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Review | The Lone Ranger

lone ranger2

There are things that seem impossible to understand in Disney’s The Lone Ranger, the Gore Verbinski update of the radio and television serial hero of the same name, but none more so than why people so seemingly contemptuous of this source material would be appointed to bring it to the screen. Busy, stupid and incredibly violent, this new story offers nonsensical action and halfhearted revisionism in its reimagining of the character, who once stood for singular virtue in the Old West, and his “noble savage” partner Tonto.

Working with the same high-octane, low-output creativity that fueled the Pirates of the Caribbean series through four decreasingly satisfying installments, Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer deliver a mean-spirited, misguided, overlong time-waster whose description as “popcorn” fare is fittingly appropriate, as it’s an aggressively unhealthy substitute for more intellectually and emotionally nourishing entertainment.

Armie Hammer (The Social Network) plays John Reid, a law-school graduate who returns to his dusty hometown to find it balancing on a precipice between “Wild West” unruliness and the teeming possibilities of an industrialized future. Immediately finding himself deputized by his more classically heroic brother Dan (James Badge Dale), John rides into the desert to apprehend snaggletoothed criminal Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner). But Cavendish ambushes their posse, killing Dan and leaving John for dead – that is, until Native American warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) shows up and revives him at the behest of forces from the spirit world.

William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish

William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish

Proclaiming John a “spirit rider,” Tonto takes his side as partner and the two race to capture Cavendish and bring him to justice. But when Cavendish’s fiendish plans begin to oddly figure into the more noble aspirations of hometown benefactor Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson), Reid is forced to decide whether it’s better to live lawfully in a corrupt world or to defend justice as an outlaw.

Admittedly, it was only in researching the background details of the Lone Ranger for this review that I was fully able to understand how much Verbinski’s “reimagining” departs from the character’s mythology. But even if that decades-old lexicon of virtuous behaviors and philosophies were fully irrelevant and the character’s gray-area heroism desperately needed to be examined, The Lone Ranger simply does not do that. Instead, screenwriters Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio and Justin Haythe introduce John Reid as a wholesome dimwit whose squeaky-clean pursuit of upholding the law was an ethos that wasn’t merely hopelessly outdated but literally impossible to follow through with.

That the character has always insisted upon disarming his opponents as painlessly as possible – and certainly never by killing them – would seem to present the purveyors of a PG-13 summer movie with an enormous opportunity, and yet they seem to regard it like an albatross around Reid’s neck, eventually turning his “justice”–driven justification for nonviolence into a series annoying, self-imposed obstacles that repeatedly expose his perceived ignorance about the “real world.”

Meanwhile as Tonto, Depp gives a performance that should delight fans of his Pirates turn as Jack Sparrow; both characters exude a decidedly loose sense of morality when it comes to accomplishing their goals at others’ expense, and of course both possess a sort of semi-drunken weirdness that Depp tries to present as charm. Notwithstanding more obvious examples, I’ve actually reached a point where I can no longer tell what constitutes an acceptable portrayal of an ethnic character by a white actor, and Depp’s performance fails to present the character beyond noble, smart and perhaps naively spiritual. Tonto calling Reid “stupid white man” and encouraging Chinese railroad workers to laugh at him doesn’t qualify as an improvement or redefinition of those stereotypes, and Depp’s bug-eyed performance only reiterates the one-dimensional way in which we still think of Native Americans.

lone ranger3Further, there’s a framing device in which an octogenarian Tonto relays the origin story of John Reid that absolutely defies explanation, for multiple reasons — not the least of which being Depp. Notwithstanding the decision to have what appears to be a carnival attraction come to life and speak with a little kid who could be the spitting image of the one in Robert Redford’s The Legend of Bagger Vance, the device’s purpose seems to be highlighting Tonto’s unreliability as a narrator, or the child’s position as audience proxy pointing out how little of his story makes sense. At a bloated 149 minutes, this film shouldn’t be one second longer than necessary, but Verbinski’s well-intentioned focus on Tonto ends up adding at least 10 or 15 superfluous moments of storytelling.

