Oscar®Oscar® Nominee for Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Movie Review

The Lone Ranger

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material.

Reviewed by: Pamela Gardner
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Western Action Crime Adventure Adaptation IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 15 min.
Year of Release:
2013
USA Release:
July 3, 2013 (wide)
DVD: December 17, 2013
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures

justice

justice of God

righteousness

revenge

fighting against greed and corruption

bravery / courage

Featuring: Johnny DeppTonto
Helena Bonham CarterRed
Armie HammerJohn Reid/The Lone Ranger
Barry Pepper … Captain Jay Fuller
William Fichtner … Butch Cavendish
James Badge Dale … Dan Reid
James Frain
Nick W. Nicholson … Saloon Guy
Tom WilkinsonLatham Cole
Ruth Wilson … Rebecca Reid
more »
Director: Gore Verbinski—“Pirates of the Caribbean” series, “Rango,” “The Ring,” “Mousehunt”
Producer: Walt Disney Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
more »
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“Never take off the mask.”

I’ve wanted to see this movie for quite some time, so I packed up my kids and off we went. This over 2 hour long film opens in 1933 at a San Francisco carnival. We follow a young boy dressed in a Lone Ranger costume, through an Old West exhibit. The boy sees vivid pictures and animals, then comes across an elderly Indian man. The boy stares at the life size “model” Indian then… he moves. Startled, the boy continues to eyeball the figure until he finally speaks two words “Kemo Sabe?”

We now know that the Indian is an elderly Tonto (Johnny Depp). Tonto begins to regale the boy with the origins and history on The Lone Ranger. John Reid (Armie Hammer) a recent law school graduate travels on a train to the home of his youth. He wants to bring law and justice to the land. He calls man’s law book his “bible,” when a woman offers to pray for him.

Unbeknownst to John, there is a criminal Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) chained up about reach his own justice via hanging in the next car. Chained next to this villain we see a young Tonto, awaiting his sentence for “being Indian.” Cavendish breaks free and is about to escape when he runs into an unsuspecting John Reid. John, not being a fan of guns, quickly becomes the prisoner and is chained up next to Tonto. A series of exciting events ensue and ends with the villain escaping, Tonto is in chains, again and John is pretty roughed up. Entering his home town, John meets up with his older brother, Dan Reid (James Badge Dale) who is a Texas Ranger, and vows to recapture Cavendish and deputizes John to join in the pursuit.

With that as an opening, I must admit my interest was piqued. Let us start with the acting, it is superb. Johnny Depp is impeccable. Armie Hammer was virtually unknown to me before this film; after watching, I hope to see his other work. As the Lone Ranger, he is tall, courageous and, dare I say, handsome. In fact, the entire cast is quite impressive. In addition, I must give a separate mention to the villain Cavendish played by Fichtner, an especially cruel and dark hearted criminal.

While I did enjoy the film, it had content I could have done without, especially since I had my 4 and 7 year old with me. The violence is heavy. People are senselessly murdered, men and women are slapped and beaten. Blood is shown, and my kids had to shut their eyes.

Language was moderate, including about 7 hells and 3 damns; they were unnecessary.

There are some suggestive sexual themes; the are, however, minor.

Also, there is a running anti-white man motif that really began to annoy me, personally.

I feel I must also mention there are conflicting spiritual themes that might cause some parents to pause.

There is a running theme about justice, revenge, and destiny. With those themes on a loop throughout the film Ezekiel 34:15-16 rang true.

“I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”

God is the True Judge, and even with a world that is full of darkness and corruption, He will exact justice and judge the world. Also, sometimes we as Christians will be called upon to stand against such darkness and be salt and light.

Overall, I did enjoy the film, the acting, the direction, and the cinematography. It did however go on a little long. I would caution taking young children.

Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Moderate—“God,” “My G*d” (2), “Oh G*d,” “Oh my G*d,” ““Swear to G*d,” “hell” (13), “damn” (7), “*ss” / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Overall, I enjoyed the movie. If you like over the top action movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Sherlock Holmes or westerns you might like this movie. It reminds me of a 50-60’s American adult western with modern over the top action. In those days they dealt with darker aspects of the old west like violence and to mistreatment of Indians with a virtuous hero as its protagonist. Which is like better than the anti-heroes of revisionist and spaghetti westerns.

