At his core, Peter Pan is just a boy who escapes to a magical fantasy land because he doesn't want to grow up. In Neverland he leads a crew of similarly disenfranchised kids, plays games with Indians, swims with mermaids, and fights pirates.
Simple right? Well not according to Joe Wright and the producers of this film. For some reason they felt the need to cram in every single cliché possible in order to 'modernize' the story despite the fact that the themes in Barrie's stories were already timeless.
Levi Miller stumbles here and there but he was well cast as Peter. However the script doesn't support the role. At certain points he becomes secondary in his own story. His desires don't move the plot forward and after the first 20 minutes he has very little to do except "learn how to fly". We never seem him turn into the character we know as Peter Pan except for the fact that *spoilers* he flies at the end. And don't even get me started on 'The Chosen One' thing.
Tiger Lily, played by Rooney Mara, is bland, and I'm not talking about the color of her skin. She's your typical warrior princess and for some reason they try to set up a possible romance between her and Hook. She's basically around to be walking talking exposition.
Jackman also does a good job, but his character, Blackbeard, isn't interesting. His motivations are paper thin. He wants to mine some fairy dust in order to live forever which doesn't even make sense because Neverland supposed to be a place where people don't age. Blackbeard is just shoehorned in there so they could have a villain other than Hook.
This brings me to one of the most pointless things in the film: Hook being Peter's ally. It doesn't amount to anything. You never get a sense of conflict between the two. You keep waiting for a point when Hook is going to betray Peter but it never happens. You want to see that scene where Peter cuts off his hand and feeds it to the crock, but it never happens. Hook's only motivation in this film is to escape and go home. He doesn't seem like he could turn into the devious Captain we know. At the end of the film, Hook and Pan are still friends and they just hint at a possible conflict in the sequel with a throw away line. Also, if you're a kid and this is your introduction to the character of Hook the 'twist' will go right over your head.
And why is Hook American? Who made this decision?
Another problem with Pan is the over-use and reliance of CGI. It looks fake, especially Peter's flying. Peter Pan was better animated in 1953, not in terms of graphical fidelity, but in motion. He had weight, he had grace, and he was agile. In Pan he just kind of floats like he's being dragged by a mouse cursor.
When you stretch the rules of reality too far it becomes unbelievable even in a world like Neverland. You have to have rules. In Pan there are flying pirate ships. Why? How do they fly? It's never explained. The ships can fly both in the real world and Neverland. There is no consistency.
I'm giving this film a 1 out of 10 because they squandered so much potential. The source material is so rich and this is the best they could come up with? I think a live action Peter Pan film could be successful but if they ignore the themes that make the story interesting in the first place it just won't resonate with the audience.