I went into this movie with low to medium expectations. The trailers looked good to me yet the overwhelming negative reviews did concern me. I did end up really enjoying this movie although I do have mixed feelings about some of it. I had been a big fan of the Lone Ranger TV show starring Clayton More and Jay Silverheels as the Lone Ranger and Tonto respectively. If people had expectations that this new film would mirror the iconic TV show then they are in for a disappointment. The times certainly have changed since the 40s-50s and the clean cut wholesome Lone Ranger of that era would not work on the big screen today.
On with my review as I list the pros and the cons:
1. Tone of the film. This one positive aspect of the film is actually a mixed point for me. Today the trend in Superhero type movies, and many other movies, is gritty realism. There are times when gritty realism works and times when it does not. I am also a fan of the more lighthearted approach to these types of movies. The Lone Ranger does take the lighthearted approach for the most part, yet there are moments that are very serious making the overall tone of the film a bit uneven.
2. Johnny Depp. This is his movie. I really think the movie should have been called Tonto and the Lone Ranger. Some people have complained about this point but for me Depp’s performance really make the picture very enjoyable and worth watching. Honestly, had I not know Johnny Depp was playing Tonto (I was very surprised he was cast in the role) I would never have recognized him in the part.
3. Armie Hammer. I have read that many did not like the fact that he was a bit of a complaining, whinny and wishy-washy and a reluctant Lone Ranger…at first. This is an origin story so his character is not clearly established. We watch John Reid grow into the iconic role of the masked man and by the end of the movie he is the Lone Ranger.
4. The Plot/the story. The movie does have an interesting story. We learn much of Tonto’s back story which does explain his motives and behavior. The same for the Lone Ranger who has to overcome some of his stiffness and sibling rivalry to really become the Lone Ranger. John Reid as a new lawyer fresh out of law school has lived his life in the shadows of his Texas Ranger warrior brother, Dan Reid. When his brother is killed by the Cavendish clan John has to find the strength and courage within himself to bring Cavendish to justice. Within that part of the story is the plot of greedy silver barrens who are using the new railway system to take control of the territory.
5. The villains. There are two main villains in this movie. Tom Wilkinson as Latham Cole, a burly and unscrupulous railroad tycoon and William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish, a ruthless and cannibalistic outlaw, who Tonto believes is a wendigo. Fichtner is really great in this role and like Depp, is well disguised almost unrecognizable in the role. I always love to see Tom Wilkinson play a bad guy, he does so well in these types of parts.
6. Scenery and Cinematography. The film is pure eye candy. It was filmed in six western states: Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and California. These locations all provide for terrific views of magnificent vistas that captures the iconic old west.
1. Tone of the film. Yes, it is both a positive and a negative. While I do like the more lighthearted touch there are moments when the movie goes into extremes on both ends of the spectrum. There are some moments where the comedy is not subtle but over the top and hits you on the head. Then there are moments that are almost too dark and serious for the film.
2. Length of the film. At two and a half hours the movie is a bit too long and could have used more editing.
In my opinion the Lone Ranger is an overall fun lighthearted movie that is enjoyable despite its flaws. Some of the positive things I have listed are the negatives things others have listed and this reminds me of the subjective nature of analyzing movies. The best part of the movie is the last 20 minutes which contain the best of the action and adventure.
It is a nice warm and sunny Friday morning as I write this. Late last night it was announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman for the upcoming sequel to the Man of Steel movie. My first reaction was one of disbelief and shock. He wasn’t even on the radar. He wasn’t even mentioned as being in the running for the role. I also honestly thought that they would select a relative unknown and not a big name such as Ben Affleck. I think that is why I am so shocked. But the more I think about it the more I do like the idea. I think he can really pull it off. Today as I write this I am watching the majority of my fellow nerdlings have a meltdown as the interweb explodes with the fallout from this news.
I actually like the guy and his work. Like most of us, I was introduced to Ben Affleck when I saw the movie, Good Will Hunting. An excellent film. He and his friend, Matt Damon, crafted a great story and both acted superbly in that movie. Sadly, Affleck’s acting career had some misses as well as hits while Damon’s acting career really took off. I am also a fan of Kevin Smith’s movies and Ben has acted in several of them, my favorite is when he teamed up with Damon once again for the movie Dogma. Ben also had a highly publicized romance with Jennifer Lopez. Ben also was the star of Marvel’s superhero movie, Daredevil, which was not well received. All of this creates too much baggage in the minds of many fans of superhero movies.
But that is not the whole story. He starred in and directed in last years Academy Award winning film Argo. He also starred and directed the critically acclaimed film The Town. He played George Reeves in the well acclaimed film Hollywoodland. Ben Affleck does have awide range as an actor. He can do comedy as well as serious drama. Not every actor can do that.
I do understand that the last Batman, played by Christian Bale, is the most popular actor to don the Batcowl. So Ben does have some awfully big shoes to fill and hopefully he will not be in Bale’s shadow during his portrayal of the character.