There is quite of bit of violence and implied violence. Not for kids, but not as bad as most action movies. The violence didn’t bother me. Its a parents call though.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Keith Chandler, age 34 (USA)
Positive—…It was a very entertaining movie with great acting, and you can tell it was filmed on location. Yes, it had violence. Turn on you TV, and you will see worse violence at 9pm. Look at the old Westerns; they shot each other. …It did not have any G… D… in it or F or S words. It had a great story line. I have walked out of theaters because of the G D’s and F words. But some Christians praise movies that are full of them. Great movie, and I will see it again…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Wayne, age 59 (USA)
Positive—When I first heard “The Lone Ranger” was in the works, I was really looking forward to it. I remember watching the 1981 movie when I was a kid. After seeing what they did with Tonto, disappointment was looming. Then when it registered around 30% fresh on the tomato meter, I immediately went to Christian Spotlight for the review. I eventually decided to view the movie by myself, without the kids. Glancing at all the negative and neutral comments here, I braced myself for a let down. In conclusion, I would have to agree with much of Pamela Gardner’s review.

If you are looking for a fun action film, it will satisfy. If you are looking for Clayton Moore, you will be somewhat disappointed. Although the movie maintains his sense of American justice in the face of revenge and private justice, he is awkward and somewhat timid. If you can imagine “The Lone Ranger” being crossed with “Pirates of the Caribbean,” then you have an idea what to expect. This is not really a serious movie, compared to other Westerns. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—J. Paul, age 43 (USA)
Positive—Wasn’t particularly interested in seeing it but went with some friends and loved it. Some of the action sequences were a bit over the top, but good movie, overall. I liked that it doesn’t sugercoat history.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sam, age 24 (USA)
Positive—I saw this movie with a group of friends from church. Half of them were very excited to see the film. The other half were just sort of in for the ride, I being one of them. Although I have never seen the original series the movie was based on, I was familiar of who the Lone Ranger was. I knew the famous quotes, the iconic music, and, of course, the two main characters.

Whether I was actually going to like it or not, I didn’t know. But of all the people that came out that night from the theater, I was the one most pleased by the film. This is a good film. Not perfect, but still very enjoyable. It has good acting, great special effects, wonderful music, and good cinematography. It really looks like you’re in the old West, and walking amongst the vast desert. And like any Western, it has action scenes, gun shooting, Native Americans, fighting on top of a train, some nice classic romance, etc. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Andrea Lopez, age 21 (USA)
Positive—I was originally worried about watching this movie, with all the troubles it had during production and the abysmal box office numbers. However, don’t let the fact that this movie is not doing so hot at the theaters keep you from seeing it. I was pleasantly surprised leaving the theater after watching “The Lone Ranger”.

While not anything ground-breaking, it is a fun summer movie to watch. The action scenes are great, and I was surprised by how funny the movie was. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Landon Maxwell, age 18 (USA)
Positive—Went and saw this movie Friday night here in Greensboro, North Carolina. I was blown away at how well this movie was. Johnny Depp did a excellent job as Tonto. In my opinion, he played the character of Tonto better to a tee, just as well as he plays Jack Sparrow. I was a little shocked at the heavy violence at the start of the film. The acting was well done, and the musical score was perfect! I never laughed so hard in my life. The directors did a wonderful job telling the story from Tonto’s viewpoint. Would go see this film again! Going to get it when it comes out on DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Travis, age 28 (USA)
Positive—…the storyline was excellent and had the potential of really being a good dramatic movie. The problem, for me, was the way Tonto was treated by The Lone Ranger. It was really sad. Also, I felt that the parts that were forced to be funny were almost cartoonish like. I have never seen a movie were you were riveted by the story and wondering why the attempt at comedy was even added. I felt it took away from a great storyline.

