×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘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.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

  • Female Filmmakers in Germany Make Progress

    Female Filmmakers Surge Forward in Germany, But Still Face Obstacles

    Four feature films by German filmmakers screened at the Toronto Film Festival, and three of them were directed by women – Angela Schanelec’s “I Was at Home, But…,” winner of the Berlinale’s best director prize, Ina Weisse’s “The Audition,” and Katrin Gebbe’s “Pelican Blood,” the latter two both starring Nina Hoss. Germany’s Oscar entry this [...]

  • Bull

    Annie Silverstein's 'Bull' Takes Top Awards, Robert Pattinson Starrer 'The Lighthouse' Wins Jury Prize at Deauville

    Annie Silverstein’s feature debut “Bull” swept three awards at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for best first film and the Critics’ Prize. “Bull,” a portrait of a rebellious teenage girl from South Texas, world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard and marks Silverstein’s follow up to her [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content