Another point I want to make as my fellow nerds are all upset this morning is that back in the late 80s there was a similar outcry when Tim Burton cast Michael Keaton as Batman. Even I thought that was pretty certain back then that Keaton was wrong for the part he proved all of the nay sayers wrong and did two great performances as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The other thing I find fascinating about the nerd meltdown is that they have a problem with long-term memory. When Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker for the movie, The Dark Night, many fans were all up-in-arms and outraged about that! Today he is, and for a long time will be, the standard by which any portrayal of the Joker will be measured.
I am “borrowing” some points by a blogger Robert Galvan and they are all points that I completely agree with.
Let us go back through the history of movie casting:
- When Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Iron Man, people thought he would be TERRIBLE because of his past. This actually helped his character and made him the face of Iron Man.
- When Christian Bale was cast, people still thought of him as a small actor who would be terrible.
- Heath Ledger was BASHED up and down the street because of his pretty face when he signed on to play the Joker. Now most people now consider him the greatest Joker ever portrayed.
- Daniel Craig as James Bond… people did go crazy about it which most of you should remember, since it was just a few years ago.
- Chris Evans was the Human Torch and was thought of as a terrible actor. Uhh, have you seen London? And now he IS Captain America.
- Chris Hemsworth looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch model and he was in Star Trek, but now he IS Thor.
- Hugh Jackman was a broadway star. How in the hell is he going to be the ferocious Wolverine? Go remove your foot from your mouth now.
As I said, Ben Affleck was not even on the radar as being in the running to play Batman. Many sites on the internet listed whom they believed would be a worthy successor to Christian Bale to play Batman. The favorites were: Matt Bomer (my personal choice), Richard Armitage, Josh Brolin, Armie Hammer, Ryan Gosling and others. I think Affleck as a better choice than Brolin. I just don’t think he has the looks. I now am wondering if these were true rumors, that the studio was looking at these actors, or were they just the dreams of fan boys?
I am more than willing to give Ben Affleck a chance in the role and I think he will do just fine. There are more important things to consider such as the script and the tone of the film. I am more concerned about the script than who they cast as Batman. Look at Clooney in Batman and Robin. While I may enjoy the movie as an homage to the campy 60s show, Clooney did not do a bad job acting as either Wayne or Batman. The problem was people did not want a campy Batman movie, or at least the level of camp that was in that movie. So if Clooney had been Batman in a less campy movie I think people would not be putting the blame for that movie on his shoulders. If they set the tone of this movie like they did with Iron Man then I think Afflack will do just fine.
I am sure the tone of the film will be similar or exactly like the one established in Man of Steel. If that is the case then I really have no worries about Ben Affleck being able to play Bruce Wayne and Batman. I just hope they have a good story to tell and that the script is well written.
Since I won’t see the Lone Ranger until it comes out on DVD and the movie is just about to hit theaters I wanted to give a brief review of my expectations based on the trailers and the reviews I have read.
I grew up watching The lone Ranger TV series with Clayton More as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. To me they will always be these characters and they are iconic. That doesn’t mean that I am not open to other portrayals of the character. I am very open to this movie.
I have loved the trailers for this movie. It looks like a fun western with great visuals and special effects. At first I questioned the selection of Johnny Depp as Tonto! I don’t believe he is Native American so why not cast a Native American in the role? Those were my thoughts. However, after seeing him dressed as an authentic Native American and viewing the trailers, I am sold with Johnny Depp playing Tonto.
I like Johnny Depp but he is hit or miss for me. Loved him in Donnie Brasco, hated him in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. While I am not a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies I do like his portrayal of the pirate Jack Sparrow. From the reviews I am reading it seems we have a similar situation where Depp is really playing Jack Sparrow once again but this time dressed as Tonto.
As I type this blog post the reviews are pretty awful. On Rotten Tomatoes.com it has an abysmal 16% rating with only 6 fresh ratings and 26 rotten ratings. Now in context all of these negative ratings are mixed and very few say the film is down right terrible. But some of the complaints are that it is too long, Johnny Depp is too much of a focus, that Armie Hammer, who looks great in the part, plays an unwilling, too square and weak Lone Ranger. Some reviews complain that the tone of the film and the plot are both a mess. They say that there are some lulls in the story where it drags. There are times when it is serious and times when they say it borderline on parody.
I still want to see this movie. I don’t mind if it is a mindless action popcorn movie and the mixed tone doesn’t concern me at all either. I am a little concerned that Johnny Depp as Tonto is more of a focus than the Lone Ranger. It does seem more like Depp/Tonto movie. What concerns me the most is that it seems that the character of the Lone Ranger himself is not done well or done right. From the reports is that he is at first a wimpy reluctant hero. Now since this is an origin movie I can excuse that if it done as character development and we see the Lone Ranger evolve into the self-confident hero.
