Right, I am just going to get this review done! I finally have a bit of time to actually write it although I cannot promise it will be the best. Sorry!
Told from the point of view of Tonto (Johnny Depp), the Lone Ranger follows the story of John Reid (Armie Hammer) and how he went from being a lawyer, on the side of the law to The Lone Ranger, on the opposing side of the law. John Reid’s return to his home town to his brother, Dan, and his family is less than happy when outlaw, Butch Cavendish, breaks out of custody and goes on the run. Dan enlists John’s help to track Cavendish down with other Rangers but is betrayed by one of their own, who is working for Cavendish. Cavendish and his posse ambush and kill the Rangers and, upon finding them, Tonto buries all of them. However, when a white spirit horse awakens John, Tonto encourages John to join him as they track down Cavendish together and to become The Lone Ranger.
This film is visually brilliant, if somewhat gory at times (surprising since this is a Disney film, even if it is rated 12A) and has all the connotations of a Western film. However, it is arguably also fantasy and, visually, slightly steampunk-ish. It is a great romp through the Wild West of America. The humour is also brilliant, if somewhat one side with Tonto seeming to get most of the jokes and John Reid played off as a bit of a goof and gets some slapstick comedy.
In a way, this film is Wild West Green Hornet, which was also a “how the hero came to be” story (a seemingly often reused story in Hollywood as of late!) A big difference is that the Green Hornet film (2011) had a much simpler story whilst Lone Ranger seems to go all over the place and at times, I was struggling to keep up. It was also slower in pace in comparison.
The only thing that made up for the pace and sprawling story was the humour. As mentioned above, I think it is brilliant, if very one-sided. The interaction between Depp and Hammer’s characters is great fun initially but gets a little repetitive.
The action is well paced and done brilliantly with the train chase at the climax of the film well paced and great fun to watch.
Something I would question is its uses of certain storytelling techniques. For one, it uses a framing technique of Tonto telling his story to a little boy in 1933. Is it needed? In my opinion, no. This film could easily have played out without the use of it. It also has a flashback to something that happens later in the story and, whilst the story does come back around and puts it in context, again, I don’t think it was needed or even necessary to put it in flashback. Why not just have the scene actually in its place in the story?
In spite of the failings of the actually film, I do think there is just enough to rescue it from the panning of the critics in my opinion. It is funny, the action is great, it is visually exciting and the music is brilliant. I think it is worth a watch as long as you can forgive that the story is not all that brilliant or well put together. Ultimately, it’s the story that let’s the film down.