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Film: The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger is a film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer that reunites Johnny Depp with his Pirates of the Caribbean and Rango director Gore Verbinski. It is the latest adaptation of The Lone Ranger franchise. It was released on July 3, 2013.

In the film Armie Hammer (The Social Network) plays the title character, while Johnny Depp portrays Tonto.

The trailers can be viewed here and here.

The film was a commercial failure, losing between 95 and 120 million dollars putting it in ninth place in the list of the biggest box office flops ever.


Tropes:

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: The traditional Improbable Aiming Skills are replaced with this, giving the Ranger a reputation for being a crack shot when he kills two guys with one bullet.
    Tonto: Great shot!
    Ranger: [horrified] That was supposed to be a warning shot!
    Tonto: In that case, not so good.
  • Action Dress Rip: Rebecca tears the bottom off her dress before crawling along the outside of the train.
  • Adaptational Wimp: John Reid is somewhat less of a badass compared to his radio and TV versions. Justified as most versions of him are a Texas Ranger before donning the mask while this one is a City Mouse lawyer.
  • Advertised Extra: Helena Bonham-Carter is in the film for about 10 minutes tops (in a 150 minute film). The marketing made her out to be the lead female.
  • Anachronism Stew: Countless anachronisms, justified by Unreliable Narrator and Rule of Funny.
  • Artistic License - Geography: Real-life Texas does not have the the rugged, pine-forested mountains seen in the climax. Also, Promontory Point (where the transcontinental railroad was completed) is in Utah.
    • There is a real mountain shaped like a face...but it's called Cochise Head and it's in Chiricahua National Monument in Arizona.
  • Artistic License - Religion: The wendigo is an Inuit and Algonquian legend, not Comanche.
  • Audience Surrogate: The boy in the Lone Ranger costume that is listening to an aged Tonto tell the story.
  • BFG: Red's ivory leg gun.
  • Big Bad: Latham Cole.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Tonto is a Spanish word meaning "fool".
  • Billing Displacement: Both the trailer and the poster show Johnny Depp's name first before Armie Hammer's. Beyond that, the masked face in the poster above is Johnny Depp's too.
  • Born Lucky: Whether it's blind luck or Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane (Tonto is under the impression he can't be killed, but Tonto is crazy), John Reid is exceedingly lucky: he survived the initial ambush, had every single bullet miss him while he was essentially a human shooting gallery, killed two men with one bullet, survives an execution and then a cave-in, and then makes another improbable shot to disarm the Big Bad.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Particularly during the climax. They're using six-shooters while fighting on top of trains, riding horses etc, and we never see a single one of them reload until the climax. Before that point many of the smaller action sequences averted the trope, notably a double-barreled shotgun with only 2 shots per load.
  • Buried Alive: The "sand necktie" version happens to the Lone Ranger and Tonto in the Comanche camp. And, just when they think things can't get any worse, scorpions starts crawling out of the ground.
  • But Now I Must Go: The Lone Ranger turns down joining the community he's saved and settling down with the woman he loves in favor ofbeing the Lone Ranger.
  • Butt Monkey: The Lone Ranger himself throughout a massive portion of the film, until he finally becomes the Badass we know and love.
  • By-the-Book Cop: John Reid starts out as a By The Book Prosecutor (The Book in this case being John Locke's Two Treatises On Government), going so far as to insist on taking Tonto back into custody after he saves his life and helps him escape from a derailed train. His struggle through the film with whether To Be Lawful or Good inevitably turns him into a Cowboy Cop (ha!), albeit a scrupulously moral one.
  • Cavalry Officer: He and his regiment are called in to take care of the Comanche thinking they broke the treaty and raided settlements. He later joins forces with the villains after learning he spilled innocent blood.
  • Chained Heat: John Reid and Tonto spend their first fight against Cavendish shackled together.
  • Character Tics: Cole has a distinctive way of twirling his pocketwatch, which Tonto can be seen trying to emulate before he's apparently even met the man. This hints at the fact that they've met before; Cole being the man who gave Tonto the watch when he was a child in response for being guided to a silver prospect, shortly before wiping out Tonto's entire tribe.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The silver bullet; Danny's slingshot.
  • City Mouse: John Reid starts off as a bookish lawyer who is out of place in the frontier.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Tonto is crazy even by the standards of other Comanches.
