A Civil War soldier is transported to the planet Mars,
where he becomes involved in the planet's very own war.
John Carter (2012)
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Written by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon
Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton,
Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong,
Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy,
Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Daryl Sabara
Based on the novel A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
John Carter is another live action Disney effort, with hopes of creating the next big franchise. Something the company has tried several times since the massive successor their Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. While this particular film isn't all that bad, it also bears the burden of some of the lesser aspects to the other previously mentioned franchise. Namely, a convoluted plot and a somewhat excessive runtime.
For the most part, this is a good, enjoyable franchise starter. The cast all commit to their roles, regardless of how bland the character can be. Taylor Kitsch does a serviceable job in the lead role as the title character. He's a likable character and shares good chemistry opposite Lynn Collins' character. The film also does a really good job with its world building aspect. John Carter feels like a fully realized world with its many different alien races, planet naming, and character alliances. It's generally impressive him much effort clearly went into making audiences fall completely into this world. What stop this film from being truly great, are the aforementioned runtime and convoluted plot. Like the later Pirates sequels, you really have to pay attention to this film. If not, then it will quickly stop making any lick of sense. Also, the film goes on for a bit too long. Shortly after the conflict is resolved, it proceeds to spend roughly another ten minutes setting up future sequels. Something that is now a major sore spot considering the film didn't do well enough to warrant the planned sequels.
For the most part, John Carter is a generally fun film. It's a fully realized world and the actors fully commit to their characters. At the same token, it's plagued by an excessive runtime due to its sequel setting ending and the plot can be bit too convoluted at times. Still, I enjoyed this film and honestly wish there would have been more.