Must-read John Carter analysis: “I Dream of Mars” by Bassim El-Wakil

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Note from Dotar: READ THIS!  Very insightful and written with heart and flair.



Here there be spoilers for JOHN CARTER and A PRINCESS OF MARS.

I saw JOHN CARTER in its opening week with two friends, which, I’m sad to say, was apparently an uncommon occurrence. Many didn’t see JOHN CARTER, and yet, I and my friends found it to be an utter delight. It was exciting, funny — “I hear you’re INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS” — and most of all, wondrous. The world of Barsoom was so palpable to me it haunts me more than two weeks later. Everything in that world felt so lived in and old. I’ve been unable to get the film out of my head. People harp on about it costing two-hundred and fifty million dollars, but by God you see every penny on screen. The last time I was so drawn into a fantasy world was Middle-Earth in the Weta LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

It’s a joy.

But then, I’m not surprised: it’s Andrew Stanton. Like Brad Bird, he’s Pixar alumni and so he knows how to make a film.

And yet, JOHN CARTER is slammed in the press and reviews are lukewarm, while at the same time, far, far worse films make ten times as much money.

So why didn’t it do well for critics and the box office?

First of all, I have little respect for narrative criticism. The major contention I have is that most of it is a vapid clutching of straws in an attempt to be temporally relevant. There is no patience for consideration. The truest test of the quality of a work is time. No other factor can so accurately gauge quality. BACK TO THE FUTURE is a classic because almost 30 years later, it is still magnificent to watch for old and new audiences alike. On the other hand, COMMANDO, TEEN WOLF, and WEIRD SCIENCE, all beloved films made in the same year, I feel one would be pressed to say that have stood the test of time. Even today, I find that THE INCREDIBLES and STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN improve with each viewing while INCEPTION and STAR TREK (11) weaken considerably. Most criticism today is immediate, focusing on the environment surrounding the film rather than the film itself, because it has rarely been seen more than once, let alone studied. And how can they study it? Do they even understand basic story structure? They lack the very tools necessary to identify its mechanisms, let alone that those mechanisms are faulty.

This is particularly problematic for JOHN CARTER as I feel that it is a risky, demanding film that pushes its form in order to pull of a great ending. I believe a second viewing may actually enhance the film as it will make more emotional sense as a whole, but it could just as easily make it even more demanding and gruelling. Unfortunately, I have only seen JOHN CARTER once. However, I spend my days writing and breaking films down into their component scenes, and have been doing so for ten years. So I’m somewhat adept at doing so retrospectively on one viewing. And I spent two weeks actually reflecting on the film, reading reviews, articles, interviews, and even A PRINCESS OF MARS in order to form an opinion.

And I am more in love with it than before.

So why didn’t it do well?

I believe there are four reasons why.

Read the rest on Bassim’s site.


  • Paddy that’s an interesting comment and no …. I haven’t heard it and I’ve heard just about everything. What makes your comment all the more interesting is that in the book, Burroughs plants the seed that it might be a dream, at the beginning when John Carter is transported to Mars. In Burroughs’ version, JC thinks he might have died and this might be the afterlife, or AN afterlife. And the idea that it could be a dream floats along with that.

  • I recently saw this film never having read the book. I was not expecting a great deal as the trailers I saw looked pretty poor. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of characters and pleased to see Caesar and Marc Antony from HBOs Rome make an appearance. What delighted me most was the underlying suggestion that John Carter was an insane war veteran and the experience of traveling to Mars could very well have been a delusion on his part. Did anyone else come to this conclusion? Consider the character of John Carter, a civil war vet, widower and mad gold prospector that the rest of the town think insane. Not to mention his relentless pursuit of a way to return to mars. This kind of fanatical devotion is generally only displayed by those with an obsessive disorder. For me this validated the physical impossibility of the experience he had on Mars which we all know is a planet incapable of sustaining complex life.

  • What an amazing and in-depth article that truly states whats on the minds and hearts of all fans of John Carter, and all who could of been.

  • HRH the Rider:

    Methinks you need to watch “Planet of the Apes” again. Taylor volunteered for the expedition because he felt “somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than man. Has to be.” Well, there isn’t. The arc of the movie is Taylor rediscovering his faith in humanity — and then having that faith utterly smashed. He only wanted to go home — or rejoin humanity — at the film’s conclusion, at which point he discovered he was too late.

