Warning - This review will contain spoilers for The Dark Tower book series.
The Dark Tower is a movie which is difficult to summarize my feelings regarding. Well, no, I hate it. I really-really hate this movie. It's problematic because I don't hate this movie because it's bad. If this were a completely generic action movie with a sci-fi premise, I'd put it up with Resident Evil as a multiple re-watch. However, this is THE DARK TOWER. It is one of the most signature pieces of American fantasy which exist and up there with George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, Stephen King's other masterpiece The Stand, and The Wheel of Time for "iconic presentations of what US authors are capable of." How do I feel about this movie? Mrs. White?
|This is how I feel.|
|Fun comic book action gunplay. There's that.|
Indeed, I feel the need to point out both actors are incredibly good casting and even acting against incredibly bad direction and writing, they do fine jobs. If I need to liken this movie's two lead performances to anything, I'd say they're similar to Liam Neeson's performance in The Phantom Menace. They're all three comfortable in worlds of CGI and ridiculousness that serve as islands of believably. In effect, they feel like they were performances cut and pasted from better movies.
|Lots of stunning visual imagery in the movie.|
As for Roland? There's a moment where Roland says, essentially, "The war against evil is over, the forces of good have lost, the Dark Tower is coming down whether we like it or not, and I don't care about any of that because all I want to do is avenge my father." Which says, somewhere, someone among the screenwriters (if not Elba himself) got what the books are about.
|They should never be this close. That's part of the futility of Roland's quest.|
Hell, the very fact his quest is arguably completely unnecessary is a major part of the story. The Dark Tower doesn't need saving as Roland and the others in his group are fictional characters existing within its purview. The Crimson King is on a quest to kill God and Roland is on a quest to turn back the past--both equally futile endeavors they've deluded themselves into believing in.
|McConaughey does a fine job. You should like the Man in Black even as he's a monster.|
I said before I saw this movie that they only needed to get two things right: 1. Roland killing an entire village of Walter O'Dim's worshipers with a cold blooded diligence equivalent to the Punisher. 2. Leaving Jake to die because it was a choice between him and the Dark Tower. Unfortunately, this is not even a loose adaptation of The Gunslinger. It's the story of Walter O'Dim versus Roland with a character that is yet another incarnation of Jake. Which, for fans of the series, means that I am entirely able to consider this an event which could have happened to Roland across his travels but it's not THE event.
|Some amazing Easter Eggs here.|
I keep forgetting to mention Jake in this review, which is a shame because Tom Taylor does a job well above his age. It's just, unfortunately, it belongs in a different movie. They give Jake the gifts of Danny Torrance from The Shining and make him Roland's Robin-esque sidekick. The guy who is there to inspire him to come out of his funk and become the hero he was meant to be. This actually isn't bad because that's Jake's role in The Gunslinger. It's just that Roland REJECTS this role and commits an act of unforgivable evil. Can you guess whether he does this in the movie?
|I half-expect this to become an Underworld-esque franchise.|