John Carter isn’t bad at all. And they charged me the same amount they usually do—despite how much Disney spent on the film.
In the realm of the comic book hero film (and yes I am aware this isn’t from a comic) this is actually pretty decent. People loved Thor last year. Of course that was, in part, because everyone expected it to be unwatchable and it is actually O.K. A couple of the reasons Thor is decent are shared by John Carter; they don’t try to over explain silly bits of the plot and the supporting actors are all top notch. When a movie like John Carter bends over backward to explain something like “the ninth ray” it spirals around the bowl. We get it when you just show us a guy with a “ninth ray” shiny glove frying everyone. And if the actors, even in small or voice only parts, are bad it makes the audience notice silliness more. To be sure there are failures with great casts but bad actors can kill even coherent fantasy and sci-fi writing.
Compared to other comic-like films (Captain America...brrr) it moves along fairly well. It is basically coherent, if silly, in plot. We really do not need to know the details of Thune culture or why some Martians have four arms and some look totally human (but with face tattoos..wait…Mike Tyson is a MARTIAN. That explains a great deal).
But there isn’t much more to say on John Carter. It is watchable. It is entertaining. It has attractive people and decent actors in it. It looks good (3D isn’t necessary to enjoy the film go to a cheap 2D showing). Other “fantastical” films like the brutal adaptations of young adult fiction such as The Lightening Thief or The Vampire’s Assistant or comic book hero fiascos like Iron Man 2, Ghost Rider or any of the X-Men related films after the first two, make you want to get more popcorn.
What is it about a movie like John Carter that makes it not connect with audiences when other, similar, films do? Is it really that John Carter cost so much more? Did it just come out too early or too late? It might be hype. Maybe just not enough Tarzan fans are around these days.
Fortunately in catching up with movies this week I also saw a film with a lot of penis jokes. More on that soon.