DEFCON 1 Reviews: ‘The Dark Tower’

The Ups, the Downs, and the Shine That Kept the Tower From Annihilation


Sony Entertainment

(Spoiler Free)

You Faintly Remember the Face of Your Father

Okay, so, The Dark Tower didn’t suck. I looked on Rotten Tomatoes before I saw it and was disappointed to see that it scored a whopping 16 percent. That lowered my expectations quite a bit, but this was a classic case of Star Wars: The Force Awakens syndrome. The reviews were all the way wrong.

The Dark Tower was action packed, entertaining, and fun to watch. Honestly, the film wasn’t great, but it was certainly a lot better than how it was reviewed by the masses. As a standalone film, The Dark Tower was a solid representation of Stephen King’s graphic novel series.

The Dark Tower is a film about a tower (duh) that holds order and chaos in balance. An evil sorcerer named Walter (Matthew McConaughey) attempts to destroy the tower using the minds of children and unleash darkness. Roland (Idris Elba) is the last of a tribe of warriors, called gunslingers, that protected the Tower. He works with a gifted young boy to protect it from Walter’s wrath.

The Good Stuff

Idris Elba. That’s this entire category. Elba performed spectacularly in every way. He portrayed brilliantly the balance between a vengeful nomad and a true hero. Elba made the gunslinger into a cool, funny, and well-developed character and essentially carried the film on his back.

The Sorcerer  

Matthew McConaughey is best described as a “good” villain in The Dark Tower. Walter the Sorcerer is virtually all powerful with the ability to manipulate matter at will and literally speak death.

His unfair but villainous and satisfying advantage certainly gave the movie some umph, especially during its most suspenseful moments. McConaughey was essentially a blend of Darth Vader’s ruthlessness and David Copperfield’s charisma. He wasn’t great or awful as a villain; he was ‘mean’ but in the ‘average’ variety. 

“But the Comic-” Just Watch the Movie!

The reason The Dark Tower wasn’t adapted into a movie earlier was because of the fact that the storyline was a convoluted machination spanning 30 years and introducing an entirely new cast of characters virtually every novel. The Dark Tower fans who constantly compare the graphic novels to the new movie are doing so with apples to oranges because it’s virtually impossible to integrate the comic completely into the film.

The most important part of truly watching and understanding the quality of The Dark Tower is to watch it as an independent movie. This will reveal its true flaws and fortitude, which is, in The Dark Tower’s case, just about balanced.

Where’s Walter?

Okay, so I know that I said Matthew McConaughey played a good villain, but his portrayal of Walter Padick could have definitely been better. He seemed to be taking the David Copperfield thing too seriously because he was nonchalant, almost not caring, the entire movie.

There’s a difference between being a calm villain like Darth Maul or Jadis the White Witch and just not caring about the one goal you’re trying to achieve. It was also disappointing to see that that nobody actually bothered to explain WHY Walter wanted to destroy the tower. He wasn’t developed at all as a character, and that undoubtedly weakened the plot of The Dark Tower

Missing the Mark

The Dark Tower’s primary flaw was that it was rushing the process. The entire story flew past audiences’ faces at breakneck speed, eliminating character development altogether. The storyline was solid, and the characters were cool, but we never truly get to know anyone. Everyone’s background is briefly relapsed (except for Walter, who isn’t even covered), but the speed at which the movie goes makes it difficult to even relate to or care for anyone, which isn’t a good thing in a movie where suspense is a key factor.

 The Wrap Up

Altogether, The Dark Tower was just a “good” movie, it had action, suspense, horror and even a few tearjerkers. Still, its lack of character development and poor plot sculpting held it back from its true potential. Idris Elba’s performance surpassed all others and made up for some of the qualities that The Dark Tower lacked, but one actor can only do so much. Though he shot with his heart, not his gun, the film had already forgotten the face of its father.