That said, between Elliot, Rossio and Haythe’s many subplots involving peripheral or secondary characters, that framing device ranks as the most obvious material to cut even if it isn’t the most unnecessary. It’s not enough to have Cavendish and a small army of subordinates who carry out his diabolical schemes; there has to be crooks and bad guys with “unique” personalities like Frank (Harry Treadaway), a sniveler with an appetite for women’s clothing. Reid’s brother not only has a plucky widow named Rebecca (Ruth Wilson), but she’s actually in love with John, not Dan, even as Latham Cole makes conspicuous overtures that he would like to replace Dan as her husband and be father to her son Danny (Bryant Prince). And Barry Pepper (True Grit) plays a military martinet who, because the plot demands another foe for Reid and Tonto to battle, willfully chooses to believe he hasn’t slaughtered innocent Native Americans after receiving evidence that he has done precisely the opposite.

Speaking of slaughter, The Lone Ranger is one of the most amazingly violent summer movies – especially PG-13 summer movies – released in recent memory. One character eats another’s heart. Not one but two train wrecks lay waste to bystanders and railroad workers. A roomful of fat cats is blasted into splinters while gunmen try to shoot an unrelated fugitive. And the decimation of an army of Indians by minigun is punctuated by the first-person stabbing of their chief. For a film with a protagonist whose ethos is one of disarmament, it’s fairly disturbing to see the filmmakers interpreted that to mean actually removing people’s arms (or other body parts). Of course, when time comes to vanquish the “real” villains, the characters learn the spectacularly wrongheaded lesson that “justice” is better meted out at the bottom of a canyon under an exploding train car of silver than, say, in the court of law that Reid was fighting to defend throughout the rest of the film’s running time.

Ultimately, Verbinski’s film emerges from the same more-is-more pedigree that begat three god-awful Pirates sequels, and what seems like just about every hopeful tentpole movie made by studios these days: Its conception is justified by infinite moneymaking possibilities, enabled by bottomless finances and yet executed with scarcely a fraction of the creativity. The problem with money earned or money spent isn’t the money itself; it’s that what shows up on screen is nothing but money. There’s virtually no creativity or coherence in those set pieces, only a balance sheet accumulating the cost of pulling off an enormous feat that still somehow doesn’t manage to fit narratively or structurally into any other part of the movie for which it was made. The Lone Ranger exudes hubris – filmmakers behind the scenes saying, “I can spend the most money to make the biggest movie” – but what it needs most is modesty and common sense. Not only would those qualities be much truer to the ideal and morals of the character the film is named after, they would also make for a much better foundation for just about any movie that actually intended to be about him.

The Lone Ranger opens today nationwide.

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Comments

  • http://sdelmonte.livejournal.com/ Simon DelMonte

    I would listen to this review more closely if it weren’t for the fact that I thought the second and third PotC films were really good. I doubt I will see this due to the very problematic nature of Tonto. But I have a feeling I would enjoy this more than the critic.

  • Matthew

    Soooo, basically you don’t know anything about the source material but you’re angry at the contempt shown for it? Where were you when Man Of Steel was defecating all over the Superman mythos? Also, could your review be any more narcissistic? That you didn’t like the Pirates franchise is completely irrelevant and doesn’t change the fact that they were extremely popular films that do indeed have a following. Of course Disney is going to try to appeal to the same audience who know doubt will enjoy it. And you’re angry that Cavendish’s underlings had “personalities”? Do you always get angry when supporting characters have personalities? How do you manage to go see any films ever?

    This review reads like a typical fanboy arguing about which is better, DC or Marvel. This seemingly teenager penned review is a great example of how reviewers don’t even pretend to be objective in their thought process. Clearly the “critic” was upset about the so called whitewashing of Tonto even though no one(including this critic) really knows anything about Depp’s ambiguous heritage and is therefore in no position to even make that call without sounding like a complete idiot. Sure, they could have cast someone like Graham Greene who turned in a decent comedic turn in Maverick but no one would have cared about seeing it without Depp’s name bridging the film with the popular Pirates franchise.

    This movie isn’t supposed to be an expose on Native Americans. If that’s what you were expecting then you’d have been better off watching Stanley Nelson’s “Wounded Knee”. It’s a silly action movie adaptation on a radio/comic book/movie serial hero for crying out loud.
    Speaking of comic books, if you had actually done the research you said you had, which seems doubtful based on this review, you would have known that nearly all recent comic book iterations of the character have taken the approach that Tonto is the smart one and Ranger is the big dumb oaf. Based on your interview, your ideal Ranger film would be more akin to the 1981 disaster “Legend Of The Lone Ranger”, which actually was dreadful(but hey, it had a “real” Native American, right?).

    I’d suggest you stick to reviewing subjects more in tune to your limited capabilities. Things like the latest issue of amicomi girls or the current Rob Leifield offerings. Start slow. Baby steps. You’ll be a real critic one day.

