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The Lone Ranger's Lonely Defenders: Critics Ride to the Maligned Blockbuster's Rescue

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire July 5, 2013 at 10:50AM

The reviews for The Lone Ranger are in, and by and large they're pretty dire: Criticwire's C average is the only place the movie musters a passing grade. But a small handful of prominent critics have made a strong case for the movie's virtues, going so far as to suggest that those who pounced on the film this week will be eating their words in the not-too-distant future.
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Lone Ranger

Not a few critics draw a line between John Reid and Kal-El, putting the masked man ahead of the man of steel.

Frank Lovece, Film Journal International:

Despite the period setting, The Lone Ranger is essentially a superhero movie, hitting that hard target where larger-than-life meets the real thing. And given a choice between this buoyantly kinetic, full-of-heart adventure and recent actual superhero movies (the dour, leaden Man of Steel), I'd go it a Lone

Callie Enlow, Orlando Weekly:

While his superhero counterparts may concern themselves with saving the world, the Lone Ranger wants to serve justice in a land where the law is increasingly bent for a powerful few -- a Lockean nightmare, and perhaps a more terrifying situation than could be concocted by Zod, Kahn or any other maniacal villain du jour.

Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central:

The irony of a bloated blockbuster (in running time and budget, both) commenting on filthy lucre is lost on no one, probably, yet The Lone Ranger comes off as, most ironically of all, something like a labour of love for a character so unbelievably square that he becomes symbolic of our disappointment in ourselves. He's the kind of hero Superman used to be; it makes one wonder if the true incarnation of the Man of Steel on the big screen is one who understands, indeed embraces, his legacy of terminal dullness and builds an atmosphere of loss and regret around him.

Twitch's Jason Gorber emphasizes the balance between the film's subversive elements and its superficial pleasures, placing him in a line of critics content to admire the fim for what it is.

Owing as much to the aesthetic of Deadwood as it does to The Searchers, I think The Lone Ranger can be seen as a wickedly surreptitious film, sneaking into a giant Hollywood production very real questions about the representation of American history, and toying with audience expectations by turning these core myths on their head. The fact that such elements can be hinted at while still creating a child friendly, intensely amusing action film makes it all the more remarkable.

Luke Y. Thompson, Topless Robot

As in Life of Pi, Tonto ultimately tells the kid it's up to him whether the story is true or not. But whether you read it as rollicking adventure or dark allegory, it's an odd take on a classic property that may alienate purists but is a marvel to behold. Hammer establishes himself as a convincing lead, while Depp once again goes out on a limb in a way that pays off and legitimately makes sense.

The Voracious Filmgoer:

In a summer when so many Hollywood entertainments, even the halfway decent ones, seem to be on autopilot, it's a relief to find that The Lone Ranger boldly and confidently flies off the rails the first chance it gets. 

Stephen Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

A wild, wacky, wide-screen reimagining of the vintage radio serial and TV series, the film -- with Armie Hammer in the hat and mask, galloping across Texas righting wrongs, and Depp as his trusty Indian sidekick, Tonto -- is an epic good time. It's also as American as apple pie, and as American as greedy railroad barons, cagey brothel madams, and two-faced pols. Perfect timing for the Fourth of July! 

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club:

Though it lacks the sustained manic energy of Rango or Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Lone Ranger is crammed with enough fun matter -- rollercoaster train chases, fourth-wall gags -- to compensate; the slower scenes are at least interesting to look at, thanks to Verbinski's detail-packed compositions. Hammer's performance -- always game, never mugging -- certainly helps; his likable but buffoonish Lone Ranger is an essential part of the movie's irreverent tone.

Sean Means, The Salt Lake Tribune:

The Lone Ranger ultimately works because, in an age of mechanized action blockbusters, it’s not afraid to be a Western. It deftly conveys "those thrilling days of yesteryear" (as the narrator on the old TV and radio shows used to say) of fleet-footed horses and chugging locomotives, even as it acknowledges that the good guys and bad guys aren't always easy to spot -- unless, like our masked hero, he's wearing a white hat.

This article is related to: The Lone Ranger, Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Jerry Bruckheimer, Walt Disney Pictures

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