  • Cool Horse: Silver. Related tropes include Horseback Heroism, Sapient Steed, Rearing Horse, and White Stallion.
  • Cool Mask: Cut from his dead brother's leather vest, with the eyeholes formed by the bullet holes that killed him.
  • Cool Train: The 'Constitution' and 'Jupiter', both locomotives were specially scratchbuilt for the film along with all of the rolling stock and track too.
  • Damsel out of Distress: While she ultimately needs the Lone Ranger to save her, Rebecca Reid is not helpless. She knows how to handle a gun, refuses to be cowed by her captors, and repeatedly attempts to rescue herself. She even climbs on the outside of a moving train at several points.
  • Death by Materialism: Latham Cole perishes at the bottom of the river, pinned beneath the tons of silver ore he was attempting to hijack.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: At the start, John is a violence-adverse city-slicker law student. Tonto is admittedly crazy. The idea of wearing a mask is lampshaded. Yet, by the end of the film, Tonto's moral fortitude, combined with John's idealism and faith in the law come together to create the Ideal Hero duo. John also takes a few levels.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The treatment of Native Americans, including calling them savages, reflects the time period the film takes place in.
  • Disney Villain Death: Tonto leaves Latham Cole to fall to his death along with all the silver his plan revolved around mining.
  • Does Not Like Guns: John, ironically, considering his role in the movie and the gunslinging setting.
  • Domino Mask: Made from the vest of the Lone Ranger's brother. The eye holes were made from the bullet holes.
  • The Dragon: Butch Cavendish working for Cole, the Big Bad
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Justified, since they're all using single-action revolvers.
  • Enemy Mine: A meta example—the legalese on the publicity material and the film gives the owner of The Lone Ranger property as "Classic Media", which is currently also known as DreamWorks Classics, a unit of DreamWorks Animation. (DWA bought Classic Media well after the film went into its original development.)
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: Cole is hinted to have become a eunuch during the Civil War.
  • Failure Hero: The Lone Ranger may kill the bad guy, but he utterly failed to save the Comanches from being massacred.
  • False Flag Operation: Butch Cavendish and his gang disguise themselves as Comanches and attack white settlements in order to make it look like the Comanche have violated the treaty.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The Lone Ranger's brother has his heart cut out and eaten by Cavendish. It's a Sound-Only Death as all we can see is John's horrified Reaction Shot, and the audience only have their imaginations and the earlier rumors of Cavendish's cannibalism to guess what's happening.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The film is quite violent at times, but for the most part it's Bloodless Carnage with a Gory Discretion Shot or two.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Tonto's backstory involves him finding and rescuing Cole and Cavendish from the desert. After being nursed back to health, they proceeded to slaughter his tribe for silver.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Tonto says silver made Cavendish, and it would kill him. While this seems to be foreshadowing the silver bullet, it's ultimately how Cole meets his end; crushed under the very silver he spent all this time mining that made him and Cavendish the people they are. Though that silver bullet does end up saving Tonto's life.
    • Also a hint that the story being told about the kid who got his tribe killed was indeed Tonto.
    • The fact the chief mentions two white men that Tonto lead to the silver.
    • when you first see Cole, he flips his pocket watch before reading it. You later see that watch flip again during the story of Tonto's backstory. It's not only your first clue to who one of those men are, but it also hints slightly later at Cole's connection to Cavendish.
    • The first thing seen in the film is a half-finished Golden Gate Bridge, which is a large nod to how the story ends.
  • Framing Device: A young boy listens to the story of the Lone Ranger being told by an aged Tonto.
  • Gatling Good: The original models used by the U.S. Calvary to kill the charging Comanches.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: A maid dresses Rebecca in a fancy black gown and lipstick after she and Danny are "rescued" by Cole, who intends to marry her so that her son can become his heir. Based on her reaction to seeing the lipstick on her wine glass, she is not comfortable in the outfit.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Cavendish eating Dan's heart. All we get is a Reaction Shot of John watching it happen, frozen and unable to stop it.
  • Greed: The main villains' primary motivation is silver.
  • Handcar Pursuit: Tonto and a bound and blindfolded Lone Ranger attempt to escape from a train on a handcar at the silver mine.
