Although everyone has abjured the auteur theory, in practice almost everyone only talks about the director. In this case the director forgot to tell Michael Giacchino to do something besides stirring and triumphant. He also forgot to tell the writers to give the villains real motives. But he didn't forget to start the movie. Instead he gave it about four separate starts.
The problem is not Taylor Kitsch, the problem is that the effort to give John Carter baggage so that he can redeem himself was pathetic. The story is not a man who's quite fighting for causes because they're frauds, finds a new cause to fight for (and a new love.) The story is, you get to go to another planet and be their Superman. It's a thin story, and it doesn't help to really care about the shenanigans on screen, particularly since the world on screen is so hard to believe. We've seen pictures of Mars and this isn't it. Also, it's hard to believe flying ships and swordsmen even when you see these together on thesame screen. Seeing isn't always believing.
These antics are about as well crafted as you could hope for. Taylor Kitsch and especially Lynn Collins manage to sell this tripe about as well as human being possibly can. In the end, though, we have a movie which really is what the fake criticisms of Avatar claimed. A weak story, fantastic FX and a somewhat embarrassing Mighty Whitey fantasy. Well, except for Gary Westfahl over at Locus, who is unhappy about the politcal correctness ruining a good story.