The Thing I Like About …

The Lone Ranger: the part with the William Tell Overture.

In the recent movie The Lone Ranger, we see an origin story, tweaked to reflect modern sensibilities about the Ranger, Tonto, the Old West, and good and evil. It’s different from the TV show – of course – but at its heart, it offers the same message: evil rail barons will double-cross innocent, helpless damsels out of their money in order to promote their own selfish interests.

But these aren’t the after-school-cartoons type of evil rail barons, who twirl mustaches and clap their hands together in maniacal glee. These are some really unpleasant-looking bad guys, with scars and anger, who are willing to hurt children and kill people (lots of people) (lots and lots of native people) (and their children). These are the kind of evil rail barons who … well, who actually seem to run the real world half the time, and upon whose darker deeds modern people have built their civilizations with a vague sense of having touched something slimy in exchange for candy. These are the kind of bad guys who seem like actual bad guys, who act in secret and do a lot of damage, and who are apparently unstoppable.

And the new Ranger seems a little bit behind the eight-ball. In fact, he’s dependent on help from a man (Tonto) whose elevator doesn’t quite reach the top. Basically, the new Ranger isn’t the most … Ranger-y … Lone Ranger in the world.

But then the music starts.

Instantly, we’re transported to that feeling we had as kids, watching the Lone Ranger fight bad guys and win, week after week, time after time. Instantly we go back to that time when we knew good conquered evil, no matter what. We knew it. We heard that music and we knew – the bad guys were going down.

We watch this new Ranger fighting some of the worst bad guys out there; we watch him getting his butt handed to him a few times. We watch bridges collapse, and plans fall through, and innocent people suffer. We watch real evil at work. But when the music starts, we laugh in relief, and we enjoy the rest of the movie with a child’s confident heart.

The bad guys are going down. The good guys are gonna win.

They always do.

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