Other than the original, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are bloated, plot stuffed affairs. Given that the most important elements of said saga –Johnny Depp ,Gore Verbinski and the writers- are also the cornerstones of The Lone Ranger it’s no surprise the film suffers of similar problems. Not to mention the wild tone shifts scattered through the movie.
Based on the legendary TV series (in turn inspired by a radio show), The Lone Ranger is an origin story hoping to become a franchise, as about any other movie to open this summer. Lawman John Reid (Armie Hammer), his brother and his posse are massacred by felon-slash-cannibal Butch Cavendish (William Fitchner). Reid, however, is saved by Tonto (Johnny Depp), a wayward Comanche with a beef of his own with Cavendish.
The partnership is not an easy one. Tonto doesn’t think highly of Reid, whose straight-arrow stance is unpractical most of the time. In turn, the would-be Lone Ranger believes his aboriginal partner is, at the very least, unbalanced.
The movie works best when dealing with the material in tongue-in-cheek fashion. Depp and Hammer are good comedians in leading men bodies and develop a strong rapport. However, some brutal violence (natives are massacred by the cavalry) shifts the tone completely. Director Gore Verbinski seems to distrust the material so he keeps adding layers. When the climax finally arrives (after two meandering hours), the film has three over-the-top villains involved in four to five death matches in a confusing train wreck of a sequence.
If nothing else, The Lone Ranger takes advantage of Monument Valley in Utah, the setting of most John Ford films. If only the movie was half as good…
Two masked prairie dogs. They look like raccoons.