The Lone Ranger


Not much to crow about...

What's fundamentally wrong with The Lone Ranger is precisely that: the fundamentals. 

Whereto start? How about an eponymous hero (Armie Hammer) whose origin journey from lawyer to avenger is as misconceived as it is unengaging?

Then there’s the slog of a story, centred on the construction ofa train line through Comanche territory.

Even the Pirates posse (Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski), with their fondness for bloat, should’ve recognised that such an arc cried out for the lean, mean approach.

The tone of this radio/TV serial reboot zig-zags from sadistic to farcical, with Indian genocide and a heart-eating villain (William Fichtner) sharing screen time with pratfalls and Depp’s Tonto, who reluctantly partners up with Hammer. 

With the black-and-white war paint and dead-crow fascinator Depp looks the biz, but the chasm between sarcastic mugger and spirit warrior with tragic backstory is too awkward to breach.

A pair of gargantuan set-pieces that bookend the movie are witty, physics-defying spectacles in which Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner would be right at home. But they’re Verbinski’s wheelhouse: we’d be shocked if they sucked.

Less effective are the gratuitous interludes, such as Tonto’s frequent announcement “Something notright with the animals” so comedy rabbits can crop up with zero relevance to the plot.

The framing device (old Tonto relating his tale to a lad in 1933) sounds like a sweet, storybook idea but only helps nudge the running time up to an unnecessary 149 mins.

Which you’d think would allow time to develop characters like Helena Bonham Carter’s saloon owner, a cipher from start to (admittedly explosive) finish.

OK, so the big-sky scenery would make John Ford proud. There are neat nods throughout to everything from Buster Keaton’s The Generalto Little Big Man. And ultimately, it’s not as awful as Wild Wild West. But we’ll hazard a guess that Pirates 5 can’t come quick enough for Bruckheimer or Depp.


It looks terrific and when the action’s at full gallop, offers a wild ride. But the slapstick and sinister carnage gel about as well as Custer and the Bighorn.

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Film Details

User Reviews

    • Ramirez

      Jul 29th 2013, 21:58


      I think this a slightly simplistic and unfair review. I saw this at a preview screening last week (thanks TF) and whilst it isnt perfect I enjoyed it far more than any of those awful pirate films. I agree the story telling device of an old Tonto is irritating and unnecessary and the film is clearly too long (but name a tentpole movie tht isnt these days). But what this film has is a genuine sense of adventure and a sense of humour that allows the film to gently poke fun at itself. It is an absolute joy to actually watch a summer film that doesnt involve some terrible CGI and in which we some great in camera stunt work. As I say it's not perfect but it didn't leave me with a headache (hello Krypton) and didn't lazily re hash a previous version of itself (Kaaaaaaahn), so I found it one of the more satisfying films this summer although my total lack of expectation may account for a degree of this. If you do go and see this and find it a little hard going half way through please stick with it, the last 40 minutes contain the best action set piece I have seen for a while, add inthe William Tell Overture and you gain another half a star of anyone's rating.

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    • FBJBottomley

      Jul 30th 2013, 0:36


      It was a messy movie story-wise, the narrative framing was annoying, there were too many characters to do justice to and it was too long. That's the bad stuff and yeah it is substantial but I felt that this blockbuster, while flawed, is fashionable to hate on at the moment! Fact is, this was far from joyless. The finale was pure 4 star material, the william tell overture was used beautifully. The film was never boring and looked great and Depp/Hammer had enough chemistry to power it forward. Flawed as hell but still a very fun watch in all, it entertains in a Saturday night kind of way, as the source material did in a saturday morning kind of way. Worth watching.

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    • smellyhands

      Jul 31st 2013, 22:13

      Well the trailer was c**p so this is a fitting review. Plus arent people getting fed up of Johnny Depp in face paint and silly costumes yet? I was bored of it after the 1st pirates movie. Also Armie Hammer is pretty much Paul Walker in every way.

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    • Ali1748

      Aug 3rd 2013, 17:58

      I've heard mixed reviews. Empire gave it 4 stars and even though the trailer didn't excite me I have a feeling it won't be nearly as bad as everyone is making it out to be. I do believe the lacklustre box office and harsh reviews has a lot to do with people being fatigued with Johnny Depp, his whacky performances have grown extremely stale.

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    • depp5

      Aug 5th 2013, 15:54


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    • Aberskene

      Aug 7th 2013, 11:34

      OMG I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU! ENJOY WATCHING IT ON YOUR OWN!! (Do you happen to own a lot of cats?!)

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    • joshareynolds

      Aug 12th 2013, 20:27


      I actually really enjoyed this. It was definitely not perfect but I thought it was fun and managed to keep me entertained for the majority of the time. Johnny Depp being the eccentric side-kick is getting a big boring, however it was still reasonably fun to watch.

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    • Ali1748

      Aug 13th 2013, 20:41


      Just like I thought, The Lone Ranger was enjoyable and not nearly as bad as critics made it out to be.

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    • carolinemacafee

      Aug 20th 2013, 20:04

      I think the critics are failing to 'get' the film because of its anti-liberal (including pro-gun) message. The joke is on the idealist who thinks the world can be made a better place without violence - when we meet the future Lone Ranger he's armed only with the authority of the law and a copy of John Locke. He's in way over his head (Iraq war?, Arab Spring?) and doing more harm than good. The 'noble savage' Tonto is not so naive. The film is a kind of anti-Avatar.Tonto is a thoroughly unreliable narrator - that's the point of the framing story. He sells his ranger sidekick a view of Indian life - spiritual wisdom, quaint customs, harmony with nature - that's pure invention of his own (and a clever parody of the romantic view of tribal peoples). Also, whereas Avatar shows the usual liberal condescension to the noble savages, who need the superior white man to save them, Tonto is very much in charge, and is the viewpoint character that we identify with.

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    • matthewbrady

      Sep 11th 2013, 21:33


      two and a half hours of bull c**p

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    • paulharmsworth

      Nov 2nd 2013, 2:59


      Has this "critic" actually seen this film? Even if they have their jaundiced view of it is way off. Brilliant old fashioned story telling at its very best. FIVE STARS from me.

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