In one fell swoop, The Lone Ranger producer Jerry Bruckheimer and costars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer have boosted the reputation of film critics everywhere by giving them credit for having a lot more power than most people think. Variety‘s Stuart Oldham is reporting that the trio is blaming critics for the failure of The Lone Ranger by trashing it early on and coming down on their $250 million western with hammers and claws.

“I think the reviews were written seven to eight months before we released the film,” Depp said in an interview. “I think they were reviewing the budget, not reviewing the movie, ” Bruckheimer told Yahoo U.K.-Ireland. And Hammer claimed that American critics “[had] been gunning for our movie since it was shut down the first time. That’s when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews [and] decided to slit the jugular of our movie.”

After years of box-office handicappers and every industry gadfly under the sun declaring that audiences don’t give a hoot what critics say and that they only pay attention to marketing and social media, the Lone Ranger boys have totally turned this legend around. Critics from coast to coast should get together tonight and pop the champagne…seriously. Critics are back with a vengeance! Suddenly they’re fearsome gunslingers who can put a bullet between the eyes of a mega-blockbuster when they’ve a mind to. They’re Jack Palance in Shane!

If I could afford it or arrange it, I would send a thousand bouquets to Bruckheimer’s office. I mean it.