That being said, the movie was rated PG-13, so why was the reviewer taking her 4 and 7 year old to this movie? 13 means 13. The violence was very heavy, not for children. Luckily I did not see anyone in the theater under 16. I have always relied on this Web site to determine whether I see a movie or not, but this time I went before I read any reviews. Disney distributed films are not what they were in the 70s, while I was enjoying “The Love Bug” and films like it. However, they have distributed some really good films, and I will continue to see them, and I did really enjoy this movie. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Janice, age 48 (USA)
Positive—As a Christian libertarian, I found the movie quite refreshing. Reid (the to be lone ranger) is an idealistic young man who discovers that truth and justice is not to be found in the earthly powers that dominate our lives. This world is corrupt, and that includes the nation-states. Christians who look to the state to correct social ills are just as naive as Reid. Christian values in the majority of individuals is what brings peace and prosperity to a country, not the corporate state and its military. Since the Bible is the Truth, in the free market place of ideas unhindered by a self-serving centralized state, it will win the day and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Joey, age 53 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Has many fun moments, some repulsive moments, but most annoying of all: It has the standard Hollywood cliché of a villain who appears to be a pious Christian, but is in fact a ruthless businessman and the driving force of corruption. Hollywood appears to be incapable of presenting Christians in positive light.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Rtdreep, age 51 (USA)
Neutral—Why? Comes to mind… What were they thinking? That one is pretty high up there, too. I am going Neutral-but definitely negative for families. There are many, many sites, both Christian and non-Christian, that have very accurate descriptions of this movie. They point out the problems and mistakes. They are all correct. But, Why? This could have been a fun summer movie. They could have edited out the “Dark” subjects, left in the action, the fun and let good guys be “good,” and bad guys be “bad”-just by dropping some of the plot extras (that go nowhere, anyhow) and a lot less carnage. Then we would have been able to enjoy a possible blockbuster in just under two hours, instead of knowing that was something you never want to see again-even from the rental boxes!

Parents, please beware and read up on this before you find yourself explain to your child what “cannibalism” is! Yeah, it gets that gross and dark at times. Seriously, I will give Disney a do-over! Pull the movie, make it what it really has the potential to be and then release it again. I would give it another try if they would. That would truly make history!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—D. Proshek, age 52 (USA)
Neutral—First of all, this movie should NEVER have been rated PG-13. It is a solid R movie with violence and vice galore. It is, in fact, outrageously violent (heart eating scene and bodies being shot all over the place) and also full of immoral elements. The one good thing for me was the theme of finding out how Lone Ranger became Lone Ranger. The storyline was, in fact, plausible. Greed ruled that day, as it does today also. There were some annoying features to the movie (an aged Tonto telling the story to a young museum visitor) and the action was a bit slow to start.

I stayed with the movie as I became intrigued with the story of Tonto, the white horse, and John Reid, the Texas ranger. This movie is tough and not for the faint of heart. It is for mature audiences only. It is long. Probably those who grew up with Long Ranger on television, which I did, will sit through the two and a half hours.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Halyna, age 67 (USA)
Neutral—There were things I liked and didn’t like about this movie. I liked the action and cinematography. It had those fun scenes similar to Pirates where the music went right with the action. I liked the acting. Helena Bonham Carter was amazing as Red. Johnny Depp was fabulous! I liked the humor.

I didn’t like the story line. I wish movies named after beloved characters followed the same story as the original. I didn’t care for the gruesomeness of the villain. This should have been a movie younger kids could go see. The rating is appropriate. So, while it was a fun movie, it wasn’t really the blockbuster I was hoping for. When friends ask if I liked it I just shrug and say, “Yeah, kinda.” I guess it just didn’t live up to the “real” Lone Ranger.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Trina, age 45 (USA)
Neutral— After reading several reviews from multiple sources, my expectations for this movie were very low. However, it was a bit better than anticipated. The first action sequence of the film was exciting, and there were dashes of humor throughout, which I appreciate in adventure stories. It reminded me quite a bit of the Sherlock Holmes movies (Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law).

