Directed by Gore Verbinski - Produced by a bajillion people - Starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale
It's about time I added my belated but still mint two cents to the debate over the big-budget Disney production, The Lone Ranger. Made by just about everyone who did the Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Lone Ranger is a whole lot bulkier, a good bit thinner, and as a general rule not as much fun as Pirates. Johnny Depp is enjoyable if not overly goofy as Tonto, whose shtick sometimes works against the otherwise dark demeanor of the film. Armie Hammer is good enough as the ever-dashing, morally cemented John Reid aka the Lone Ranger and Tom Wilkinson is actually a good bit of fun as the devious surprise villain that everyone and their dog saw coming. It is William Fichtner, however, who steals the show as the cannibal outlaw Butch Cavendish, a delightfully unhinged villain. James Badge Dale is great for the limited amount of time he gets as the "right brother" although he seems to be making up for that shortchanged screen-time by being in just about every other blockbuster film this summer. Helena Bonham Carter might as well not be in the film at all as her addition seems to be almost entirely superfluous to the plot. The film is a good deal of fun during action sequences, the kind that defy physics a la Pirates 2, 3, and 4, but the pacing is revealed to be all off when the action settles. Often times, the plot even seems to stand still in service of a particular gag or joke that usually doesn't really warrant the pause. Also, rabid, vampire rabbits? The film feels bloated and stretched thin at 149 minutes, leading one to conclude that somewhere in here is a great hour and forty-five minute to two hour film trying to break through. It's not, however, an overall bad movie. Actually, I'd say it's better than Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but then again I had more than a few issues with that one. In sum, The Lone Ranger is at points genuinely entertaining but suffers from poor pacing and a constant desire to prove itself worthy of its own preposterous budget, a tactic that only really proves effective in the film's entertaining finale chase and a few other choice action sequences.
See it: If you are a particularly devoted fan of Johnny Depp or aren't too critical of your summer blockbusters.
Pass: If you could care less about the underachieving child of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, even if it has a couple of genuinely fun bits.
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