The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger ★★★

As per usual with director Gore Verbinski, there is kineticism and imagination in the action sequences here that is unbeatable by any of his contemporaries (sans Michael Bay), but the bloat is unmistakably also there and it almost sinks the entire endeavor - along with some trite (and corporate-approved) revisionism on the Native American subject matter. The movie often comes across as feeling "guilty" about being a Lone Ranger adaptation - and that's just the wrong thematic approach for the pulp material.

Ultimately, this imperfect and strange marriage between Pirates of the Caribbean and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (!) was unfairly maligned upon release and is likely worth the time investment, even by mere virtue of its exuberant and fluid climactic train setpiece, a grandiose spectacle that pays homage to the cinematic pioneer Buster Keaton and brings back memories of the all-time great whirlpool swordfight between Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones in the aforementioned Pirates movies.

In fact, there are equal amounts of originality and regurgitation from their previous works that Verbinski, Elliot & Rossio, and co-star Johnny Depp bring to the table; and perhaps if the latter and the mostly misused Armie Hammer had sparked better chemistry together early on (or the bickering jokes they were handed were more inspired), this could have stood at the level of John Carter of Mars and TRON: Legacy as another artistically underappreciated Di$ney™️ box office bomb, released right before their hostile takeover of American popular culture.

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