Mel Stefaniuk’s review published on Letterboxd:
If The Lone Ranger is Gore Verbinski's last hurrah as a blockbuster filmmaker -- and, given its monumental failure on nearly every commercial and critical level, that's a strong possibility -- then thank god he's bowing out with what could very well be his defining batshit insane masterpiece.
This is as singular a vision as a 200-million dollar budget blockbuster can get; there's no designed-by-committee feeling here, no lingering traces of tampering from Disney executives worried about the material. He's using every iota of power he's earned from the Pirates movies and Rango to create an epic western adventure which defies all earthly description. There is no one else alive who could get away with making a movie so campy, so grisly and so surreal and receive hundreds of millions of dollars (from Disney!!!!!) to do it.
This is a film in which:
- The villain cuts open someone's chest and eats their heart in an act so upsetting that another character vomits after witnessing it.
- A bad guy, who is possibly a transvestite as he always seems to be wearing women's clothing, yells out "They're gonna violate me with a duck foot!" because he assumes Tonto and the Lone Ranger ARE GOING TO RAPE HIM WITH A DUCK'S SEVERED FOOT.
- Music cues, shots and plot beats from classic westerns, especially Once Upon a Time in the West, are liberally borrowed. Even the iconic Henry Fonda/Charles Bronson dynamic from that movie is redone here with Tonto and the villain except instead of a harmonica, they use a pocket watch.
In no way shape or form does this movie bow down to any conventional wisdom concerning modern summer blockbusters or by-the-numbers thinking. Stuff like Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel might make the bigger splash now but they'll be vague memories in ten year's time.
A movie as visually stunning, creative and off-the-wall bonkers as The Lone Ranger will live on forever.