The U.S. press panned it. Not because Johnny Depp plays Tonto. They don't really like that Tonto is the leading man, it confuses them. This Tonto is no Uncle Tom. But in the mainstream press they express their dislike in two ways. First it is too long. Really? I didn't notice. The other criticism is that it is too violent. Are you kidding? This is a Hollywood film and by those standards that criticism holds no weight.
But maybe the left wing press/web sites can take another view. Take Jacobin for instance. No such luck as Eileen Jones writes a review titled, "The Fantastic Failure Of "The Lone Ranger". But at least she does take notice of the major theme. When we meet John Reid (Lone Ranger) he is wearing a suit and sitting in a train car where everyone is reading their bible. John however is clutching John Locke's "Second Treatise Of Government". Jones notes that the "Second Treatise..." says that man [sic] leaves the state of nature and enters into a social contract to better protect his property and material possessions - property rights. Marxist scholars say that Locke was laying the groundwork for bourgeois capitalism. That all relations are transactional relations. Later on in the film the main villain, the railroad baron quotes Locke chapter and verse. So I may have your interest, no such luck with the Jacobin writer. Her criticisms outweigh everything. She doesn't like the rhythm and the humor is "awkward". She says that for her it took a lot of "mental work" for her to make the pieces fit. Oh dear. She is definitely not someone I would want as a movie date. I found it funny with a lot of under your breath, "Oh, Yeahhh" moments.
Of course Business Week and Forbes hated it but that was because it did not make enough money. They probably didn't even see it but just looked at their balance sheets. Just as well they might have seen themselves in the movie.
But the blogger at wineandsavage.blogspot.com did like it "The Lone Ranger Is Awesome". He compares it to other films directed by Gore Verbinski, primarily Johnny Depp in "The Pirates Of The Caribbean". He says it demands the audience attention and is dense with metaphor and symbolism. He also liked the subtext of the relationship between capitalism and the military-industrial complex. "The Lone Ranger could practically be titled, 'Occupy The Old West'." And in another shout out to Eileen Jones, "Everything fits together like clockwork if you just pay attention to the movie".
Well, I paid attention to evil railroad barons, breaking of "Indian Treaties" stealing silver, oppressing Chinese workers and camp humor. Well spent 150 minutes.