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Silver Bullets: Critics Take Their Best Shots at The Lone Ranger

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire July 3, 2013 at 3:58PM

Some movies critics dislike. Others, like The Lone Ranger, make them mad.
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'The Lone Ranger'
'The Lone Ranger'

Although most of the critics who saw The Lone Ranger last week were prohibited from public comment by studio embargo, you could practically feel them chafing at the restriction as their Twitter feeds filled up after the screening, unable to stem the bilious tide swelling inside them. There are movies critics dislike, and then there are those that make them mad. The Lone Ranger, which currently sits at a dismal 24% on the Tomatometer, is one of the latter.

Oddly, many critics seemed too deflated by the experience of watching the movie to channel that loathing into memorable words, but a handful of stalwart souls rose -- or should it be sunk -- to the challenge of giving the movie the skewering it deserves. Criticwire honors your sacrifice, and awards you each a tarnished tin star for your heroic efforts.

Ty Burr, Boston Globe

Gore Verbinski's bloated, $250 million western comedy is like watching an elephant tap dance in your living room: Everything gets trampled and the dancing's not very good.

Lou Lumenick, New York Post

Imagine Heaven's Gate as a family film with half the laughs and none of the visual grandeur.

AO Scott, New York Times

The result is a frantic grab bag of plots and themes, a semester-long Westerns 101 college course crammed into two and a half hours and taught by a professor whose lecture notes were rearranged by a gust of wind on his way to class. 

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

There's no life here. There's no joy. There's just some very expensive cinematography and about three different movies, packed in tighter than a dance-hall girl in a borrowed corset.

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice


How much do you think The Lone Ranger's director, Gore Verbinski, appreciates any of this God-given beauty? Judging by the amount of crap he packs around it -- dozens of superfluous plot points, action sequences so cluttered they obscure whatever genius may lurk within, heaps of heavy-duty symbolism that ultimately mean nothing, and juvenile gags that appear to have been written by 10-year-olds rather than for them -- not much. 

Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

Transplanting the Pirates of the Caribbean aesthetic to the Wild Wild West proves disastrous in The Lone Ranger, an indigestible swill of forced humour and oversized, overbearing action sequences. 

The film is a bloated, incoherent would-be epic that stumbles like a horse that stepped in too many plot holes and came up lame.

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Despite its impressively staged set pieces, The Lone Ranger can't survive the epic train wreck resulting from its own tonal clashes, wherein mournful scenes of genocide and stolen immigrant labor are tastelessly juxtaposed with silly slapstick humor, and solemn historic revisionism abuts awkwardly with overblown computer-generated spectacle. 

Mark Dujsik, Mark Reviews Movies


The scene in The Lone Ranger in which the slaughter of Tonto's former tribe, fighting back against the men who have framed them for killing innocent women and children, is paid off with a gag about a horse standing on the branch of a tree, so the movie has downplaying genocide going for it.

Jordan Hoffman, Screencrush


One minute we're facing the injustice of broken treaties with American Indians, the next minute there’s a horse that drinks whiskey.

JR Jones, Chicago Reader 


Caked in white warpaint and wearing a dead crow on his head, a stone-faced Depp fails to generate even the stinky charm of his mascaraed Jack Sparrow, and in fact almost everyone here comes off badly. 

Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

Even if only at a subconscious level, we're all too aware we're watching ones and zeroes slathered around performers making "oh shit!" faces at objects to be fully rendered later. 

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times 


And as satisfying as it is to hear snatches of Rossini's "William Tell Overture" and hear a stirring "Hi-Yo, Silver," it's just as sad to report that although this Lone Ranger is good at helping strangers, rescuing his own film is beyond even him.

Drew McWeeeny, HitFix

Someone needs to drag this thing out behind the barn and put a silver bullet in its brain. It's the only kindness this movie deserves.

Devin Faraci, Badass Digest

I hate The Lone Ranger as much as The Lone Ranger hates The Lone Ranger.


But put aside the notion that children shouldn't see this film. No one should. The Lone Ranger is a movie for the whole family... to avoid. 

This article is related to: Walt Disney Pictures, Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Reviews, The Lone Ranger


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