The Lone Ranger – A review using the Jungian Archetypes
The Lone Ranger is a western genre movie, narrated by an ancient Native American named Tonto whom tells the story of the Lone Ranger to a small boy lost at a circus exhibition. This story will be analysed with the Jungian archetypes in mind.
Fig 1: Lone Ranger Poster (2013)
In the film John Reid, a lawyer, is confronted with his brother Dan Reid’s reality who is employed as a ranger in a small stereotypical American western town. On a man hunt trip all of the rangers get killed by Butch Cavendish’s band of outlaws but just as Tonto, played by Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean) gives them all a proper burial, the white spirit horse resurrects John Reid back to life. Reid and Tonto team up to attempt to save the Wild West from a conspiracy evolving the Indians plundered silver.
It all starts with the Herald Tonto, who is an exhibition in a circus is 1933 and gets visited by a boy who is interested in the story of the lone ranger. As Tonto starts talking, the Hero John Reid is being introduced into a normal western setting, on a train to visit his brother’s family, his home town. Adventure awaits as the train falls victim to a robbery which reveals Butch Cavendish the Shadow of the story. Butch is already handcuffed and tied up right next to the Tonto who shows himself as the Mentor.
After the whole train being hijacked John and Tonto narrowly escape with their lives Butch escapes and John insists on locking Tonto up in his brother’s prison cell because he must have been handcuffed for a reason. In this setting we meet Dan’s wife, Rebecca who embodies the Maiden as John clearly desires her and cares for her son Danny who, being an actual child, fills the Child role in the Lone Ranger.
Fig 2: Hero with Maiden and Child (2013)
As Dan and John ride out with a party of rangers, they come upon Butch’s band of outlaws and get themselves killed. Tonto finds the bodies and starts to bury them, trading items he desires with the dead. He doesn’t seem surprised when the white spirit horse, who takes the role of the Trickster, shows up, Tonto then tries to persuade it to resurrect Dan instead of John as Dan is a “great warrior” but the horse persists on John which is the beginning of John’s and Tonto’s allegiance. Tonto tells John that Collins, one of the rangers, betrayed them and is a member of Butch’s group, gives John a mask to hide his face behind as he is believed dead. Tonto continues to offer wise council for the rest of the film.
Only having the goal to stop Butch, they visit Red Harrington who functions as the Threshold Guardian as she gives vital information that alters the hero’s paths. According to her Dan and Collins have been fighting over a cursed silver rock which lead to Dan and the rangers getting killed.
In the meantime, Rebecca and Danny are captured by Butch and nearly killed, but Collins reveals himself as a Shapeshifter out of guilt and protects them long enough for them to run away, even though he pays with his own life.
The ending of the film is quite long and requires all the hero’s characters to work together to defeat Butch and turn him in to Cole and Fuller, who up to this point were believed to be trustworthy people but reveal themselves as shady with the potential to be shapeshifters, as Cole (a trusted character in the film) reveals himself as Butch’s brother and can’t let his criminal past reach the light of day. Rebecca and Danny get captured again and the showdown is a long battle on a train where John finally gets to kiss Rebecca and save Danny for good. John is recognised a hero after all is over but prefers to ride away with Tonto to right any injustice he comes upon as the lone ranger.
Fig 3: Mentor with Trickster (2013)
Altogether, the film is a decent western which is good entertainment and fills nearly all the Jungian archetypes without making them seem forced. It has a complex story with funny elements and lots of action with shootings on trains, horses jumping on roofs and a happy ending, and while it is a good film, it’s not one of the best. My personal score would be 7/10 as the second half feels quite long and has action for the sake of it rather than for bringing the story forward.
Figure 1. Disney (2013) Lone Ranger Poster [Poster] available from: https://fabiusmaximus.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/lone-ranger-poster.jpg (accessed on 20/10/15)
Figure 2. Disney (2013) Hero with Maiden and Child [Lone Ranger still] available from: http://frontrowfeatures.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/jun24wilson01_hi.jpg (accessed on 20/10/15)
Figure 3. Disney (2013) Mentor with Trickster [Lone Ranger still] available from: https://filmfork-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/content/Lone%20Ranger.jpg (accessed on 20/10/15)