  • Heroic BSOD: Tonto has two, one as a young boy when he finds his people slaughtered because of his actions, and another when he sees the bodies of the remaining Comanche floating downriver after the cavalry massacred them.
  • Horseback Heroism: Especially when the Lone Ranger and Silver appear on top of the building just before the climatic train chase.
  • I Have the High Ground: Silver likes high places.
    Tonto: "Something very wrong with that horse."
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Both Cavendish and Cole pull this on Rebecca, though in Cole's case nothing can actually happen, since he's implied to be a eunuch. His real reason for wanting to marry her is because she has a son that he can leave his railroad empire to.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Butch Cavendish who eats the hearts of his victims. He does this to the title character's brother. It's another reason Tonto thinks he's a Wendigo.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • The first time it's purely an accident, but for the second example John makes an impossible shot across a ravine, from one moving train to another, to blast a gun out of another man's hand.
    • Also, during the first flashback, he shoots a bottle of something or other out of a man's hand from a moving horse.
  • Instant Knots:
    • During his final fight with Cavendish, the Lone Ranger wraps his whip around a tree and uses it to get yanked off the runaway railway car.
    • Dan uses this to pull Frank off the roof of the railway car.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: That bank robbery committed by the Ranger and Tonto at the start? They did it to get some of the materials they needed to foil Cole's Evil Plan.
  • I've Come Too Far: The reason the captain leading the American forces joins the villains; by the time he finds out what's going on, he's already killed too many innocent Native Americans and would be held responsible for their deaths.
  • Just Train Wrong: Even though the filmmakers showed that their trains matched the time period, they still got many things wrong similar to the problems in Wild Wild West.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Latham Cole falls to his death, along with the several tons of silver and a locomotive, both of which his plan revolved around, which crush him to death.
    • Butch Cavendish and the Captain are killed when they're caught in a train collision. To paraphrase the Captain, they were with the railroad company.
  • Kick the Dog: Cole throw back his reward given to him during the opening ceremony, seeing it as worthless.
  • Killer Rabbit: Played straight, and pretty scary.
  • Land in the Saddle:
    • John pulls off a variation incorporating a Banister Slide.
    • When Rebecca is pushed off the roof of the train by Cavendish, she lands backwards in Silver's saddle as he gallops beside the train. John follows her and lands facing forward.
  • Leg Cannon: Red has a shotgun built into her ivory artificial leg.
  • Magical Native American: Tonto appears to be this in his manner of dress, his plot exposition, and his presenting himself as a Scarily Competent Tracker who Speaks Fluent Animal. It's subverted later on when John meets the rest of the Comanche, who inform him that Tonto is insane and the Native American myths that he's been reciting throughout the film are considered by the rest of them to be just that, myths; his skills as a tracker are also revealed to be hopeless.
  • Man Child: John accuses Tonto of being this after hearing his back story from the Comanche tribe. While arguing the pros and cons of killing Cavendish and proceeding to insult one another John accuses of Tonto of being "a screwed up little kid" who never learned how to live with the guilt of getting his entire tribe wiped out by telling the films villains the location of the silver mine .
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
  • Mickey Mousing: Briefly during the climax, there was a section where the gunfire taking out the glass of a window was done matching the William Tell Overture.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The vultures seen briefly in the film are African Griffin Vultures, not Turkey Vultures as would be more appropriate for the setting. This is an especially odd case, considering how iconic, and readily obtainable real Turkey Vultures are.
  • Miss Kitty: Red (Helena Bonham-Carter), who runs the brothel in Hell on Wheels.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The movie follows up a scene where Butch Cavendish cuts out a man's heart and eating it with a slapstick comedy scene involving horse excrement. Also, the brutally violent gunfights alternate with almost comic book-ish stunt sequences.
    • Even worse is Tonto's farcical jailbreak of the Lone Ranger segueing immediately into a blood-drenched no-quarter battle between the Comanche and US Cavalry before their eyes. This is in turn followed by Tonto's Heroic BSOD upon seeing the bodies of the slaughtered Comanche floating down the river... and then that crazy horse standing in a tree wearing the Lone Ranger's hat.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Captain suffers two of them. The first one is when he realizes he was duped into leading his men to killing innocent Native Americans... but subverted when he's talked into burying the whole thing in denial. The second one comes after he stabs the Comanche Chief and sees his blood on his hands, calling back to the Big Bad claiming he had blood on his hands from the first incident.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The carnival barker and the banner on Tonto's exhibit hearkens to "The Thrilling Days of Yesteryear", the introductory line used in most versions of the property.
