A boy, Jake (Tom Taylor) has strange visions of another world, where a dark tower keeps darkness at bay (…except its own). When he finds his way there he meets Roland (Idris Elba), a retired gunslinger with a vendetta against the mysterious Man in Black (Matthew McConoughey), who’s a magician or sorcerer or something.
Of all the uninspired films with ‘dark’ in the title to come out in the decade after The Dark Knight, The Dark Tower is the least inspired. Yes, it’s less inspired than Thor: The Dark World, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Star Trek Into Darkness and Dark Shadows.
If this is close to Stephen King’s novel then a fantasy writer he is not, as evidenced by the amount of, ahem, borrowings from another popular fantasy franchise. The mystic world is called ‘Mid-world’. Roland is the last of a noble bloodline of warriors. Yet unlike Tolkien’s two towers, the titular black tower turns out to be a Burj Khalifa sized MacGuffin which we barely even see.
The boring, generic story and creaky dialogue are made more unbearable by the fact no time is devoted to world building so we’re never made to invest in the universe, or even understand its rules. The film is mostly serious and, well, dark, until Roland comes to our world and there’s some awkward Thor-style fish-out-of-water humour which feel completely out of place. It doesn’t know if it wants to be a kick-ass action film or a Kid Who Would Be King-style child-friendly fantasy. It is neither.