I will say this up front, I really enjoyed this movie. It got some tough criticism from the big name critics and ign gave it a pretty tough review as well. So I went into the theater today with very low expectations, but I think that may be the best way to go into a movie theater, just because you almost always come away pleasantly surprised. This movie has some issues here and there, but it's truly the definition of a popcorn flick, turn off your brain and just enjoy the ride.
The biggest pluses from this movie were three major performances. Depp stole the show, with his eccentric, slightly crazy portrayal of Tonto. His back story is given a much darker slant to it I expected. I won't spoil anything here, but let's just say he totally has a good reason to be as eccentric and crazy as he is. The role is given some of Johnny Depp's trademark quirk that has shone through in many of his roles since Pirates, but it works here. The second major role that gave this movie a huge boost was William Finchter as the villain Butch Cavendish. He plays a much more dark and sadistic villain than I expected out of a Disney summer blockbuster. He pulls some truly grotesque stuff throughout the course of the film and Finchter just chews up scenes. I tended to love the scenes he was in, they were the best throughout the movie. The third performance I mentioned? The horse. Seriously, it's hysterical and Depp has some great chemistry with the horse. Sorry Armie Hammer, I liked the horse better than I liked you. Don't get me wrong here, I liked your performance as John Reid aka The Lone Ranger, but it wasn't outstanding. I think that's what kept this movie from transitioning from a good popcorn flick to a great one.
Seriously this horse, hysterical.
The action scenes in the film are great and it moves quickly from set piece to set piece with each being just as entertaining as the last. Some people have been saying this is a downside of the film, that it just keeps moving from action scene to action scene, but I think that the characters are given enough time to develop without too much time to become stale. The only one that I really did not care for was Helena Bonham Carter, seriously can she play a different type of character? please?
The movie does go dark from time to time, which can be a bit jarring, but it just adds something to think about while watching. They really accentuate the rampant racism of the time, whether it be the Native Americans, or the Chinese, or African Americans they really are shown as being victimized and at times brutalized. It wasn't something I was expecting from a Disney movie, but hey it worked. The movie would fluctuate wildly from a humorous situation to a situation where Finchter or the other villain of the piece (I won't spoil who it is here, but it's fairly obvious right from the get go) do something extremely violent and disturbing.
Finchter does dark really well for a Disney Flick.
The last thing I'll leave you guys go is the fanservice relating to the Lone Ranger is fantastic. One of the major action set pieces is set to the iconic theme. It's great and it made the audience actually applaud when the music started. Also Armie Hammer actually gets to say "Hi Ho, Silver!" I really appreciated that. Overall it was cheesy, dark at points, and wildly funny at times. As long as you don't think too hard about it. Seriously, if I were to start to try to analyze it at all I'm sure it'd fall apart at the seams, but I don't want to, I just had fun.
I'd give it a solid 7.5/10