Reviews: The Lone Ranger
Good movie. Not OMGAWESOME but good.
Don't examine this movie too closely. It's not God's gift to cinema, and there are many many flaws beneath the shiny coat. But, and this is a really big but, yes it was good. Not award winning good. Not greatest thing since sliced bread good. Good in the sense of not bad, as opposed to great. The scale goes something like this: OMGAWESOME —> Awesome —> Incredible —> Great —> Good —> Average —> Mediocre —> Bad —> Horrible —> Twilight (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist). Good acting. Depp never fails to deliver, even if the characters he plays don't always make the most sense. Armie Hammer did a very good job as a heroic law-bringing person of bringing the law. If you had told me that guy in the bank scene from The Dark Knight (William Fichtner) was set to be the bad guy, I'd have laughed in your face, but Butch Cavendish was a very good (very bad?) villain. I liked the humor. "Kemosabe" meaning "wrong brother". Still makes me laugh. And the thing at the end; "Never do that again!" killed me. Good action (though I did notice that they were firing an awful lot of bullets for one or two six shooters...but no matter.) A good story. Not gonna win any points for originality, but for what it was, it was good. The music at the end was epic (for an in no way technically accurate definition of "epic") and quite appropriate. I rate it awesome. Others might say otherwise. The...I don't know what it's called. Some kind of device. The thing where the whole thing is actually Tonto telling a story to some kid in the future is really weird. I don't know what to make of it. On the subject of Depp being cast as a Native American character, I will bet you any amount of money that if this film had been a blockbuster most people would not give two hoots about it. While it stands to reason that there must be at least a few people out there who legitimately object, and more power to them (even if I don't understand it), I wouldn't be particularly surprised if most of the furor was because people are butthurt that Depp didn't make the movie a cash cow and are looking for excuses to bash it.
Fails at one of its stated goals
When the controversy about the film first started, a lot of the defense of the film centered around Depp's stated desire to make Tonto, and Native characters in general, less of a sidekick. Come the final movie, we're given a framing device where Tonto tells a little boy the story of... the white guy. So not only is Tonto still the sidekick, but the character even thinks of himself as the sidekick. The fact that a guy who explicitly stated he was trying to make a movie that would challenge the standard stereotypes ended up making a movie that is full of the standard stereotypes pretty much confirms a lot of the concerns that social justice activists have raised about how pervasive media images shape people's perceptions without them even realizing it.
A Jumbled Mess
This film is a mess, pure and simple. From the confusing narrative (constantly switching between the story and Old Tonto remembering it) to the extreme amounts of silliness (with Silver the Horse, for example) to a shocking amount of violence for a Disney film (especially the heart-cutting scene, even if off-camera) to the confusion over whether there were actual supernatural events or they were just Tonto making them up; I spent so much time just shaking my head or facepalming. Was it a bad case of Executive Meddling? Which is not to say that I didn't have fun watching it. There *are* plenty of things to see in the movie: from truly funny moments to some very moving ones (my favorite was the death of John's brother, I felt I was handled well.) The acting was OK and the action scenes were good, especially towards the end. I think that, if only it had been directed better, instead of trying to force it to be another Pirates of the Caribbean, this would have a better film. As it is, I can only recommend it for the weird experience of watching it, as if it were a B movie.
An enjoyable and underrated film
I'll start this off by saying that I went to the film with very little knowledge of the original television show, let alone the radio show that originated "The Lone Ranger" in the first place. That lack of previous knowledge did little to impede my ability to enjoy the movie. Was it perfect? No. Did I have a fun afternoon watching it? Yes. There was plenty of action and more darkness than I expected originally. One of the main bad guys has cannibalistic tendencies and cuts out Dan Reid's heart in order to eat it (thank goodness for Gory Discretion Shot or else some kids in the audience would probably be having nightmares). There was plenty of hints of the less than ideal qualities of the time period. There was some tragic backstories. There was a past love triangle between the Reid brothers and Dan's wife/widow. And there was humor (hey, it has Johnny Depp. What do you expect?). The film isn't getting the love and attention it deserves. Some people are too busy with the other films in theaters at the moment. Others are suspicious of the reviews. But I think you'll be surprised by what an enjoyable movie it can actually be.