    Damned dirty apes!

    That’s a fair point. But I think that it sort of reinforces the point that Planet of the Apes is really part of a different tradition – the “sci-fi as social critique”. The upside down world of the apes is never portrayed as a desirable place for Taylor to be, right? And while it serves as a useful mechanism for him to rediscover his humanity, it never provides the reader with a sense of wonder or discovery or allure that was so much a part of Burroughs’ Barsoom. I accept your point, but stand by mine, that by giving us a Carter who at least thinks that his main desire is to get back to his cave of gold (even if there is an unconscious other desire growing inside him), it somehow diminishes the appreciation of Barsoom that was an implicit but very powerful part of the novels. This is not a huge rap against the film — just a way that it “feels” different to me.

  • Dotar Sojat wrote:

    “And then I think of John Carter and the corollary that comes to mind is Taylor in the original Planet of the Apes. There was never any doubt that he wanted to get home; nor any reason for him to not want to get home”

    Methinks you need to watch “Planet of the Apes” again. Taylor volunteered for the expedition because he felt “somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than man. Has to be.” Well, there isn’t. The arc of the movie is Taylor rediscovering his faith in humanity — and then having that faith utterly smashed. He only wanted to go home — or rejoin humanity — at the film’s conclusion, at which point he discovered he was too late.

    Damned dirty apes!

  • Scotfree-

    I love your last post!

    My film preference leans towards quality cinema, not pop culture. I’m way too old to be a fan boy, and have almost never returned to a theater to pay to see any movie more than once, but I’ve sat now for 4 screenings of JC.

    There’s something oddly captivating about this movie. I keep seeing this same sentiment expressed by different people in various ways. And this fuels my contention that this film’s stature will grow with time, that many of these complaints that folks are airing right now will be resolved with time, and in the long run, may even morph into being viewed as strengths.

    P.S. to Dotar — my recollection of the books is like an impressionist painting, so yeah, my ‘book vs film’ arguement doesnt hold up if the book is written first person

  • The problem with John Carter, and that discussion proves it, is that we’re never sure about what drives him. As a character, he’s a blank state at first, so we have to discover him through his actions. But his actions are somewhat inconsistent: he’s madly impulsive in Arizona, then completely passive on Barsoom, given the Thark’s baby treatment without reacting. He wreaks havoc on the Zodangan airships (Dejah was saved, he could have just withnessed the end of the battle from the ground), and tells minutes later he doesn’t want to fight for anyone. He wants to go home, but has nothing home that awaits him. He kisses Dejah in the Thern temple, sacrifices himself to buy her and Sola time against the Warhoons, then refrains from telling her he loves her in Zodanga (they added a moment in the reshoots before the wedding, because otherwise, he would have never told her once in the movie that he loved her).

  • Paladin … good argument and I think there is plenty of merit to your argument for the subtext and unconscious desire of the protagonist. I get it but I’m not all the way there.

    First – what I described about John Carter from the novel was not, for the most part, anything that he explicitly states. He never says “I realized I could never go back to Earth”. He never says, “I realized that my only hope for the future was to win respect and build alliances”. So the argument that this is a matter of book vs film doesn’t quite resonate for me.

    Secondly, I’m all for subtext and clearly there are beats that take John Carter from along the path that leads to him taking up the cause. And at some point along that path, his “I want my cave of gold” must, logically, be in combat with his honorable, duty-bound self. I’m just not sure the trajectory of this has been handled as well as it could have been, and needed to be, in order for it to work as intended.

    I think that my main point is that the story setup used by Stanton — with a piece of technology allowing two-way travel thus giving JC the option to go back to Earth–an option which he pursues–sets in motion a chain that is profoundly different at some core level than the story told i the book. I’m not talking about the plot per se ….I’m talking about the deeper story of breaking free from your earthly self and finding yourself reborn somewhere else. I think there was an essential fascination in that, and John Carter’s acceptance of Barsoom as his new world was an essential part of the escapist fantasy. By introducing “return to Earth” as a motivating factor (even if it is trumped by an unconscious desire), it just muddies the waters and dilutes the experience.

