Director Gore Verbinski follows in the recent trend of superhero films and takes the audience to the origin of John Reid (Armie Hammer), the Lone Ranger. The film begins in 1933 San Francisco with Tonto (Johnny Depp), described as a noble savage, as he unfolds his tale through a series of flashbacks to a young boy dressed as the Lone Ranger in an American history fair tent. He takes the audience back to a Texas train where he meets John Reid for the first time and they encounter the cannibalistic, sadistic, scarred looking criminal in town, Butch Cavendish (William Fitchner).
The Lone Ranger started as a children’s radio show in the 1930s and subsequently was transformed into long running TV series after the war. It was only in 1981 that big money was invested into the story to make a film and now Disney has invested even more in order to reinvent the legend of the Ranger.
Pumped full of humour and action, this adventure western does not fail to entertain and bring us some magnificently aesthetically astonishing images. In order to allow for a family friendly film the humour and music cuts in at critical moments to ease the tension. Any strong violence is completely avoided by the gaze of the camera. The downfall being that the film often feels like it is dragging its heels.
Throughout the film, John Reid represents a figure of the law, who does not believe in the use of violence but instead puts his faith in the legal system to bring about justice. However, it is through a mask that he learns to see the truth behind the façade and embarks on a mission, with Tonto, to bring their own justice back into town. With the mask on Reid becomes the Ranger and can act outside the law with no repercussions, much like many of our beloved superheroes, making him a superhero of the West.
Alongside this, The Lone Ranger is set in a time when industrialisation is in full swing and a railway is set to be built directly through the settlements of various Native American homelands. This particular film, with its contrasts between the industrialised and native and the good and the bad represents the idea that cannibalism is the metaphor for unbridled consumerism. This metaphor is explored through the character of Butch Cavendish, who is a cannibalistic villain whose lust for violent consumption leads him to his doom.
With fantastic performances by Armie Hammer, William Fitchner, Ruth Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, Helena Bonham Carter and not forgetting Johnny Depp who manages to steal centre stage, The Lone Ranger is an easy and enjoyable watch, never quite getting too serious with its Butch Cassidy style.
With the right amount of humour, a fantastic cast, and amazing aesthetics Disney have done well with this adaptation and have left the door open for a sequel.
Written By Shirley Welton