General consensus on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise starring Johnny Depp seems to be that the first film was a lot of fun featuring a great performance by Depp, but the sequels failed to live up to expectations. They were deemed long, unnecessary, and bloated. Director Gore Verbinski who directed the beloved first installment and the second and third chapter, has re-teamed with Depp, Disney, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer on a new property- a big screen version of the Lone Ranger. Unfortunately, this film is more in line with the Pirates sequels. I personally don't hold the first Pirates film in that high of a regard as others might, but there is no denying the charisma and panache that Depp unleashed as pirate Jack Sparrow. For the sequels, I wanted to see more of Jack and although I got my wish, the filmmakers piled on such unnecessary side-plots and convoluted events and dialogue that have led me to wish the franchise would stop making money so it could just go away quietly (both thanks to the two sequels directed by Verbinski and the fourth film that was directed by Rob Marshall, a fifth film is forthcoming).
If the saving grace of any of the Pirates film could be Johnny Depp's acting, then I was hoping at least performance would carry The Lone Ranger should the plot be what I mentioned above (long, bloated etc.). Unfortunately, perhaps without a previous film as a starting point or blueprint, the cast of Ranger feels weighed down and constrained in their performances because of the hefty amount of plotting. The actors seem to occupy their space and not do anything with it, which is a shame because the idea to have the marquee name of Depp in a supporting role and instead have Armie Hammer in the lead role is pretty ingenius. I recognize Hammer from The Social Network and J. Edgar, but larger audiences might not be all that familiar with him so it lends the authenticity of a "new face" that I've mentioned here before (most recently in reference to Man of Steel). Plus, Tonto is probably the most fun of the two to play. Depp's Tonto is more of a strict and controlled Jack Sparrow, but undeniably the type of free-willing character that Depp is known to play.
It's also not that Depp and Hammer have a lack of chemistry, but due to a dense conspiracy plot, I feel like the audience isn't allowed to appreciate the relationships between the various characters. Despite all of the overkill, Verbinski certainly demonstrates that he can once again direct large-scale sequences. The final sequence aboard the trains is remarkable and feels as fun as any of the scenes from Curse of the Black Pearl or Rango. Should Steven Spielberg ever give up the reigns to Indiana Jones, I would think Verbinski would be the perfect choice to replace him, assuming he could get a manageable script.