    Having said that — I definitely can see how the story meeting went: “We can’t just have him magically transported to Mars.” I get that. Modern audiences probably would require something more technologically based. But it could have been implied without JC having a medallion in his hand when he gets to Mars that becomes his “ticket home” if he can just figure out how to use it. JC could arrive on Barsoom and believe, as he did in the book, that there is no way back. The revelation that there is a way back could come later, and there would be interesting drama in that since by then he would be “half-Barsoomian” if not more.

    Anyway — good thoughts. It’s great that we have a story as rich as this to ponder.

  • No, Dotar – it’s all there. What you want is already in the film. The only difference is that in the book it’s explicit, while in the film it’s implicit. That’s only normal, though – in a book written in the third person, you can just tell the reader what you want them to know, but in a film, unless there’s narration, you show the audience instead of telling them. That’s how great art usually does it, right?

    When Carter insists he wants to get back to his cave of gold, we all know that he doesn’t mean it. Stanton makes this obvious to us from the very beginning. Carter says he doesn’t care but saves the lieutenant. He says he doesn’t give a damn about Apaches, but he speaks their language. It’s a pattern, precedent, that’s set up so when he says he wants his cave of gold, we know – okay – that’s just more of the same.

    We’re shown the life he left behind. The last time he was on earth, he was standing outside that cave of gold with a blood stain on his shoulder, a busted lip, a horrendous scraggly beard, wearing the most pitiful drab dun colored clothing from head to toe – his wardrobe was no accident either – it was EXTREME drabness. Here is our big hero, and he’s got a bum hat for a cowboy hat – that’s on purpose, too, cuz otherwise you know a hero has to have a cool cowboy hat. Pissing in his own cell was not just a plot mechanism to enable his escape – Stanton could have done that a thousand different ways – but he used that to drive home Carter’s pathetic state.

    We know what was back on earth for him and that he feels like Barsoom is his salvation. He salutes Tars, but headbutted the lieutenant, right? You were TOLD in the book, but you are shown in the movie. In Arizona there’s only misery, but when he finally figures out how to jump on Mars, he cracks his first smile. We’re shown, Dotar. At the very first sight of Dejah, out jumps that inner knight errant to save her and blast the shit out of the Zodangans (although after he tries to still deny it).

    This works best for a modern audience. Anyone with any knowledge of our civil war would know that a veteran of that most gruesome war would not be ready to jump eagerly into yet another civil war. But we know he’s going to get there. When Dejah says she doesn’t believe him that he just wants his cave of gold, and they kiss, it’s fun because we know that she’s discovered what we already knew all along from the very start – that there’s nothing he longs for back home, least of all the stupid cave. It’s so cool the way it develops because at first it sounds like a big deal – of course, a cave of gold – but as his friendship with Tars and Sola and Woola grows, and his affection for Dejah, the cave of gold progressively, inexorably diminishes into a hollow symbol. It’s such a neat device to take something that people would die to have – a cave of gold (what an iconic symbol!) – and when he’s gazing at Dejah, it turns the priceless cave into a meaningless joke.

    This is not Taylor wanting to leave Planet of the Apes. It’s T. E. Lawrence saying he wants to return to England.

  • John Carter has been a very unusual experience for me. I was totally pumped for the opening, but after the first viewing I wasn’t even sure I liked it. I was too wedded to “A Princess of Mars” to accept the many changes, plus other personal issues bubbled into the equation that were never expected. Yet, it did not leave my thoughts for very long, and before I knew it there I sat for another viewing. And then a third. What was drawing me back like this? I am a film major. I have a B.S. in cinematography dammit! I have a more visceral reaction to this movie than Jules & Jim, or Reds, or Red Desert, or La Jette, or last Year at Marienbad, or Rushmore, … well, you get the idea.
    The cave of gold problem bothered me initially, but the additional reflection makes it fade. In fact, I find myself preferring the convention. It makes Carter, initially, more easy for an average person to relate to. If you were wisked away to an alien world, wouldn’t your very sanity hinge on connections to what has always been reality? Besides, even in the books he gets back to that gold and amasses its fortune.
    Carter’s backstory? Even a purist would have a hard time believing he had never had other women, immortal or not. I find the whole backstory hinged on one phrase from PoM –

    from chapter XI “…as my eyes met hers I knew why, and – I shuddered.”

