The Lone Ranger started out as a radio show in 1933. It captivated audiences young and old for decades. Its popularity spawned several comic books, TV shows, and countless pieces of merchandise. The Lone Ranger, his sidekick Tonto the Comanche, and his loyal steed Silver became some of the first American icons. In this age of remakes and reboots, it was only a matter of time before someone would reinvasion this shining beacon of the Wild West. However, in this remix culture we’ve been saturated by moody, dark re-imaginings of famous icons I.E. Batman and Superman.
This was my number one concern with this film. The trailers promised an action packed thriller, much like its Piratey predecessors, along with brooding lines, such as, “If they represent the law then I’d rather be an outlaw.” My hopes for this film sank, and as I sat in the theater and was greeted by a slow drawn out first act, my hopes became even more grim. The film started out serious, as some criminal activity takes place on a train. This is where we see Tonto and John Reid (AKA the lone ranger) meet for the first time. Tonto is a prisoner and Reid a public defender en route to his new District Attorney job in the city of Colby. My spirits were lifted momentarily by the slapstick which was mixed with the graphic gun play. This is where the film gets most of its PG-13 rating. There are several gun fights with high fatality rates. However, as the film goes on these fights become more action then grit.
I attribute this to the fact that we are watching from the perspective of John Reid. John is a prim and proper city lawyer, and the early on gunfights are truly traumatizing for gunless DA, but as time goes on, and he becomes more and more of the Lone Ranger we all know and love, and as his experience grows the tone lightens. Armie Hammer did a great job of playing the bumbling buffoon turned epic hero, and Jonny Depp’s performance as Tonto was one which portrayed both serious emotion, and yet was the source of most of the light hearted moments. By the end of the film I was on the edge of my seat bouncing to the classic Lone Ranger Theme song, which was so well implemented during the climax. I really did feel a connection to all those children sitting around the radio with their plastic cap guns and pleather chaps.
All in all this was a Lone Ranger for a much more mature audience. The original Lone Ranger being a God-fearing, prime time role model with a right hook for justice, and the new one being a humanist, law spewing pansy who only succeeds after realizing the human law he worships falls short. The PG-13 rating should definitely be respected. Since the violence and (cough cough) necklines of the female characters are much more graphic than the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Even though this film is very far from Disney’s family friendly standards, it was still a great flick filled with action, adventure and great comedy that will have you singing the Lone Ranger Theme song all the way home.