All of this has lowered my enthusiasm just a bit. So I will watch this movie on DVD with slightly lowered expectations. My bigger concern is for the Lone Ranger franchise itself. The last big screen Lone Ranger movie was in 1981 and that too was a critical and financial flop! If this fails I fear it will be another 30+ years…or if ever…we see the Lone Ranger on the big screen again.
With Warner Bros actively working on a Justice League movie the internet is a buzz with so many rumors about the future of Batman on the silver screen. Often it is difficult to keep track of these rumors! So in today’s post I will see if I can keep track of the rumors.
1. One rumor I have heard is that WB is writing the script around the return of Christian Bale as the Dark Knight. I have repeatedly read where Bale said he is done with the Character and not open to playing him again unless Christopher Nolan is involved. Christopher Nolan is involved with the JL movie but Nolan has stated that his Batman trilogy was a stand alone franchise where other Superheroes do not exist.
2. Another rumor is that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was hinted at becoming the new Batman at the end of the Dark Knight Rises, will have a cameo at the end of the new Man of Steel l movie as Batman. I think this is just wishful thinking on the part of fans. Marvel followed this tactic in their individual movies leading up to last years’ Avenger’s film. I really have not heard anything official from WB that they are going the same route that the Marvel Studios have done.
3. Another rumor is that Batman will be a complete reboot with another actor in the role and it will be completely unrelated to the Nolan trilogy. Plus this new Batman movie will not come out until after 2015 and the release of the Justice League movie. It seems that the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, will be the first and only movie leading up to the Justice League movie and it will set the tone for all the subsequent superhero movies. Henry Cavill is slated to reprise his role as Superman in the Justice League movie.
I think this third rumor is the most plausible and likely scenario. Those who follow my blog know I have a bit of love/hate thing going on with the Nolan Batman trilogy. While I like Batman Begins the tone of this trilogy is a bit too serious (Why so serious?) and takes some of the fun out of the movies. I think the Marvel movies have struck the right tone for Superhero movies. Man of Steel, even though it is produced by Nolan, seems to follow the tone that Marvel has set. While grounded in realism it also seems more of a fun action adventure movie.
I wouldn’t mind Christian Bale returning as Batman/Bruce Wayne but I really do not feel it is essential. There are other actors who could pull off this iconic dual role. Armie Hammer is playing the Lone Ranger this summer and I could also easily see him playing the part of Batman/Wayne. I am also open to another unknown playing the role. If a new series of Batman movies does come out after the Justice League movie it will have big shoes to fill. I think it can be done and I would like to see some Batman movies more in line with the tone of the Marvel universe.
There were just a few movies I overlooked in this series so allow me to post them today.
White House Down (June 28, 2013)
This is the year of two movies about the White House being taken over by terrorists. Olympus Has Fallen is in theaters now while White House Down is coming in June. This movie stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins & James Woods.
Despicable Me 2 (July 3, 2013)
I really liked the original and I hope this one will be just as good. No plot synopsis as of yet. This movie stars Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Al Pacino, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong
Hammer of the Gods (July 5, 2013)
This movie takes place in Scandinavia in the year 871. A young Viking warrior, faces hostile conditions and tribes to bring back his estranged brother to the kingdom he will one day rule. The movie stars Charlie Bewley, Elliot Cowan, Clive Standen, Guy Flanagan, Michael Jibson
The Lone Ranger (July 3, 2013)
The Lone Ranger has not done well on the big screen. In 1980 or was it 81 the last time he was on the big screen and it failed miserably. Johnny Depp stars as Tonto (can he pull it off?) with Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger. From the looks of the trailer the tone of the film looks like the movie will be an action adventure with somje fun mixed in. My type of movie! These stars round out the cast. Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter.
The Wolverine (July 26, 2013)
The X-Men’s favorite superhero is back with another solo film. His first solo film, 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, did pretty good at the box office but reviews are mixed. It was an alright film but not the ones fans really wanted. Here is hoping that this one will be it! It stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Brian Tee
300: Rise of an Empire (August 2, 2013)
This is the sequel to 300. With Zack Snyder, who directed 300, now directing Man of Steel, Noam Murro is sitting in the directors chair. Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel “Xerxes” Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. The movie stars Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro, David Wenham, Igal Naor, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan
Kick-Ass 2 (August 16, 2013)
Kick-Ass & Hit-Girl are back to fight crime. Jim Carrey also joins in on the fun. This movie looks like a raunchy fun action and adventure! Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chlo Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Morris Chestnut, John Leguizamo, Donald Faison, Jim Carrey
The World’s End (August 23, 2013)
This movie stars the wonderful comedy team of Simon Pegg, & Nick Frost (Paul, Sean of the Dead) and it is about drinking parties and the end of the world…what more could you ask for? As they re-stage an old drinking marathon and decide what they need to do for their future, they must also face the world as it comes to an end. The movie also stars Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike
There you have it….I knew there were more movies coming out that I wanted to see. Keep posted to this blog for further reviews!!