Overall, the best part of the whole thing was learning Tonto’s origin story (as a young child, I loved the original TV show, but preferred Tonto to the Lone Ranger). So the movie wasn’t absolutely terrible, but it really wasn’t that good either. First of all, I’d like to say that this Lone Ranger is nothing like the Lone Ranger of yesteryear. He drinks, he swears, he kills people: three things the original Lone Ranger never did, as a rule. Also, while both stand for justice, this new hero finds it OUTSIDE the law, and wears a mask to protect himself, not others. He is a vigilante, not a sanctioned crime-fighter, which makes the morals of his actions questionable, to say the least. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Christina, age 20 (USA)
Neutral— I saw this movie with my Dad today. I never saw the original Lone Ranger TV show (I may have enjoyed the movie better, if I knew more about the Lone Ranger). I should start with the positive aspects, before I begin the negative aspects of the movie. For the most part, I thought John Reid (The Lone Ranger) was a good hero. He was very brave, and he stood for truth and justice.

***SPOILER*** In one scene, he has the opportunity to kill the villain. But, he chooses to have mercy on him and spare him. ***END SPOILER*** more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 23 (USA)
Neutral—Having listened to the William Tell Overture by Giacchino Rossini growing up (the last half of which was used as the theme for “The Lone Ranger”), I was interested in Disney’s take on “The Lone Ranger.” Alas, I was more disappointed than happy. For one thing, there are more uses of hell and damn in this film than in any other Disney production (though they avoided taking the Lord’s Name in vain this time), the violence is too intense for a Disney film, though of course the worst violence occurs off-screen, just like in “John Carter” a stream of urine is seen (which is disgusting), the story itself doesn’t really make much sense, and the frame story is distracting (which plot devices worked for “The Princess Bride” and “The Prestige,” but not for this film).

The cannibalism angle was intense for Disney, but they handled it discreetly. Like “The Princess and the Frog,” though, the suggestion of it was disturbing and too dark for a movie aimed at children. There were some funny bits, including a horse imbibing, but the only part I really enjoyed was the climax, when the last half of the William Tell Overture began playing. View it once.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—D, age 28 (USA)
Neutral—Would have been very enjoyable except for two glaring errors. 1. Changing the way how the Lone Ranger and Tonto get together. 2. The making of a childhood hero of radio and later TV, into a stupid wimp, was inexcusable.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joanna Thomson, age 75 (USA)
Negative
Negative—“The Lone Ranger” was terrible. The story dragged on and on and on. I started looking at my watch forty-five minutes into the movie, hoping that the misery would end. But, this notwithstanding, there are far greater concerns. The chief of which was a recurrent anti-Christian sub theme. In the movie, the Christians are old or fat women, and demented old men. At one point, a Christian preacher actually leads a mob with pitchforks and torches chasing the “heathen Indian” Tonto. When I saw that, I verbally muttered, “A Christian mob, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

In the beginning of the movie, when the future Lone Ranger (John Reid) is on the train headed west, an unattractive “Presbyterian” missionary invites him to join them in prayer. The Lone Ranger quickly holds up John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and refuses to pray, saying “This is my Bible.” Of course, Locke’s writings were formulated, informed and influenced by a Judeo-Christian worldview. The idea of embracing the concepts of John Locke, without John Locke’s Christian worldview is preposterous. This is tantamount to saying that I believe in the Bill of Rights, but reject the Constitution. There is no logic to such an approach. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Douglas M, age 49 (USA)
Negative—Offensive to say the least… Christians portrayed as weak and stupid… one nice prayer spoken turned out to be from the most evil man in the movie. What could have been great humor was meant to demoralize conservative values and make anyone in favor of gun rights look cruel killers.

We came from the “radio generation” hoping to see our old hero come back to life and we were made to feel embarrassed to think that Tonto should be portrayed as an old man in a freak show telling stories and begging popcorn?! I just cannot say enough about the disappointment and felt betrayed. My poor husband was like a little kid in anticipation ever since he saw the first preview. We almost walked out but were with others. I hope it is Hollywood’s biggest flop and someone starts making movies we boomers can look forward to and trust with our dollars and time!! okay… God forgive them. I hope at least one person decides not to go because of my report.

