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‘The Dark Tower’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

Reviews for “The Dark Tower” were unleashed on the world late Wednesday night and, in general, the critics were not pleased.

The adaptation of what is considered by many to be Stephen King’s magnum opus made it to the big screen after a production process plagued with creative differences, test screenings gone awry, and reshoots. But, nevertheless, it will arrive in theaters this weekend.

Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, the movie stars Idris Elba as a heroic gunslinger, Matthew McConaughey as the villainous Man in Black, and Tom Taylor as a young boy caught in the middle of a potentially world-ending battle.

Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman penned one of the kinder reviews of the movie, calling it a “a slice of lean-and-mean metaphysical action pulp.” Other critics were not so enthusiastic, earning the flick a current 16% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Here’s what the critics are saying:

Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman:

“A few of the concepts drifting through the film suggest how far ahead of the curve King was, a few play as flagrantly derivative, but when you watch ‘The Dark Tower’ you may not bother to separate the Kingian from the Jungian from the ready-made-for-DVR-ian. It all fuses into a glittering trash pile of déjà vu action pulp.”

IndieWire’s Kate Erbland:

“King’s Dark Tower universe is rich with cultural reference points and is always totally unpredictable, but in cutting it down to consolidate its highlights, ‘The Dark Tower’ can’t even shoot the most necessary bullets straight.”

The Guardian’s Charles Bramesco:

“While sitting through this uniquely flavorless slog, a viewer jolts out of a waking sleep every five minutes or so to realize that they have not internalized a thing. Nikolaj Arcel’s efforts to translate and condense Stephen King’s long-running series of densely mythologized novels amount to being a western without the majesty of the west, a fantasy without anything even coming close to being fantastic.”

Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips:

“Apologies to Stephen King, author of the eight fantasy novels in the ‘Dark Tower’ realm, but you can shove that ‘Mummy’ right through the portal to Mid-World, where all the villainously bad movies go. “The Dark Tower” isn’t one of them. It belongs in Middling-World.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich:

“[Idris Elba’s] performance stands out. The movie around him is sadly pointless, weirdly forgettable despite a slipstream story mashing fantasy and science-fiction and Brooklyn.”

Uproxx’s Mike Ryan:

“‘The Dark Tower’ is so astoundingly awful that when you leave the theater you’ll likely be less mad you wasted your time than flabbergasted that something like this could a) happen and b) be released as something that, theoretically, is going to launch a multi-platform franchise.”

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