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John Carter Review Critics


Dave White Profile

The first great summer movie of March. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Mars: The confusing planet. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 25

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Nothing in John Carter really works, since everything in the movie has been done so many times before, and so much better.

    Read Full Review

  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    This new Disney film, marked by myriad lapses and marketing follies, bears the woefully familiar earmarks of a big studio production that was pulled and hauled every which way until it lost all shape and flavor.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Though the project, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel "A Princess of Mars," is ambitious, it's also bloated, dreary and humorless.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Director Andrew Stanton's Disney extravaganza is a rather charming pastiche.

    Read Full Review

  • See all John Carter reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Mars-based action epic has strong fantasy violence.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that John Carter is a swashbuckling inter-planetary adventure based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' first book in the John Carter series, A Princess of Mars. There's an underlying romance to most of the story, but it's the movie's violence that might alarm parents of younger tweens. It's prevalent throughout the film and gets gory in a couple of scenes -- like when John (played by Taylor Kitsch) bursts through the body of a giant Martian monster he's just killed or decapitates a tyrannous warlord. Despite John Carter's war-like violence, none of the "good guys" die (although they're shot at, injured, and even tortured). Plus, there are a couple of strong female characters, and an overriding message that there's a particular honor to being selfless, even if it puts your own life in danger.

  • Families can talk about the hero's journey -- how does John Carter grow to accept that his destiny is on Mars? What makes him eventually feel at home in Barsoom? What other swashbuckling heroes is he like?
  • Some say that John Carter relies too heavily on elements from other movie franchises. What portions of the story remind you of other sci-fi tales? What parts make it unique? And is it fair to make those claims when the stories that inspired John Carter predate the movies?
  • Does the movie make you interested in checking out the books it's based on? Do you think the ending sets up the movie for a sequel?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The battle to save Barsoom rests on an unlikely alliance between Earth man John Carter, Martian princess Dejah Thoris, and a band of nomadic green "barbarians" called the Tharks. Through their eventual teamwork to fight a common enemy, they successfully stop the nefarious Therns from destroying Mars. By the end of the movie, characters who act selflessly are rewarded with honor and respect they deserve.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: John Carter learns to stop being selfish and do something to help others. Dejah Thoris is a powerful female character who knows how to defend herself and to inspire John Carter to see beyond his own survival. Sola (another stand-out female character) and Tars Tarkas realize the possibility of leading the Tharks into an alliance with the people of Helium.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Heavy sci-fi violence includes some frightening battle scenes, a weapon that turns anything or one in its path to dust, and a shape-changing villain who plans to destroy an entire planet. There's a Gladiator-style battle to the death in an arena where huge ape-like monsters are killed and another character is decapitated. Sola is branded and tortured and eventually sentenced to death by her own people. Tars Tarkas is injured and expected to die in the arena. John Carter is nearly killed several times. A horrifying flashback shows how John Carter's wife and child died in a fire in their home; he finds their charred remains. An early gun battle injures a U.S. officer. A long-dead character's skeleton is shown. A group of unhatched eggs is mercilessly crushed. All sorts of weapons -- from guns to spears, knives, and swords -- are used in battle.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Lots of longing looks, gazes, and touches between John Carter and Dejah Thoris, which eventually lead to a couple of kisses and the aftermath of a love scene (she's in bed with the sheet covering her all the way, and he's standing outside on a balcony). Other scenes show her in skimpy apparel.

  • language false2

    Language: Language includes "hell," "damn," "goddamn," and "stupid."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Before he's transported to Mars, John Carter is shown drinking and enters a saloon where everyone has a drink in hand.