Not having read the books that this film is based on, I went into The Dark Tower with the hopes of having a good time at the movies, with a property that felt fresh. Now, this film isn't going to be winning any awards, but the majority of the reviews have been unabashedly awful for this film, and this is a rare occasion where I completely disagree. Going into a movie like this, as long as you're presented with likeable characters and a premise that's unique enough to hold your interest throughout the entire duration, shouldn't that be enough to at least warrant a mild recommendation? I acknowledge that this film isn't flawless, in fact, you can find numerous issues with it, but I personally found this film to be a lot of fun. Here is why I believe your best interest may be to ignore the poor reviews and form your own opinion.
Building A New Universe
From the very beginning of this film, it promises big things to come. Whether it's just world-building in order to set-up potential sequels or to just simply expand your mind in order to make you enjoy the film at hand, this movie tries very hard to win you over in terms of originality. As young Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) has horrific dreams of otherworldly goings on, he soon realizes that these visions of a deadly "man in black" and a gunslinger actually exist in the universe somewhere. Discovering a portal that sends him into this world, he quickly learns that he is meant for more. There is a lot to like about the chemistry between Idris Elba and Tom Taylor, as well as how menacingly believable Matthew McConaughey is as the "man in black."
An Enjoyable Rivalry
At its core, The Dark Tower is about the fact that this "man in black" wants to destroy the tower that binds every world together, in order to unleash hell on (all) Earths. While this is the backdrop of the film in general, the looming rivalry between McConaughey and Elba is really what made this film as enjoyable as it was. I was surprisingly shocked at how much I enjoyed this film for being unique and playing with classic stories, but it was the addition of these two A-List actors that put it over the edge. When their stories meet in the final act of this film, it's not extravagant, but it's satisfying nonetheless. If nothing else, I believe you will enjoy the performances that everyone gives throughout The Dark Tower.
While watching this film, it will be very difficult not to nitpick certain elements throughout the majority of the film. The biggest issue this film suffers from is the fact that it seems to be stuffing far too many plot points into a very short 95 minutes. I normally like when a film is short and sweet, but if you have an entire universe of world building that you could be exploring, then why not add that extra 30 minutes? This film flies by, due to the fact that you meet characters, lose characters, jump from world to world, and it expects you to be along for a very quick ride, becoming emotionally invested in multiple things at once. For the most part, The Dark Tower does a good job at holding your attention, but it can feel quite rushed. Aside from that, there will be issues you have in terms of leaving characters in the dust in order to focus on the mains, which will be very frustrating for you, but again, it does its best in the end.
My Overall Thoughts
In the end, I truly believe the critics are wrong about this film. I can see where the criticisms lie, but The Dark Tower has much more to offer as compensation. Yes, there are many ways that this could've been a better film, but I had quite a bit of fun with it. The script is a little sloppy and pretty rushed, the editing can be jarring at times, and the overall film feels too quick to fully take in, but it makes up for these issues with terrific performances, a unique world, cool action sequences, and a simple premise that many people should find easy and fun to watch. As I said, this movie won't be winning any awards, but it does deserve your attention. The Dark Tower is a surprisingly fun Fantasy flick.