With months of bad buzz and the numerous stories of production troubles, it was difficult to really get excited for The Lone Ranger. Yet if you looked hard enough you could find glimmers of hope. The cast included good actors in Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Barry Pepper, Ruth Wilson and James Badge Dale. Johnny Depp and Helen Bonham Carter, despite their very poor role choices as of late, are overdue for something good, and we just witnessed a film with similar bad buzz (World War Z) turn out to be pretty damn good. However, the biggest hope this film had was its director Gore Verbinski. For some reason it seems like Verbinski just gets ignored as if he is a crappy director that the studio throws onto a project for a cheap price. Yet that could be further from the truth. Verbinski knows how to direct action set pieces, and despite the amount of jokes we may tell nowadays about the Pirates of the Caribbeanseries, the first two films (both directed by Verbinski) are blockbuster filmmaking at its finest. So with low expectations this film couldn’t possibly go wrong. Yet it did. The Lone Ranger is an overlong mess where Verbinski’s direction doesn’t get to shine through until the two-hour mark.
The Lone Ranger follows John Reid (Armie Hammer) as he travels to the West in order to see a ruthless outlaw (William FIchtner) be hanged as well as reunite with his brother (James Bade Dale) and his sister-in-law (Ruth Wilson), who he may have feelings for. However, when the outlaw’s gang frees him on the day of his execution, John Reid travels with his brother to recapture him. This sets in motion a chain of events that leads to John donning the mask and becoming the Lone Ranger. The film is directed by Gore Verbinski and is written by Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio.
Something goes horribly wrong for the first two hours of this film. The script is bad, but there were enough bits that Gore Verbinski should have been able to salvage something out of it. Yet there is just nothing worth remembering on the screen for those first two hours where we cut back and forth between the late 1800s and the 1930s for no reason at all and we get violence in a similar manner to that of Man of Steel (where massacres of entire races are displayed as just your typical entertaining fight scene). However, when the movie seems completely lost and headed for the worst of 2013 list, Verbinski is able to pull off one of the best action set pieces of the year in any film.
The cast of this film is pretty much wasted. Ruth Wilson and James Badge Dale deserved more screentime, while Johnny Depp gets way too much screentime in one of his worst performances yet as Tonto. Armie Hammer unfortunately doesn’t get much to grab onto as the lead, but he is charismatic enough to survive the film. Best in show might be Barry Pepper though as he tries his best at doing a crazy interpretation of George Armstrong Custer.
One good action sequence is not enough to save an overstuffed and overlong The Lone Ranger.