Although technically competent in most regards, “The Dark Tower” offers a strikingly unremarkable movie-going experience.
The film is completely barren of any qualities that could lift it above anything beyond simply passable and makes few attempts to kindle its audience’s sympathies or interests.
As I made my way through this film’s incredibly long-feeling 90-minute run-time, I quickly found that I neither liked nor cared about any of the film’s protagonists and was more focused on how much more time was left until the movie ended.
I never could have imagined that a movie featuring a supernatural, gun-slinging Idris Elba and an evil, magic-wielding Matthew McConaughey could be so uninteresting.
On a surface-level, “The Dark Tower” is not a complete train wreck. Among the film’s merits are that it is at least coherent and has the visual appearance of being a legitimate major motion picture. Despite some noticeably dated CGI, it at least isn’t 1980’s “Flash Gordon.” The vital question to ask is: “What is ‘The Dark Tower’ missing that leads it to fail as an adventure-fantasy movie?” The answer is focus. The film spends too little time developing character relationships and maintaining the tension of the imminent threat of a clearly motivated antagonist, and it instead focuses on delivering exposition for its overly complex setting.
Too many elements are introduced, and it doesn’t leave itself enough time to give its audience reason to care about any of it. For most of the film, the protagonists’ actions seem inconsequential and the antagonist’s motivation is hard to keep track of. Films of this genre that work well keep a lively pace and contain colorful, exciting characters, but this film does neither.
Despite its fun and potentially interesting premise, “The Dark Tower” simply does not possess the entertainment value that one would expect from a universe-trotting fantasy film with such high-caliber headliners. The film is not offensively bad, but it had difficulty maintaining my interest for an hour and a half.