Get Carter

The plot is Disney’s action-adventure fantasy John Carter is a marvel of convolution: A Confederate soldier (Taylor Kitsch, who has moved up from troubled high schooler in Friday Night Lights to masculine but unthreatening action himbo) is magically transported to Mars, where his greater bone density, musculature and differences in gravity allow him to leap tall buildings in a single bound (yeah, that hero, too). He becomes embroiled in a war between red-skinned humanoids but lives among green, four-armed barbarians until a princess (Lynn Collins) and a superbeing (Mark Strong) … blah blah blah. It becomes occasionally tiresome, admittedly.

But John Carter is more about its impressionistic mythology and old-school storytelling energy than actual story. This is fantasy the way our grandfathers would have experienced it — crazy, sometimes campy, full of meaningless action and fighting. If you can see yourself as a kid, wrapping a towel around your neck like a cape and jumping around the backyard swatting at enemies, well then John Carter has done its job.

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DEETS: Rated PG-13. 130 minutes. In wide release.