    • There's also a ContinuityNod/TakeThat to the ending of the TV series.
    Ranger: Hi ho, Silver, away!
    Tonto: [beat] Never do that again.
  • Never Say That Again: Tonto's reaction to "Hi ho, Silver, away!"
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Captain Fuller is General George Armstrong Custer in all but rank.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Latham Cole's death. He falls several hundred feet, is crushed under several tons of silver ore, and presumably drowned if all that didn't kill him.
  • Noodle Incident:
  • Noodle Implements: "He wuz gonna violate me wit' a duck foot!"
  • Nostalgic Narrator: Tonto in 1933.
  • Not So Different: Cavendish says this word for word when He discovers the Ranger is actually John. He says they're both men that have to wear masks, implying that he's had to maintain the secrecy of things he's done.
  • Oh, Crap: Butch and The captain get this when they realize they going to run right into each other. The former on the on the boxcar that's been turned to it's side on the track. When he notices the Ranger leaving. He see the oncoming train about to nail him with the captain standing at the front of it.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Butch throws kerosene and dynamite down a tunnel, and our heroes must outrun the result.
  • Phrase Catcher: When people see the Lone Ranger they ask, "What's with the mask?"
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Bad trade."
  • Railroad Baron: Cole seems like a rare positive portrayal at first, but nope.
  • Rain of Arrows: How the Comanche got the initial drop on the U.S. Calvary that just came under the control of Latham Cole.
  • Rangers: The eight rangers of whom the Lone Ranger was the last surviving member.
  • Romancing the Widow: It's pretty clear that Rebecca was always in love with John, even though she married Dan after he moved away. As a result she gets over Dan's death surprisingly quickly, but John thinks it's immoral to move in on his brother's widow, despite clearly returning her feelings.
  • Runaway Train: Both major Traintop Battles end up involving runaway trains.
  • Running Gag: Men just can't resist the urge to touch Red's ivory prosthetic leg.
    • Tonto's "trades", which always seem to work out in his favor.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The Wendigo is identified as a Comanche myth, but it is actually Algonquian, who were prominent in what is now the northern US and Canada, and the Atlantic coast - it's indicative of long winters and desperation.
  • Sapient Steed: There is something very wrong with that horse.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: John gets shot in the shoulder in Indian territory, and goes down with a very high pitched scream.
  • Serial Killer: Butch Cavendish, who's stated to be an Indian killer and have murdered and eaten people, is a Hedonistic version.
  • Settle for Sibling: How Rebecca married Dan in the first place. Dan seems pretty resigned to the fact.
  • Shipper on Deck: Tonto for Rebecca and John.
  • Shout-Out: Just as Pirates contained numerous references to old-fashioned pirate movies, Lone Ranger features quite a few homages to classic Westerns:
    • The ending train chase/crash recalls Buster Keaton's The General;
    • The plot of the "false Indians" being used to trigger a range war comes from Fritz Lang's Western Union.
    • The Searchers with the "Comanche" raid on Rebecca's farmhouse and the heavy use of Monument Valley.
    • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance inspires John's introduction as a gun-shy, Eastern educated lawyer.
    • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly inspires Tonto looting the corpses of Dan's posse, he and John riding through the desert with an umbrella and the bridge detonation.
    • Once Upon a Time in the West gets quite a workout: the railroad plot, the intro of Dan and his posse wearing dusters, the squeaky windmill featuring in one scene, and Tonto revealing his past identity to Cole "at the point of dying." Hans Zimmer's music sounds like a conscious homage to Ennio Morricone, too.
    • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid inspires the standoff between John, Tonto and two of Butch's henchmen, with the heroes arguing over who should kill whom, and John admitting he's not fired a gun in years.
    • The train robbery features one of Butch's men forcing hostages to sing "Shall We Gather at the River?", in a nod to The Wild Bunch.
    • The Comanche scenes, flashbacks to the massacre in Tonto's backstory and the line "it's a good day to die" all originate from Little Big Man.
    • At one point, the Big Bad tells Tonto "Pretty soon no one will even know you people were here." A very similar line popped up in the director's previous film Rango.
