Seasoned soldier. Damsel in distress. Tragic war. Martians?
I’m going to state a very unpopular opinion. One that might make me lose all credibility as a blogger and critic. But I don’t care. I guess if I didn’t I wouldn’t be writing this. So I guess we’d best get on with it.
John Carter is a good movie.
I know, I know, it’s pathetic and Andrew Stanton should never make a live-action movie again, blah, blah, blah. Save it. I don’t care who directed the thing, it was good.
Actually, that’s not true. I watched it because Andrew Stanton directed it.
But I would have enjoyed it anyway. Here, let me prove it to you.
Fact Number One: The Martians are really awesome. I mean seriously. Green guys with four arms and legit tusks. That’s pretty cool. No, seriously, I’m not being sarcastic. They were awesome.
Fact Number Two: The movie is funny. Any film that can refer to a guy as Virginia and throw out a line like “Virginia! You are ugly! But, you are beautiful!” deserves a little credit, if only for the screenwriting.
Fact Number Three: The immortals are cheesy and a bit awkward.
Hey, the positivity had to end somewhere.
To simplify the plot, John Carter is a former confederate who doesn’t care about his country, gets zapped to Mars, and is taken captive by Martians. Meanwhile, a beautiful princess is being forced to marry a villain to end a civil war.
Oh yeah, and there’s these immortal dudes that are trying to oversee the downfall of the planet. That’s kind of an important detail.
The plot is pretty simple. Obviously John Carter and the princess fall in love. However, there’s a twist at the end that makes getting to the happily ever after a bit more complicated. During the journey, the main conflict occurs within John Carter (a.k.a. Virginia). He feels no obligation to anyone but himself. He was on the losing side of the civil war, and was still pretty bitter about it. He denied any obligations to his country, and the question for him on Mars is, will he become involved when innocent people are dying, when he has the ability to stop it?
The difference in the gravity field from Earth to Mars enables him to leap incredible distances. It also makes walking extremely challenging. It enables him a physical advantage that most do not have.
In the words of Ben Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” That’s as much of a fact with John Carter as it is with Spider-man. It’s also a change that comes subtly with him. It’s not sudden, dramatic, or even that noticeable. Carter is confident. He’s mouthy. He’s independent. When you do realize the change, however, it’s especially powerful. Because it’s believable.
Is the movie perfect? No. Will it make it on a favorites list? Definitely not. But is it good? Yes.
“Critics should rarely be trusted,” a friend of mine once said. I agree. In this case, I can definitely say that they got this one wrong.