  • Ashley Beeching

    If it’s as superficial and preoccupied with style over substance as much as those awful Pirate’s movies, then The Lone Ranger will be a sure fire one to miss!
    Thanks for the warning.

  • Jim Wolfson

    I’m a Native American (I was born here, just like the fake Frenchie Depp, who’s also a Native American, from Kentucky) and I’m sure glad they didn’t pick me to play an Indian in this mush. Man, it looks awful.

  • Flip Maker

    Your comments about the review are over the top ridiculous and the fact
    you make personal attacks really shows a serious lack of tact. Guess
    that’s what I would expect from a mouth breather. (BTW, that was a
    personal attack in case you couldn’t tell.)

    I saw this movie last
    night and it’s horrible. Embarrassing portrayals of Native Americans
    and an overwhelmingly stupid story. I assure you, had those two items
    not gone the way they had, this would have been a far more successful
    film critically.

    Looks like this movie is going down this weekend
    and I couldn’t be happier for that fact for one simple reason — it’s a
    bad movie and Hollywood needs to focus more on the content of
    blockbusters, not just the spectacle.

  • Matthew

    I don’t even want to know what orifice you breath out of. And please don’t tell me. As angry as your getting over all this I can only conclude that the “critic” must be your daddy.

  • Matthew

    Your comment doesn’t even make sense. The pirate films were huge financial successes. They might be dumb movies that lack substance, but so was Man Of Steel and the Avengers. When it comes to blockbusters, they don’t need to be Citizen Kane. They just need to make money. But then I guess you have to be older than 12 to really understand that.

  • Matthew

    Only problem is that there are no Native American actors who are as big an audience draw as Depp. Considering that they’re trying to cash in on his popularity in the Pirates franchise, there was really no other financially viable choice. This is a silly action comedy, not Dances With Wolves. And really, this isn’t about white washing a role that was a stereotype even when an actual Native American like Silverheels was playing the role. This is just about a bunch of fanboys deciding on which summer blockbuster will be their sacrificial lamb for the summer. Grow up, people. Movies are a business, not a cause.

  • D Azmuth

    proper

  • Dan Wheeler

    I could take this review more seriously if it was better written and not full of missing words and mistakes.

  • Dan Wheeler

    Maybe you should grow up and stop attacking people for not liking this movie?

  • AlexiasLazar

    A little longer than need be, but I enjoyed it.

  • clanwolf

    It would be interesting if they make a tenuous link to Lone Rangers fictional descendant, Britt Reid, otherwise known as Green Hornet.

  • jojo

    I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like potc

  • Ashley Beeching

    I couldn’t give a toss how much any infantile blockbustet movie makes! My concern is that the quality of films are decreasing concurrently with a modern audience’s IQ level!

  • Matthew

    The movie studios care about money, not your “concerns.”

  • theduck0

    Wow… do you have money invested in this or something? I can understand not liking or not agreeing with a review, but you’re way over the top. So let’s look at your points…

    No, a blockbuster doesn’t have to be a deep, substantive movie, but it should make sense and respect the source material. Based on this review, The Lone Ranger fails. (So did Man of Steel, but that’s another review).

    You rail on the reviewer for not knowing the source material, but he freely states he did research on The Lone Ranger so that he’d be speaking from a position of knowledge. Why is this a problem? I know the history of the character, and I’m glad Mr. Gilchrist took the time to find out about it.

    Yes, all the studios care about is money, but it’d be nice if the filmmakers took the time to make a well-crafted, coherent film. That’s why The Avengers made over $1,000,000,000 at the box office: it may not be deep and philosophical (nor should it have been – it was about superheroes fighting aliens!), but it had a coherent story and was true to the characters. So many filmmakers are embarrassed by the source material (again, see Man of Steel) and feel they have to make it relevant. What they don’t realize is that if they’d made a Lone Ranger movie that featured the classic Lone Ranger in a well-crafted adventure they’d make money hand over fist. And let’s face it – a movie about the Lone Ranger should not cost over $200,000,000 to make. Box office pull doesn’t equal artistic success: both The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane were box office failures despite being incredible movies, and unlike both of those films, I can guarantee you you’ll never see a Pirates of the Caribbean movie on any “Best Of” lists. Ever.

    So, calm down, take a breath, have some herbal tea, and remember – this discussion is about nothing more serious than a movie, so try to keep yourself from flying off the handle, OK?