    We do not know exactly why Carter shuddered, but a tragic past is just as plausible as an inconvenient passion. My biggest objection originally was the shift in tone of John and Dejah’s love story. It wasn’t depicted as I expected. Poor me. 🙂
    In a similar way, the Thern’s copy pendant draws the whole of earth into the conflict from the moment it’s revealed. You or I could use it, were it real. For awhile, I thought this device to be the film’s lone misfire. Perhaps it could have slipped into John’s possession and only the audience would know it existed. But then we would not have the same story, and I have come to feel that would be a shame. PoM will always exist as the original source text, John Carter’s alternate reality is this age’s interpretation – and a damn fine one!

  • Peter and Masshu —

    Peter wrote:

    Carter’s wish to return to his gold mine in Arizona and not to his home in Virginia is something that seemingly disoriented many viewers, especially since he expresses a certain pride when he says that he comes from Virginia. This contradiction makes his reluctance even less relatable.

    For me, this is the single biggest issue I have with the film. Had he longed for home and so forth it would have at least been more understandable — but longing only for the cave of gold….didn’t like it.

    But it’s more than just an irritant — it profoundly changes the experience of the story.

    John Carter of the books felt himself drawn to Mars in a spiritual way and when he got there he knew that his answers were there. From the moment he woke up – he knew he was on Mars, and that his presence there was somehow meant to be. This created the underpinnings that allowed him, and the viewer, to see Barsoom not as a prison to which he had been exiled, but a rebirth, a reboot of his life and one from which he could never look back, never turn back to Earth.

    The fact that the premise was set up in this way affects everything that follows. We view Barsoom through the eyes of a man who feels he belongs there, who feels his fate is one with this place and its people.

    It’s the same feeling you get in Dances With Wolves when John Dunbar feels drawn to the west, to the frontier. He never explains why – but it’s clear that he feels its where his destiny lies, and so every time he looks at anything, we understand that he’s searching in some spiritual way for answers that he didn’t find in the east, and we feel that same yearning, and we are drawn into his journey.

    Stanton’s approach in having his John Carter just want to get back to his “cave of gold” seems to have basically taken the “easy way out”. (And by the way …. if you read the prior screenplays from other incarnations of this film, several of them used the same concept so Stanton didn’t pull it out of thin air, he may have just decided to go with what some of the earlier screenplays chose as John Carter’s “objective”.) It’s the easy way out because it gives Carter a clear objective and in screenwriting school they generally tell you that your character needs that — at least he needs a clear conscious objective in this type of film.

    But by making THAT the conscious objective, they rob the film of the richness that comes from Carter’s awakening to Barsoom. I think of Dunbar in Dances with Wolves and I think of the feeling that we have, taking that journey with him. And then I think of John Carter and the corollary that comes to mind is Taylor in the original Planet of the Apes. There was never any doubt that he wanted to get home; nor any reason for him to not want to get home. Barsoom is not like that, yet this formulation made it so.

    This is not a bitter complaint and I’m not attacking Stanton. He got so much of it right, and without him this vision of Barsoom never would have made it to the screen. I think that Stanton was thinking in terms of three movies and this is just the first. He would, I’m sure, achieve the kind of resonance between John Carter and Barsoom that I’m looking for in the second and third movies.

    But if we only get the one movie, it will be a shame to have not gotten this.

  • To Masshuu (2),

    Carter’s wish to return to his gold mine in Arizona and not to his home in Virginia is something that seemingly disoriented many viewers, especially since he expresses a certain pride when he says that he comes from Virginia. This contradiction makes his reluctance even less relatable.

    This is why I believe that it would have been of essential importance to show right from the start that his heart was able to express a more decent longing in later years, just a glimpse to fuel and funnel our hope that he would be able to turn himself around, getting addicted to a noble and gallant cause if the prize was love.

  • To Masshuu,

    your second point is quite interesting. John Carter is a man who has actually lost his home in Virginia during the Civil War lost by his party, the South. This is a point that Burroughs missed in his novel, while Stanton recovered it and integrated it well in the movie to make the character more appealing.

    What troubles us is the fact that all these great little ideas of Stanton and Chabon end up occupying the core of the storyline.

    In any case, after he returned from Barsoom, Carter became rich with his goldmine and then bought a house on the Hudson. That’s why in 1881 you find him in New York.

