There has been comparisons to the ill-fated Wild, Wild West and in general, murmurs of displeasure and dislike.
Were they watching the same film?!?
What we have here is yet more proof that, despite the odd hiccups, there are certain things we can rely on: director Gore Verbinski knows how to deliver some Summer spectacle; writers Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio can deliver outstanding origin stories; and the one Johnny Depp is still THE quintessential quirky character creator. End of. Full stop.
For those not in the know, the list of people above are the team that gave us Pirates Of The Caribbean - the film that no one wanted, based on an outdated ride at Disney World. This origin story that launched a further 3 films - thus turning it into a surprise franchise - showed that when creating an opening salvo, they knew how to deliver the goods. Now with this stab at the story of the masked man defending the people which the law cannot seem to do, they have all created a film that is as smile-inducing, lean-forward laughing and iconic-image forming as their first team-up. Yep, you read that right - The Lone Ranger is as much fun as Pirates Of The Caribbean!
From the get go, the mission here seems to be pure and simple - entertain the heck out of the audience and not pay too much attention to such trivialities as historical timing or location. If it ain't fun or funny, don't leave it in!
With a set up not too dissimilar from the classic The Princess Bride, the story of our hero is told to a young child who, most likely as some audience members will do, interrupts the proceedings to question the motives and the clarity of the storytelling from the old narrator - in this case a 100+ year old Depp claiming to be the original Tonto. At times he looks even more Keith Richards than Keith Richards did in the Pirates sequel - a strange nod to the inspiration of one Captain Jack Sparrow. The plot is mostly linear except for one or two events which help build up abit of mystery around The Masked Man and the Insane Indian until the grand finale.
Before the "OMG" finale though, there is just a heap of slapstick, banter, quirkiness, stunning vistas, stupendous set pieces and one of cinemas greatest real life horses (Tangled's Maximus doesn't count here as we was all CGI.) The White Spirit horse - he doesn't become Silver until the end where Depp yet again steals the show with a corker of a line!) - acts alongside Tonto fantastically, even when he isn't standing in trees wearing hats, walking and running on roofs or licking scorpions off our heroes faces.
It all may sound just a tad too silly but believe that despite how strange it all sounds, it never feels like it's slipping into ridiculous levels where complete suspension of everything is necessary in order for you to survive it.
All of the above is pulled off seamlessly with Depp the right side of fruit loop and Hammer the square-jawed-but-niavely-trusting all-american hero. Their banter harks back to the Laurel & Hardy days of entertainment where looks rather than words speak volumes and creates laughs.
Then you're hit with the train chase finale. Imagine the chase sequence from Wallace & Gromit's The Wrong Trousers on speed, with full size trains, a serious lack of sleep, a serious amount of cash spent on special effects, the best use of a ladder committed to celluloid and THAT tune from The Lone Ranger finally blaring out across the speakers which had been noticeably absent until then, and you're half way there! Logistically, it's a nightmare keeping up with as the two trains become more and more detached as they chase each other through the glorious-but-blurred landscape but then you don'y have to! That's the point! Just sit back, relax and accept the insanity of it all and the pleasure that comes with it.
Immense fun and deserving of a follow-up adventure, ignore the American antipathy towards it and go see it for yourself! Hi Ho... Whoops, can't spoil it for you!
UK release date: 09.08.13