  • theduck0

    No “business” is going to spend more in the making of a product than they could reasonably expect to see in sales of the product, yet Hollywood does it all the time (and certainly did it with The Lone Ranger). You’re right – it’s a business, but it’s an incredibly poorly run business.

  • Ashley Beeching

    Exactly. So I’ll be voting with my wallet and not paying to see this dreck.

  • blue_tide

    Ditto. And this review lost me the second it started on re “nourishing intellectual fare” – there are movies like Transformers that are what they are, blockbuster fun, and movies like Schindler’s List. Just like I can stay home and read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich or play a video game – point is, I should be able to choose and not expect to walk away from every film enlightened, because I don’t want to be. And I;m definitely going to see LR – sounds like a mad blast.

  • JozefAL

    So, you’ll take one person’s “review” as the reason a movie “fails?” Have YOU actually seen it yet?

    You know, it used to be that people would decide for themselves whether they wanted to see a movie or not, instead of relying on someone else’s opinion (unless that person was a friend whose judgment was worth heeding). Now, however, you get some people (apparently such as yourself) who don’t want to think about a movie for themselves because it’s too hard. And the fact that you would say that “The Avengers” had “a coherent story and was true to the characters” while deriding “The Lone Ranger” shows that your opinion really isn’t very good. (Sorry, but there were MAJOR plotholes in “The Avengers”–Loki takes over Hawkeye? And the Thor and Loki with which *I* am familiar are actually Norse gods–not some sort of other-dimensional aliens straight out of von Daniken’s “Chariots of the Gods?” nonsense.)
    As for “the classic Lone Ranger in a well-crafted adventure,” yeah. Right. Maybe THAT is the reason why we see those “classic Lone Ranger” tv episodes airing all over TV. Oh, wait. We don’t. The current movie is right in line with the Lone Ranger books currently published by Dynamite. And I will guarantee you that NO ONE would go see a “classic Lone Ranger” movie. You are living in a fantasy world of your own. (Just as soon as the audience went into a film offering a “classic Lone Ranger adventure,” they’d start bitching and whining about how boring the character is. That he’s just a goody-goody and there’s no real tension. If you think it’s bad with all the “it’s so tough to make Superman relevant” whiners out there, that’s NOTHING compared to the people who whine about *wanting* a “classic Lone Ranger” and actually *getting* one.)
    How about YOU go see the movie for yourself instead of defending some asshole’s half-baked review?
    I actually enjoyed the movie–and so did the majority of the people in the audience. People actually CLAPPED at the end of the film because they enjoyed it. And there were a lot of OLDER people there (people who would’ve actually been around to see the TV series), and they seemed to enjoy it.
    And if the discussion REALLY is “about nothing more serious than a movie,” why are YOU so intent on defending Gilchrist’s review as though IT matters? Take your own advice.

  • JozefAL

    Todd, I don’t know what movie YOU saw, but I didn’t actually SEE a character eat another one’s heart. It was IMPLIED by dialogue, but we don’t actually see it happen.

    I actually enjoyed the movie for what it IS and not what I *wish* it had been. You want to see a different “Lone Ranger?” Go spend the money to make one.

    This movie is a lot closer in tone to the very well-received (can you say Eisner nomination) COMIC book series that Dynamite has published for the last 6 years. It also shares some of the tone from the Joe Lansdale/Tim Truman series published by Topps about 20 years ago.

  • MotYrreb

    You are full of shit Todd. Write about something you know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.schmitt#!/ David R. Schmitt

    Freaking fanboys. Please for the love of God, any god, disable comments.

  • theduck0

    Let’s take your points one at a time…

    “So, you’ll take one person’s “review” as the reason a movie “fails?”” – no, I won’t, and I don’t have enough experience with Mr. Gilchrist’s reviews to take just his word for it. However, when the critical consensus is that a movie is awful it’s hard to ignore. I have no intention of spending money to see The Lone Ranger, as everything I’ve seen and read suggests I won’t enjoy it, and I’m not such a huge Lone Ranger fan that I HAVE to see it. I’ll see it when it’s on Netflix, and I may well find out I was wrong (and if I was I’ll admit it), but I tend to doubt that I am.