I MUST say… the movie was cast, directed and acted top notch and provoked a lot of laughter.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Mary C, age 64 (USA)
Negative—I was surprised to see how violent this movie was. You assume being a Disney movie some lines would not be crossed. Example: A man is shot, and the bad guy cuts out his heart and eats it while he is still alive. The story line is very poor. Not at all recommended for small children, better yet I highly recommend you stay home and not waste your money.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Terry, age 61 (USA)
Negative—The movie was extremely disappointing. Hollywood tries to go back and make something that was great into today’s ways, and completely ruins it. Like the main review said, there was very many spiritual references with Tonto and the beliefs of First Nation’s peoples (no disrespect) with Silver being “the spirit horse” and The Lone Ranger being “the spirit walker” who is supposed to be invincible (there is only one that is invincible, and that is Jesus Christ), and there was many references made to Christianity, many of which made us believers look bad. There was a group of Presbyterians sitting on the train singing, and I have nothing against singing, but it made them look really “simple” if you will, and really dorky.

While Tonto and The Lone Ranger are riding through a town and there is an evil event taking place, with one of the attractions being a demon possessed man. Tonto and The Lone Ranger then go into the saloon and there are prostitutes and extreme cleavage. There was never any swearing in the original show or comics, and there is filthy language all throughout the movie.

I was very disappointed that Hollywood ruined another good shot at a good film that was played off an original. I was surprised to see Armie Hammer doing the different actions especially after he played the role of Billy Graham in “Billy: The Early Years…”. For sure wouldn’t recommend this to my fellow Christians out there. Doesn’t respect the original show in any form at all
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Christopher, age 18 (Canada)
Negative—Normally when heading to the movies, I check other movie critics thoughts on the films. Though I read them, in most cases I go see the movie myself and determine whether I liked it or not. Such was the case with the Lone Ranger. Originally, I had no intention of seeing it, and unfortunately some of it was because of the critics thoughts and some of it was just because lack of interest. My friend invited me, and so I thought I'd give it a chance. I have never seen any of the Lone Ranger TV episodes, and I would not have noticed if there was bits of material from the series (like the Overture) that made its way into the movie.

At times, this film felt like it was, as I had read, trying to be everything all too quickly. It would be comedic, then serious, romantic, and this would occur in a continuous cycle. I found it a bit annoying and was hoping for a little more action.

Now for the good. Johnny Depp and Armie Harmer make a funny pair. The action scenes were not too intense but enough to keep your interest. The story had its good moments, though it was a little tough to keep up (I could be wrong). “The Lone Ranger” was a decent film, but unfortunately I don't think they'll be making a sequel anytime soon. My advice is to wait.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
Alexander Malsan, age 23 (USA)
Negative—A visually remarkable, sad, sadistic farce of a movie. A Monty Python/Sam Peckinpah dance with wolves in sheep’s clothing. Silly, slick and sick, it can’t decide if it wants to be Mel Brooks or Sergio Leone. But it’s clearly not the Lone Ranger. Even Depp can’t redeem it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Mark Ammerman, age 59 (USA)
Negative—I don’t wish to stereotype, but Pamela Gardner’s review seems to be have been swayed by the “handsome” actors—so swayed in fact she also seems to have overlooked the minor fact the script stinks to (forgive me Lord) high heaven.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Len, age 70 (USA)
Negative—Did no one notice in the opening scene of this movie a man named Jesus robbed a train of full Christians and shot the Pastor???… Open your eyes. Disney is and always has been a satanic organization.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Derek Mosley, age 30 (USA)
Negative—I think poor old Walt Disney would turn over in his grave if he could see how far movies made by his studio have gone towards violence. Why do the talking heads discussing cruel murders or mass shootings not get the connection between young eyes seeing a man’s heart cut out and eaten with later criminal behavior? Duh… even Goofy would connect the dots. A travesty on the idea of family entertainment!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Ad Austin, age 60 (USA)
Comments from young people
Negative—The film making was pretty good, however the moral aspect was horrible or very offensive throughout. Some examples:

1. An outlaw cuts out a man’s heart and eats it.

2. Throughout the movie evil characters are portrayed as being Christians and are shown praying. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Will, age 14 (USA)

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