Wow, no comments yet? That's disappointing, and the box-office thread doesn't give me much positivity either.
I should note that this is actually the first film I've seen in IMAX (my city only just got it in October), so naturally the use of a bigger screen helped. But man, those IMAX 3D glasses are tight! Wearing them for near 2 1/2 hours wears you out. I'm not quite sure if the sound system was up to speed, or perhaps it was just the film, because when the actors were giving the names of settings and plot devices, they were said fast and garbled.
You see, the plot is what I had trouble with. I could understand how Carter gets to Mars and the Tharks' (best characters) story, but the plots about the weaponry and whatever Mark Strong (wasted) was up to, we're not given time for those to sink in. I acknowledge that Burroughs' material was written over a century ago and remains inspirational, but it hasn't aged exactly well. Also, there's a revelation of Carter's backstory during a massacre (a good scene) that is meant to give reason to his angst, but given that there's no real buildup to it, his tragedy falls flat.
I can't recall any examples of poor acting, but there's no standout acting either when most of the time characters are discussing thingamajigs. But on to the positives: Willem Dafoe works well as the Thark leader, the Tharks themselves and the other creatures are cool, Giacchino's score is well done, the action's great, so's the 3D and the ending has a good surprise to set up sequels.
In short, it's not great or fresh, but it made me satisfied enough for paying the $17 and wish for a sequel. I think of it as the next 'Rocketeer': a failed attempt by Disney to launch a new sci-fi franchise, resulting in a rather flawed film, but entertaining enough to earn a sequel that'll never happen. Poor ol' Andrew Stanton, it's not his fault, but just bad timing (and marketing) altogether.
Also, I really hope this thread doesn't die after all I've typed.