    “And the fact that you would say that “The Avengers” had “a coherent story and was true to the characters” while deriding “The Lone Ranger” shows that your opinion really isn’t very good.” – I find it amusing that part of your point is that Loki and Thor aren’t strictly presented as Norse gods in the movies, but you’re OK with the Dynamite comics version of the Ranger, which I understand presents the Ranger as something of a dope. So it’s OK to change the source mythology as long as you’re OK with it? I don’t expect a movie to be slavishly devoted to the comics (or the movies, or TV shows, or whatever), but the Marvel movies do respect the characters. And why couldn’t Loki, with either magic or super-science, control Hawkeye, a normal human being? You seem to be very selective in what you will and won’t accept in a story.

    “And I will guarantee you that NO ONE would go see a “classic Lone Ranger” movie.” – we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. And you know why you don’t see old episodes of The Lone Ranger on TV? I’ll be happy to enlighten you: a) it’s in black and white, b) the powers-that-be in the entertainment industry don’t think people will accept an honest-to-God hero, and c) people today think the portrayal of Tonto was stereotypical and offensive (but at least Jay Silverheels was a real native American). And while you may not get huge crowds flocking to see a traditional Lone Ranger movie, it’d be cheap to produce a well-done, good looking Lone Ranger movie, and if you’re not spending north of $200,000,000 to make a movie it’s easier to make a profit.

    “[W]hy are YOU so intent on defending Gilchrist’s review as though IT matters?” – because I thought Matthew’s comments were out of line and mean-spirited toward both other commenters and Mr. Gilchrist and I wanted to make those points. Mr. Gilchrist’s review matters as much or as little as the reader wants it to matter. Your comments are only out of line and mean-spirited to me, and I can deal with that.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the movie, and given some of the movies I enjoy I won’t judge anyone’s tastes (and without having seen The Lone Ranger I couldn’t judge your taste based on that anyway), but keep in mind that popularity does not necessarily equal quality, and based on early box office returns it doesn’t look like The Lone Ranger is going to be all that popular (although it does have a good CinemaScore rating, so that could change). As far as taking my own advice, since I’ve tried to keep my comments free of invective I’m OK with what I’ve had to say. Perhaps you need to clam down just a little bit…?

  • Iwishitwasgood

    Regrettably, I agree with much of what this reviewer says about this movie. What confuses me is this: if there are plenty of people who want to see “stupid, pointless, violent-laden” summer blockbusters (all Bay’s Transformers movies, Snyder’s Superman update, etc.), who do NOT want to always have to see uplifting, enlightening, intelligent films (one of the other posts mentioned Shindler’s List, I believe), then why do these same people get so angry when other people point out just how “stupid, pointless, violent-laden” one of these movies is???

    I just walked out of The Lone Ranger and I hated it; it was illogical and incoherent. Now, if that is actually why someone else LIKES it, then that is fine. But, why get so angry when someone else simply points out that is it is, in fact, exactly the movie you want it to be???

    I wanted to enjoy this movie; I tried to like it. I had no expectations going in. However, I could not. If someone else likes it, more power to him.

  • Matthew

    “And I will guarantee you that NO ONE would go see a “classic Lone Ranger” movie.” – we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. And you know why you don’t see old episodes of The Lone Ranger on TV? I’ll be happy to enlighten you: a) it’s in black and white, b) the powers-that-be in the entertainment industry don’t think people will accept an honest-to-God hero, and c) people today think the portrayal of Tonto was stereotypical and offensive (but at least Jay Silverheels was a real native American).

    Only one problem there, genius. You are uninformed and factually incorrect. They’ve already done a Lone Ranger film that does a classic take on the material and features an actual native American as Tonto and treats the native americans with respect. It was called Legend Of The Lone Ranger, it came out in the 80s and it failed miserably at the box office. And this was at a time when audiences were still not put off by “Westerns”. Kasdans Silverado was a huge hit just a couple years later. Barbarosa, The Long Riders. all very popular fims. A serious Ranger, a Ranger film that tried to capture the wooden TV series failed miserably.
    As far as taking a consensus of critics word for a film as some kind of universal “truth” of something, is just bizarre. Because critics have NEVER ganged up on a film that audiences turned out in droves to see. Yeah, that NEVER happens. ::insert eye roll here::
    However, based on all of your previous responses on the topic, I’m really not expecting any actual logic from you any more than I am this so called critic.

  • theduck0

    “Genius”? Just curious, are you incapable of intelligent conversation, and have to cover that up with sarcasm and snark? And are are posting as both Matthew and JozefAL (you do both sound the same)?

