.  There are little use of CGI, and a lot of use with sweeping camera angles, atmospheric lighting, and big landscape backdrops to capture the attention of the audience as well as the mood of the situations.  You feel as you’re a part of this ‘wild west’ kind of situation as you have an aspect that is authentic in its appeal.  The score is both a bore and blast.  The boriness of the music happens around the dialogue and serious tones, as it doesn’t fully help capture the situations.  When the music does strike a chord is in either the comical situations or action sequence.  They do well in invoking a modern feel with the traditional ‘lone ranger’ music.

Overall, The Lone Ranger isn’t a film that will define our times, strike an emotional chord or become a classic among the masses.  What the film will do is entertain, even if it doesn’t hit any of these marks to becoming a great film.  If you’re a fan of Johnny Depp and want to see a popcorn flick, this is a film for you.

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