    • Tonto calls John a "Stupid white man." In Dead Man, which stars Johnny Depp, the Native American character repeatedly calls people "Stupid fucking white man."
  • Shovel Strike: When Tonto is about to finish off Butch, Reid knocks him out with a shovel to do things by the book and let the court handle things.
  • Show Some Leg: Red manages to do this with her ivory leg to distract the Captain at Promontory Point.
  • Sibling Triangle: Implied with Dan and John with Rebecca before John left to learn law. Dan married Rebecca and have a son, Danny Reid (Jr.). It is implied that Dan knows John and Rebecca still loves each other.
  • Silver Bullet: Tonto made one for the Lone Ranger to shoot the Wendigo.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss John and Rebecca have a lover's quarrel on horseback!
  • The Sociopath: Butch Cavendish's primary motivation is to fulfill his own selfish desires and murders anyone who so much as annoys him.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Some argue that the movie would be more accurately called "Tonto: The Movie".
  • Take Care of the Kids: Dan, after being fatally shot, asked his brother to take care of his family.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: When the classic Lone Ranger theme starts to play, you know things are about to get real!
  • This Means Warpaint: What we initially assume is Tribal Face Paint on Tonto is revealed to be this. He first painted it on with ashes in the midst of a Heroic BSOD after his tribe was slaughtered, and has kept it up ever since.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: As in the original series, the Lone Ranger wants the justice system to deal with the villains rather than take revenge himself, and enforces this trope on Tonto, despite the fact Tonto wants vengeance on Cavendish and Cole. In the end, Tonto passes up killing Cole... but has no qualms about leaving Cole to his Karmic Death. Ironically, Reid's first attempt at A-Team Firing ends up killing the bad guys even more gruesomely than a gunshot would have done.
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: When Cole announces his hostile takeover of the railway, the chairman of the board strenuously objects. Cole shoots him in the back, and asks who the other shareholders think should be the next chairman... However, the guy shows up later with Just A Flesh Wound.
  • Tonto Talk: Yup but Tonto is crazy. The Comanche chief speaks English somewhat more fluently.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Lone Ranger himself, from city mouse lawyer to heroic cowboy cape.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Anyone who's seen the trailer knows the climax involves the Ranger and Tonto fighting the antagonists on board a moving train.
  • Train Escape: The 'unhook the carriages' variety.
  • Train Job: Butch Cavendish's gang stages a raid on a train in order to free their boss. Later Tonto steals an entire train full of silver ore from one of the villains.
  • Traintop Battle: More than one. Notably, they all end in train wrecks.
  • Tribal Facepaint: Tonto, but he's the only one and the others think he's crazy.
  • Underside Ride: Tonto, several times. The Genre Savvy villain tells his Mooks to double-check the undercarriage.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: Butch Cavendish grabs Rebecca as a hostage during the final battle. When the Ranger orders him to let her go, Cavendish threatens to drop her off the side of the moving train. Then the Ranger tells him to do it as she always seems to land on her feet.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Tonto is telling this story to a kid, and Tonto is crazy.
  • Visionary Villain: Latham Cole has a vision for the railroad network.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Latham Cole seems to genuinely believe he's doing the right thing with his actions.
  • Wendigo: What Tonto believes that Butch Cavendish to be. It's understandable, as he has a habit of eating human flesh.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Cole is the only villain who dies on-screen. Cavendish takes a speeding train to the face off-screen, so unless he really was a Wendigo (or at least Robert Carlyle's character from Ravenous) it's pretty safe to assume he's dead too. However, Captain Fuller is last seen jumping from said train into the woods (a feat repeatedly shown to be survivable in the film), and is never seen or mentioned again. That said, given that he was in the speeding train at the time, if he wasn't killed then it's safe to say he was very badly injured.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Characters spend a massive amount of time simply pointing guns at each other and gloating/arguing when really they should just get on with it (this always end with the intended victim escaping).
    • Tonto's attitude towards Cavendish. However, whenever he actually gets a chance, he tends to stray into My Name Is Inigo Montoya territory.
  • Why Won't You Die?: By the end of the film, Cavendish (and Cole) become very frustrated about the Lone Ranger and Tonto's refusal to die.
    Butch Cavendish: These two have a hard time stayin' dead!
  • Wretched Hive: Hell on Wheels is a horrid place to live, hence the name.

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