The Lone Ranger

Disney Enterprises

Hi-yo, critics! The Lone Ranger has roped in some early reviews.

And, from the looks of it, Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer's Wild West shoot-'em-up didn't quite hit the bull's-eye with film reviewers.

Anticipation is running high for the big-budget flick, which opens on July 3, and Disney has been hedging its bets, bankrolling the movie's reported $215 million budget in the hopes of spawning a lucrative franchise.

Based on the consensus thus far, The Lone Ranger may have an uphill trek ahead of it, as it's racked up a not-so-galloping 25 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what critics are saying.

• "The Lone Ranger feels schizophrenic, a state of affairs that would be forgivable if it delivered as a post-modern comedy or as an exciting Western or even as an exhilaratingly brainless piece of summer entertainment," writes The Wrap, which adds that the film "is a drag as an action movie, it's not funny in its attempts at self-parody, and it feels like a Western made by people working off a checklist of tropes without ever really understanding the genre. [Director Gore] Verbinski and his writers have taken a promising idea and put a silver bullet in its head."

• "After proving himself a crack shot on his first pranky Western, the animated Rango, Gore Verbinski appears not to have had enough ammo left over to score as well with The Lone Ranger, a moderately amusing but very uneven revisionist adventure with franchise and theme park intentions written all over it," writes The Hollywood Reporter, which characterizes the film as "a work that wobbles and thrashes all over the place as it attempts to find the right groove."

• "No longer simply the sidekick, Tonto gets top billing in Disney's extravagant but exhausting reboot, whose vaguely revisionist origin story partners a heavily face-painted Johnny Depp with the blandly handsome Armie Hammer," scoffs Variety. "This over-the-top oater delivers all the energy and spectacle audiences have come to expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but sucks out the fun in the process, ensuring sizable returns but denying the novelty value required to support an equivalent franchise."

• "This film is a catastrophe of tone, a truly tortured screenplay that seems embarrassed by its central character, and at two-and-a-half hours, it may be the single most punishing experience I've had in a theater so far this year. There are so many bad decisions on display here that I feel like it's a film worth studying, if only to see clearly how not to bring a beloved character back to the big screen," rails HitFix.

• "Transplanting the Pirates Of The Caribbean aesthetic to the Wild Wild West proves disastrous in The Lone Ranger, an indigestible swill of forced humor and oversized, overbearing action sequences. Reuniting the Pirates franchise's creative team of director Gore Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and star Johnny Depp, this origin story of the iconic American cowboy character has plenty of combustion, but it's almost entirely devoid of charm or genuine excitement," writes Screen Daily.

• "It's just too bad all that franchise building gets in the way of telling a good yarn," offers The Playlist, noting that the film's narrative is "dreadfully dull" and that the film "often sags when it should gallop."

(Originally published on July 1, 2013 at 6:35 a.m. PT)

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