    I’m well aware of The Legend of the Lone Ranger, starring Klinton Spilsbury and Michael Horse. And it was in no way a “well done” movie (for example, they redubbed all of Mr. Spilsbury’s lines, as he was hired because he looked good in the mask but ultimately couldn’t act). It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but as I recall, it was a looong buildup to the Ranger actually appearing, and it was a drag to get there. So I still maintain that a studio could make a Lone Ranger movie with a strong story that actually featured a Lone Ranger that people recognize and make money. The failure of Legend of the Lone Ranger doesn’t invalidate my point, because it was a bad movie (and given that it looks like The Lone Ranger is going to be listed with John Carter as Disney box office bombs, that would seem to invalidate your point that this is the Lone Ranger people want to see).

    And the part of Tonto doesn’t require an actual Native American, but since it’s a Native American character, why not cast a Native American actor? Yes, I know Johnny Depp was cast because of his alleged box office appeal (and how did that work out for Dark Shadows?), but if they couldn’t get the movie made without him maybe they shouldn’t have made it. (I mean, Tonto tries to feed the dead bird on his head? Really?)

    By the way, are you suggesting that the critics colluded to pan The Lone Ranger? Are you that naive? I understand you love the movie, or have some financial interest in it, or something, but do you really think dozens of critics sat around and said, “hey! I have an idea… let’s blast The Lone Ranger!” Why would they do that? (That’s a serious question, by the way.) There are movies I enjoy that critics hated, and you know what? As films, some of them really are pretty bad. But I like them anyway, and I don’t apologize for it. I also don’t get bent out of shape because not everyone shares my taste for some movies. And as I said before, popular does NOT necessarily equal good. Do you really think the Pirates of the Caribbean series got better with each sequel? They may be entertaining, and people do like them, but as films each one is worse than the one before (and they’d die quickly if Johnny Depp left them, because people see the PotC moves strictly for his performance as Jack Sparrow).

    Sorry you can’t seem to recognize logic, since I think I’ve made my case logically and with examples, but it’s clear your emotions (or total lack of awareness that the world doesn’t necessarily share your opinion) keep your mind closed. Again, if you enjoyed the movie, great. See it a few times, buy the home video release, put posters up on your wall, whatever. But please stop thinking that because you like a movie it must be a great movie. The two are not equivalent statements.

    And try to engage in more conversation and less name calling – you manage to come across as something of a jerk when you engage in insulting those who may disagree with you. OK?

  • Mikey Wood

    It’s absolutely NOTHING like the Dynamite series nor the Topps series (which had more of a supernatural sort of vibe with aliens and skin-walkers).

  • Mikey Wood

    Couldn’t agree more. Terrible movie, as a MOVIE, and doubly terrible take on the characters.

  • MadMikeyD

    I went and saw the film last night. First a brief history of the Ranger and I. I have been a fan of the character for as much of my almost 40 years as I can remember. I remember watching Clayton Moore (in reruns, of course) with my dad and both of my grandfathers. I had the Gabriel action figures in the ’70s and loved the 1980s cartoon. When the character kind if vanished after the ’81 movie, I moved on to other heroes, always with an affection for the masked man. In 2006, when the Dynamite comic series began, I came back to the character. I loved Dynamite’s version and started listening to mp3s of the radio series, which I had never heard. Since then, the radio Ranger has become “my” Ranger. Following the production of this film, I was prepared to hate it.

    That said, I enjoyed the heck out of the movie. Is it “my” Ranger? No. Is it a fun movie? Absolutely. I have my nitpicks and wish it might have been done a bit straighter and adhered a little closer to the source material. Then again, I’ve seen/heard/read probably a dozen versions of the origins of these characters and each one is different (and most by Fran Striker). But when the William Tell Overture hit for the final battle, I was 6 years old again, watching Lone Ranger with my dad and playing with my action figures. It seems the “John Carter” comparison is apt – a really fun, exciting movie that no one went to the theater to see.

    Side-note: IMO, this film is nothing like the Dynamite comics. Maybe you could make the arguement that the level of violence is similar, but character-wise Dynamite is much closer to the source than this movie is.

  • Rollo Tomassi

    I thoroughly enjoyed the film as well, MadMike. It’s not a perfect film(the “flashback” scenes coulda been cut IMO and it would’ve tightened up the running time) but I was smiling the entire film, and so was most of the packed audience I saw it with. I have no idea why it’s getting a harsh rap. You make me want to check out John Carter.

  • MadMikeyD

    I highly recommend it. I’m sure your mileage will vary, but John Carter was my favorite film of last year. (Yes, I enjoyed it more than Avengers, blasphemous as that may be.)