- Audience-Alienating Premise: Some people who didn't want to watch the movie said they couldn't buy into the premise of a former Confederate soldier who goes to Mars and dresses like Conan. Furthermore, the source material has been copied so much that the official adaptation succumbed to "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny.
- Awesome Music: The end credit suite.
- Cliché Storm: A common criticism, despite the book being the originator for many sci-fi tropes. See also Troperrific on the film page.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Woola and Kantos Kan.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: It had the biggest opening day ever and the fourth biggest opening weekend ever in Russia while the American opening was mild. The Russian first-week gross amounted to $16.6 mln, or 56% of the U.S. gross; given the huge difference in cinema attendance figures and infrastructure between the two countries, it really is a spectacular achievement.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Another Sci-Fi film produced by Disney, Tomorrowland, also bombed at the box office, leading to the studios giving up on producing Sci-Fi films outside of Lucasfilm and Marvel Comics, and cancelling the highly anticipated sequel to TRON: Legacy. A lot of John Carter fans have taken pity on the Tron fans for this reason. Then Solo failed as well, dooming Lucasfilm to also be Screwed by the Network in favor of the highly-controversial Disney Live-Action Remakes. Pray for Marvel.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- As noted on the trivia page, Director Andrew Stanton insisted on using "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin in the trailers, but Disney refused, believing that a 30 year old rock song wouldn't appeal to the younger male audience the film was intended for. 5 years later, Thor: Ragnarok would heavily feature "The Immigrant Song", an older song by the same band, and not only was a critical success, but it also wound up making over 3 times what John Carter made, and 3 years before Ragnarok, there was Guardians of the Galaxy, which was filled with various other songs that were either as old as or a few years shy of "Kashmir", and it also made roughly around 3 times what John Carter made.
- The Tharks are designed here with faces that bear a passing resemblance to the Bewilderbeast of How to Train Your Dragon 2, especially Tal Hajus who is missing his left tusk just like Drago's Bewilderbeast after the climax.
- Narm: One of the Martian cities is called Helium. Try not to think of Helium Speech every time it is mentioned.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- The cries of the just-hatched baby Tharks are... unsettling, to say the least...
- In the climax, one of the Thern's turns Sab Than to that blue weblike stuff. And then his head caves in. And then he almost does it to John.
- And the White Apes. Picture a giant albino King Kong with six limbs, no eyes and a wide tusked mouth like a hippo, and a vicious temper to boot.
- Older Than They Think: The source material of this film inspired hits such as Star Wars and Avatar. Or inspired the works which inspired them. Yes, the "John Carter"-novels have been around for that long. In fact, Superman was basically a Captain Ersatz of John Carter himself, when he first debuted (just coming from an alien planet to Earth instead of the other way around).
- One-Scene Wonder: Kantos Kan (played by James Purefoy) doesn't have much to do besides act as Number Two to his king, but he gets the spotlight when he helps John escape one of the several times he's taken prisoner or detained.
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Source of many claims the film is a ripoff of more recent fiction such as Avatar and The Last Samurai. The book series its based on was first published in 1912 and in fact inspired many of the works John Carter was accused of ripping off; the trouble is that by the time the film adaptation came out in 2012 (a century later), almost everything about it had already been done in dozens of other works ingrained in pop culture.
- Signature Scene: The scene where Carter fights off an entire army of Warhoons intercut with his flashbacks to the death of his family. Even people who hated the movie frequently admit that it was an awesome scene, not to mention being extremely powerful.
- So Okay, It's Average: As much as it was panned, no one can say it's the worst film ever.
- Tainted by the Preview: Another reason cited for the movie's failure was a combination of bad marketing decisions — Disney didn't want to include the word "Mars" in the title because of the bad blood generated by Mars Needs Moms, and Andrew Stanton refused to let them use "From the creator of Tarzan and the director of WALL-E" as a blurb. Because Stanton didn't shoot scenes that would look good in the trailer or need extensive effects work first, the original teaser trailer was a mishmash of shots that didn't adequately convey what the final movie would look like.
- Ugly Cute: Woola.◊ Also, the baby Tharks.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: From the aliens, to the backdrops of Mars, the film packs an amazing visual flair. Appropriate due to the fact that the director is from Pixar.
YMMV / John Carter