The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger ★★★

[Recommended by Theo]

The first thing that struck me after finishing this was how fun of a Western this is - it ranks right up there with Blazing Saddles and Leone's Dollar Trilogy as one of the most fun and entertaining Westerns of all time.

Gore Verbinski is a director I am beginning to highly appreciate; his mix of wackiness and a dark visual flair with the crowd pleasing blockbuster is something that I feel is right down my alley. And it kind of saddens me to see the lower ratings for movies like this and Rango (not that Rango has a bad bad rating) since those are legitimately great. At least Curse of the Black Pearl gets its rightful recognition.

Although this was a huge critical flop, the Lone Ranger was given credit for it's fantastic effects, and they really are eye popping. With another director they might have come off as fake and like a set piece. Verbinski makes every scene popping with movement and ideas - rarely is there one thing going on screen. He crams so much into the Lone Ranger, and that may seem like he's packing it too full, but I think it works beautifully.

The train chase scenes - both beginning and end - are two of the finest action sequences in recent years, bar none. It may seem like a joke to call this one of the best action movies of the last 10 years, but 1917 is the only one I can think of that tops this... and is that really "action"?

Besides the action scenes, there are characters that we really care about, with backstories and flaws and interesting/different morals. There is a lot of subtle (and perhaps not so subtle) commentary on how Native Americans have been treated in the United States since day one. But Verbinski doesn't push it, and lets this be a fun movie where racist white men get their asses kicked.

Also, in many ways this feels like Verbinski's Once Upon a Time in the West - a farewell Western set during the fall of the old West. It looks both backwards and forwards, lamenting the change and new technology while celebrating that perhaps these new changes will be for the better. It almost feels like a Western about Westerns... thus my comparison to Once Upon a Time in the West.

The Lone Ranger isn't a masterpiece like that film, but it holds it's own as a magnificent, fun, and wild ride that never ceases to maintain. I only hope that my puny 3.5 will help push up that rating just a tad.

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