  • Agree mostly with your write up with 2 exceptions. There may be more but these I remember.
    1) I loved AVATAR. Think it’s a great movie but I don’t think a sequel will be coming any time soon. Cameron is booked up for 3 more years and he doesn’t even have a script.

    2) This is more a factual error. John Carter wants to return to his cave of gold in Arizona not Virginia. In fact in the movie it appears he lives in New York not Virginia. Very strange, I know but may be he couldn’t return to his home in the south after Barsoom.

    Anyway, good write-up. Thank you.

  • I’m not sure how a site like this actually achieves “credibility” in that, by its very nature, it’s well-disposed toward the movie in question. But I have always felt that if I only published rave reviews it would be a mistake. I think balanced, insightful, and well-intentioned reviews that are not 100% positive are useful and appropriate and I’ve been really encouraged but the quality of the discussion that these have brought forward.

    Also, I’m struck by the fact that this film has been a little different in that usually a film comes along, people see it once, write their reviews, and move on — whereas for a variety of reasons there is a substantial community of souls who have been watching it multiple times and thinking about it in between, with their views evolving. What we are beginning to see now are some interesting reviews that reflect that whole process, and by their nature they are likely to contain more of a critique — but also a great deal of appreciation.

    Anyway, I like the response we’re getting and I appreciate the thoughtfulness that is being displayed in the comments.

  • I suppose we’re all here because we care. I found on this site the reviews and comments pretty balanced, some I agree with, some I don’t agree with, to each his own vision after all.

  • To Paladin,

    apologies accepted. Your piece was great, because it was so close to her prediction. She said: “When they read your review, readers will imagine you like some pedantic high-browed Kissinger arguing with low voice and German accent!”

    Like you, I was impressed by Bassim’s knowledge of the motion picture industry. A movie, though, is not only an industrial product, but also a piece of art, a kind of more elaborate theatre play. As such it must respond to the rules of industry AND those of story-telling. ERB told his story well, otherwise it wouldn’t have survived to this point. For us readers this is the baseline, and every change of the original must be either necessary to adapt to the new medium or a modernization and/or improvement. As Bassim explained, there were some evident improvements. But the price to be paid in other parts of the movie was pretty high, and some of us think that it was too high.

    I guess all who write here, critical or not, are pretty desperate that the movie didn’t work as expected. I agree that this discussion is not the traditional way to create positive buzz. But it would be worse, if we just gave up on it, forget John Carter and let him slowly slip into oblivion. I’m positive that this won’t happen.

  • Bassim has more knowledge of the motion picture industry than all the rest of us combined. I found his analysis to be spot-on, enlightening, and incredibly insightful. Obviously he loves this film as much as I do.

    I thought people would rip into Peter Weber for his largely negative review of JC and would really welcome a glowing critique like this one from Bassim, but I was wrong. Most folks posting comments seem to be completely wedded to the books, so they find lots of things to complain about. Thats not Weber’s problem exactly — he just doesnt know cinema as well as Bassim — but that doesnt prevent him from presenting his opinions as if dictated from god (a little too earnest).

    One thing that stood out for me was Bassim’s observation about the bosses at Disney, regarding JC: “it’s better if it fails so the new management looks smarter.” This was a contention of mine in my very first post here, but it got twisted into conspiracy theory, so I immediately dropped the subject. I do, however, think this film’s failure was more than just incompetent marketing, and from an almost willful neglect, which makes it all the more unjust.

    Another point I have been trying ineptly to make is that, as Bassim says, “if you try to do something amazing and fall short, you get crucified. A film of aspiration and passion like JOHN CARTER is reamed in the press for not being awesome enough…”

    So many fans at this website seem happy to be picking this film apart while its still in the theaters. Cant we fist celebrate that it was even made, and done so well, and then start the campaign for a sequel by encouraging the purchase of the BluRay/DVD, and then at some later juncture — say like 3 or 4 months from now — let people then air their grievances about how they think it should have been made?

    Of course we cant wait, because you guys need to express your complaints. I get it, but damn, theres just so much negativity out there already from the herd of sheepish professional idiot critics who piled on to pan this movie, so all youre doing is adding to the negative spin. Thats your right, and you will do it, but I dont think its strategically smart if we do indeed want to get a sequel. I wish folks would hold their fire until its out of the theaters.

