Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘The Lone Ranger’ Review: Depp Gives Life to Mediocre Western

The Lone Ranger is one of those movies that everyone knows about, but no one actually wants to see. Think about it. Do you know anyone who is saying, “I can’t wait for The Lone Ranger! Ahh!” Everyone knows it’s the new movie where Johnny Depp is wearing black and white face paint…but that’s about it.

I will say if you plan to see The Lone Ranger in theatres, know that it is Disney’s most violent film ever. To say this is a “Kids & Family” movie is absolutely inaccurate. There is a scene where someone eats a human heart. They don’t show it, but there’s gory, and even for a PG-13 rating it’s a lot! Just warning ya before you take the kids to this “harmless” Johnny Depp movie!

There’s a lot going on in Lone Ranger, but the long and short of it is this. Told from the perspective of Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) as he recalls his adventures with a ranger named John Reid (Armie Hammer). John was originally a man of the law but turns into an outlaw because the town he works for is corrupt. Tonto and John cross paths and decide to band together despite their differences…mainly in the fashion department.


Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, who brought us the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, reunite for this film. Obviously the duo work well with Depp, who is fantastic in this film, but the dull screenplay and miscasting of a few actors, hurt the film deeply.

The very beginning of the film is excellent and intriguing and the ending will please anyone who is a fan of spaghetti-style Westerns. It’s the middle that is up in the air. Somewhere there is a good film in this screenplay; the story just isn’t fluid enough for my taste. Luckily, Depp’s performance as both the younger and older Tonto is pitch-perfect that it makes the film enjoyable enough throughout its two hour and 30 minute run time.

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Armie Hammer is a wonderful actor. Take a look at his dual performances in The Social Network and even last year’s Mirror Mirror. But here as the Lone Ranger himself, Hammer is too over-the-top. Depp is naturally funny, whereas Hammer is trying to be funny and it doesn’t work in his favor. Hammer and Depp appear to have a pretty good chemistry going, but Hammer is far less suited on screen against the likes of Depp.

Depp continues to prove he is one of Hollywood’s finest, but the film’s length, convoluted screenplay and miscast actors make The Lone Ranger a likable mess.

The Lone Ranger receives 3/5 stars for Depp’s performance and fun Western ending.

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