The Lone Ranger is a modern adaptation of the popular 1930s radio series, as well as the late 1940s/1950s television show. It features a masked hero, the titular one, and his trusty Native American sidekick, Tonto.
After decades of inaction, Disney went big to bring the duo back. They re-teamed Gore Verbinski with Johnny Depp—who’d collaborated on the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies; and they essentially wrote the director a blank check.
In retrospect, that was a mistake, as was Depp’s baffling decision to play Tonto. With a budget ranging from $225 to $250 million, its modest $260.5 million take was disastrous for the House of Mouse.
Depending on who you ask, the project lost them anywhere from $100 to $200 million. As for Depp, his decision to portray a Native American did little to quell the murmurs of the film’s problematic production. And it certainly only shed more negative light on the project.
In the end, the mileage for this movie will vary for most viewers. It’s overlong, convoluted, a tonal rollercoaster, and lacks a charismatic lead. Armie Hammer, as The Lone Ranger, has less acting chops than his horse.
But it also boasts incredible set pieces, gorgeous visuals, and a bit of the quirky charm that made the Pirates films so much fun.
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