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Superhero Sunday review: Disney's 'The Lone Ranger'

The Lone Ranger


Disney's The Lone Ranger premiered on cable network STARZ! this weekend with Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the titular character.

Released last summer to celebrate the Masked Man's 80th birthday, it was a critical and commercial flop, but after watching it three times over the weekend on STARZ!, should the movie deserves a second chance ... or does it deserved the Razzie Award for "Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel"?

The movie is told from Tonto's point-of-view, where Harvard-educated John Reid (Hammer) returns home to Texas for the job of prosecutor, but his ideals on law and order are being tested by the harsh realities of the West, where his brother Dan (James Badge Dale) is a Texas Ranger leading the hunt for notorious outlaw Butch Cavendish.

However, Cavendish had a spy in the posse: leading to an ambush at Bryant's Gap, where all of the Rangers are dead ... except one, who was found and nursed back to health by a mysterious Indian named Tonto. Together, these two set out to bring Cavendish to justice, and the Lone Ranger was born ... or, so it seemed.

While it did have some good moments as a mismatched buddy action-comedy, it is nowhere near as good as 1981's underrated Legend of the Lone Ranger, though that film was more like a two-hour television pilot for a potential series that would have continued the adventures of the Masked Man and Tonto.

The problem with Disney's The Lone Ranger is this isn't supposed to be the Western version of Pirates of the Caribbean with Tonto as the Jack Sparrow for the Indians.

Hammer does have the look and the appearance, but this movie should have also been about why the Masked Man is such as a "great warrior" with Tonto as his friend and equal.

Though he wears a mask, looks like an outlaw, and operates like a vigilante, the Lone Ranger is not only a symbol of justice by law in terms of silver, but he also fights on behalf of the red, white and blue known as the United States of America, as his original wardrobe shows.

If not for the Masked Man, there may not have been NBC's Knight Rider (1982-86) with David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a lone crusader who fights above-the-law criminals with the aid of his supercar KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand): proving that one man can a difference. To illustrate, Michael Knight is a modern-day Lone Ranger with KITT as the combination of Tonto and Silver, his trusty steed, partner, and friend.

Disney would have had much success with The Lone Ranger on the small screen like they did with Zorro (1957-59, ABC) with Guy Williams as the masked Spanish Robin Hood for the oppressed people of California against greed, corruption, and tyranny.

Still, Disney kept the core story of The Lone Ranger: the story of two men from two different worlds who are literally bound together for one purpose: to seek justice for all ... like the Fox.

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