So says Joe, Dave, and many critics. Here’s a good example from icv2.com:
Andrew Stanton’s John Carter (Disney, “PG-13”) has unfortunately become synonymous with “box office failure.” The movie cost over $250 million and Disney took a $200 million write-off on the film. Critics unfamiliar with the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs failed to understand what an excellent adaptation this film is, how it captures the joy of classic science fiction adventure. Daniel Mindel’s photography is superb throughout and Disney’s $250 million is very much apparent on the screen. Of course viewers have to suspend disbelief with this sort of Edwardian science fiction and its hefty fantasy component, but John Carter is a ripping good yarn that moves gracefully through its 132 minutes—and the use of desert settings modified to look like “Mars,” gives the film a physical immediacy that total green screen epics can only dream about. Stanton and writers Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon (The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) may have included too much of Burroughs Barsoom epic for some critics, but this viewer would have liked even more about the Martian cities and cultures.
Taylor Kitsch starred in both John Carter and Battleship (another major money loser), but he acquits himself well in the title role of Stanton’s film and certainly doesn’t deserve the “box office poison” moniker. It would be like blaming Mark Strong, who plays the movie’s chief villain Matai Shang, for both John Carter and last year’s bomb Green Lantern, except for the fact that Strong was very good in both movies. Don’t pay attention to the jokes on Letterman and Leno, viewers that enjoy well-told old-fashioned adventure movies will find much to like in the well-photographed and well-mounted John Carter.