    And anyway, I disagree with you guys finding all the fault. I’ve seen this movie a few times now, and each time I like it even better. While you guys are complaining, my opinion of this film is actually going up.

    Lastly, Peter Weber, I apologize for calling you an idiot, but I meant it with all due respect. (…that was an attempt at humor) I actually almost kind of like your post on here, and while your criticism of the intro is fair, I stil do think youre only quibbling. Send my best regards to your girlfriend.

  • I love her heart in this, and yes, the point about Marvel makes sense, too. I must agree with Pascalahad, when I read the Barsoom novels, they don’t feel anything like Star Wars or Dune or Avatar. They feel so unique. The flora and fauna are unlike anything I’ve seen. The jeweled mountains near the Thern sanctuary, which I hope we might get some glimpse of in Gods, should it get made. I have been looking for comparisons to those and other films as I’ve done my recent reread, but I see things so very differently that I just don’t understand the comparisons. Sure, the film stayed much closer to the Mars we all know in reality. The dead/dying planet. But the books feature a still fertile world with color and texture, not a desert.

    And I did not agree with some of her sentiments about Carter in the film either. While the heart is there and the ache to see more I agree with. I was shaking my head and frowning at some of the thoughts presented.

  • I’m OK with the article up to “schadenfreude”. After, not so much.

    I’m still amazed to read that The Princess of Mars’ setting recalls Tatooine and Dune. The surface of Barsoom as described by Burroughs is very distinctive and never seen before. It’s not a desert like those of Earth, and it’s pretty surprising to read this from someone who has JUST read the book. My guess is that he didn’t read the descriptions.

    Anyway, the author apparently didn’t like the book at all. For me his comments on Dejah Thoris miss the point completely, she is the stronger character in the novel, because of her determination, not because she can fight. And this comment is in complete contradiction with the first statement, that John Carter was intended as a “boy’s franchise”. John Carter was crafted to be enjoyed by the largest audience possible, and rightfully so, especially considering its budget. It would have been foolish to spend 250M on a movie “made for boys”. It was sold as a “movie for boys” perhaps, but it turned out to be a mistake.

    Concerning the lack of empathy, it has more to do with the narrative itself, Andrew Stanton chose not to concentrate on Carter’s journey, but on the big set-up for the sequels, namely the ninth-ray and Thern subplots. More often than not, this choice made the movie confusing and non relatable for me, and it had nothing to do with the characters themselves and the way they were depicted. Carter seemed sympathetic enough, thanks to Kitsch’s performance.

    Glad he enjoyed the movie, though, even if I don’t agree with all the analysis.

  • This was a great read. Until now I knew pretty well why “John Carter” is ugly and why I hated it, but you explained me in detail why it is beautiful and why I loved it.

    “The world of Barsoom was so palpable to me it haunts me more than two weeks later. Everything in that world felt so lived in and old. I’ve been unable to get the film out of my head.”

    After three weeks I feel exactly the same. The last film that left me similarly puzzled was “The Fifth Element”, 15 years ago. This is a good sign, because it means that “John Carter” will stay.

    I am deeply convinced that we need to explore more of Barsoom, instead of endlessly repeating Star Trek, Star Wars and Marvel comics. Indeed, I totally agree with your description of Hollywood’s shark pool producing nothing, but forgettable sequels and prequels, rip-offs and spin-offs all over the place.

    “If people came to JOHN CARTER with an open mind and an open heart, yet left disappointed, why could that be?”

    “JOHN CARTER makes empathy very hard.”

    I think this is a very good answer to a good question. I want to add that this is sadly true, because Stanton’s way to tell the story has one serious flaw: The bloated introduction just filled the mind, instead of opening it, while leaving the heart without a hint of direction.

    The beginning of the movie should have shown in some way Carter’s longing for Mars. This wouldn’t have spoiled the gorgeous conclusion, but it would have given us some hope, that in the end he would change his mind and make the right decision.

  • This is one of the most insightful reads yet. The idea that the aquisition of Marvel killed John Carter is, to me, a theory that illuminates much. There is a dearth of Disney boy licenses (beyond Mickey) that you’d think there would be room…but the absence of toy marketing for JC is curious and damning. Why waste the time and effort when Marvel comes with so many proven properties. It’s just a shame.

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