Review: “The Lone Ranger” rides high on comedic action as Disney’s wacky western surprises with serious gun-slingin’

in Disney, Movies, Reviews

This week Disney presents their take on the wild, wild west as director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer team up with Johnny Depp once again for “The Lone Ranger.” Following the hugely successful (and still ongoing) “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, “The Lone Ranger” pairs a white-faced, bird-headed Depp as Tonto with unlikely star Armie Hammer in the classic role.

The two-and-a-half hour movie begins quite unexpectedly with a oddball narrative element that carries throughout the film all the way through the closing credits – one that itself is a spoiler not to be revealed here. Through this unexpected storytelling method, the tale of lawman John Reid is delivered, once a suit-wearing lawyer and brother of one of the famed Texas Rangers, ultimately becoming, well, the title of the film kind of gives it away.

How Reid, aka the Lone Ranger, ultimately becomes partners with Tonto, an outcost of a Cherokee Native American, is a third of the film’s story, both sharing the desire for revenge against the baddest man of the west, Butch Cavendish, played with just enough subtlety by frequent character actor William Fichtner. But there is nothing subtle about Cavendish’s particular brand of evil. It’s clear from the very first time his filthy appearance litters up the screen that this man is no one to be crossed. And despite a vague visual similarity, Cavendish is badder than Pirates‘ Captain Barbossa was at his worst.

In fact, there is nothing subtle about “The Lone Ranger.” The film features off-the-wall humor, much of which is offered by Tonto and Reid’s horse Silver, tip-toeing the line between Hollywood western reality and “Pirates 2” style slapstick. The jokes are often setup-punchline style, with quite a few one-liners flung around.

Depp is puzzling as Tonto, leaving audiences not knowing whether to laugh with him, laugh at him, or take him seriously as he deadpans all of his lines, perhaps not cracking a single smile through the entire duration of the film. Tonto is definitely not Jack Sparrow, instead a straight-faced Native American that always manages to escape even the most precarious of situations through cunning, and sometimes absurd, means.

Meanwhile Armie Hammer is present and adequate as the Lone Ranger, but never completely heroic. Despite the film’s title, Hammer is rarely the star of the movie, more often than not acting as Depp’s sidekick and the brunt of oh so many jokes. He’s not a bumbling hero, but instead one that takes far too long to come into his own. But when he finally does, it’s spectacular.

Balancing all of its humor is the film’s frequent use of in-your-face violence, often nudging the line of its PG-13 rating. Though some of the most gruesome of violence takes place just off screen (or barely seen via carefully framed reflections), many of the gunshots are felt by the audience individually, ringing out one at a time, each hitting its mark with force. As the film progresses, the gun-slinging becomes more frequent and “wild,” sending shots flying and bodies falling in every other direction. But the realism of early scenes might be too intense for younger or more sensitive audiences. Completely family-friendly this film is not.

The film’s treatment of Native Americans is always respectful. Though Depp’s own portrayal of Tonto can’t be described as anything resembling a “real” Cherokee, his Native American costars (of which there are many) offer authenticity and even a bit of heartbreak. This is definitely not a “cowboys and indians” film.

By the end, “The Lone Ranger” becomes fully realized, finally finding its way out of generic western territory and into an extended finale that’s deserving of its title, complete with the triumphant use of Rossini’s “William Tell Overture.” All the key elements that make “The Lone Ranger” what the world has known it to be for decades finally pull together for a show-stopping end to an otherwise average film.

The 2.5-hour movie could have been tightened, shedding some of its less important characters and scenes, such as anything to do with Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Harrington, and giving more attention to interesting but underused characters like Barry Pepper’s Captain Fuller. But as it stands, audiences who can make it through the gritty realism of some of the film’s early scenes will come out smiling in delight as the Lone Ranger truly rides again.

“The Lone Ranger” gallops into theaters on Wednesday, July 3, 2013.


  1. Avatar

    Amanda Swafford

    Thanks for the review! Was wondering whether to take my 3-year-old, she’s a great movie-goer, but sounds like this one is a resounding NO due to the long length and violence. Thanks! Guess I better start looking for a babysitter. 🙂

    1. Avatar

      Ricky Brigante

      Your 3-year-old probably won’t understand everything that’s going on in the movie, but if she’s sensitive to lots of gunfire, yelling, or explosions, this isn’t the film for her.

  2. Avatar

    Roddy Barros

    I’m sure to take my 7-year-old. I don’t mind a “hard PG-13”. Back in the day, we had Goonies, Gremlins and Temple of Doom, and we all grew up just fine. 🙂

    1. Avatar

      Ricky Brigante

      Oh I agree completely. Honestly, I didn’t find it to be that bad. But the stereotypical “family-friendly” Disney crowd might.

      Just remember it was “Temple of Doom” that forced the MPAA to CREATE the PG-13 rating. 🙂

  3. Avatar

    Thank you for the review.

  4. Avatar

    Brandon Gibson

    I really enjoyed this movie. But it had me wanting more of The Lone Ranger and Tonto as a team. Instead, I was frustrated by how much The Lone Ranger fought becoming The Lone Ranger and not wanting to accept Tonto as his companion. However, the ending made up for that, and I’m sure if there will be a sequel it will be done right.

  5. Avatar

    Rick G


    Your review is right on the money. Our family enjoyed the movie and the musical score is very good. It made me hope for a sequel but based on how much the critics have bashed it I doubt it.

    This one is a must see on the big screen to fully enjoy the scenery.

  6. Avatar

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching
    for about binary options

  7. Avatar


    Hey i was wondering what the lone ranger ride/trailer thing at Disney World Orlando was like and what it is??

  8. Avatar

    I seriously love your site.. Great colors & theme.
    Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own blog and would like to know where you got this from or what the theme is called.

  9. Avatar

    I must thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this blog.
    I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you later
    on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my
    own website now 😉

  10. Avatar

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created myself or
    outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement.
    Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being
    ripped off? I’d really appreciate it.

  11. Avatar

    There are issues like using the internet as a substitute for a
    stock exchange and click frawd in online stock dealing.

    Kristie Lorette is a freelance writer that specializes in helping businesses and entrepreneurs create copy that sizzles, motivates,
    and sells. It should be able to change like a chameleon
    and look natural in every new surroundings.

  12. Avatar

    I truly love your website.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m
    trying to create my very own blog and want to know where
    you got this from or just what the theme is called.

  13. Avatar

    Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging
    for? you madse blogging look easy. The overall look of yur
    web site is fantastic, as well as the content!

  14. Avatar

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little research on this.
    And he actually ordered me breakfast because I stumbled upon it for
    him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this topic here on your blog.

  15. Avatar

    Very rapidly this site will be famous amid all blogging visitors, due to it’s pleasant articles or reviews

Comments are closed.