The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger ★★★★½

One of the best blockbusters of the 2010s.

A fiercely audacious, visually stunning and fervently strange adventure flick from Gore Verbinski which pays homage to and deconstructs the myths of the Old West. The influences range from the Westerns of Sergio Leone and John Ford to the intricate physical comedy of Buster Keaton. The critiques of Manifest Destiny and the corrupting impact of capitalism are surprisingly poignant, providing a sense of melancholy that lingers throughout. The framing device is effectively used as it adds another layer to proceedings, is it really Tonto's recollections or his way of warning future generations not to forget about the horrors his people went through?

Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer share an enjoyable chemistry, while the supporting cast is solid and Hans Zimmer's score is memorable. The third act is where I really started to be impressed thanks to how everything clicks into place. Not that it is ever dull but prior scenes that seemed unnecessary are deftly recontextualised and minor character moments suddenly reveal deeper meanings. The film itself is bookended by two of the greatest action sequences in modern cinema. The climactic train section is incredible; it's paced to perfection, has a sense of scale that is astounding and is packed with inventive visual gags.

I'm still baffled by the critical battering The Lone Ranger took when it was first released. It has its share of flaws but it is filled with such creativity, ambition and passionate filmmaking that it should be held in greater esteem.

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