The Lone Ranger tries. It’s a weird film, which is refreshing, but the poor pacing almost kills it. The story follows greenhorn John Reid as he stumbles through adventures with Tonto, a crazy Native American on a decades-long mission to hunt down a deranged, cannibalistic criminal.
It deconstructs the original story with the aim of getting in as much cynicism as possible: John believes in preserving all lives, even the villians’, not because he’s risen above those who don’t, but because he’s too inexperienced to know better. The idea of making Tonto crazy works well for Tonto’s personality, in my opinion, since it neatly avoids the stereotype of a mystic, halting-English-speaking Native American, while still providing with one. But the mask, the silver bullet, and the phrase ‘kimosabi’ are all bestowed on Reid by Tonto due to the character’s slightly crazy nature and the fact that the two don’t get along well at first. The source material is spoofed, essentially. The cynicism is a little strong, particularly at the end. Instead of a rousing call for the Lone Ranger’s way, Tonto yells as Rein for trying to use the phrase “Hi-ho, Silver, away!” Even Pirates of the Caribbean ended with Jack singing his pirate song, followed by awesome theme music.
The poor pacing is the film’s major problem, though. I could easily forgive cynicism if it were accompanied by a driving plot. Instead, the film meanders through its two and a half hour runtime, setting up an intricate plot that connects Tonto’s back story with both the evil criminal and a railroad magnate. This would be a great plot if it were fun to watch all the time, but too much of it is slow, boring, and attempts to be serious. There’s no point to plenty of it, and it seems like a bunch of set pieces — a brothel, a barn, an indian camp — without enough reason to justify their existence. It’s like all the Pirates sequels, which makes sense, considering it boasts the same writers.
The two big action scenes, both involving trains, were very well-done. Tonto’s antics were the best part of the film to watch, but they were sadly few and far between. Armie Hammer did a great job acting as Reid, too. If only the inevitable sequel(s) were to be written by someone with an eye for a fast-paced, relevant plot and more appreciation for the decency of the heroes, we could have a great film. Buuut that’s never going to happen.