The Dark Tower, the film adaptation of Stephen King‘s long-celebrated eight book fantasy series, has not been much of a hit with critics despite its heavy star power.

The new film stars two of Hollywood’s biggest names, Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. The two stars have been put on full court-press, appearing on all the big talk shows and doing interviews left and right. Still, it hasn’t been enough to draw critics into what began on the page as a very complex fantasy world.

The Dark Tower tells the story of the Gunslinger (Elba) and his eternal battle with the Man in Black (McConaughey). In the new film, unlike the story line of books, the Gunslinger is on a mission to prevent the Man in Black from knocking down the Dark Tower, a building that holds the real universe and the fantasy universe together. Destruction to the tower would mean destruction to both worlds in this classic telling of good versus evil.

Read what the critics have to say about The Dark Tower below.


“[The Dark Tower is] more forgettable than loathsome, the kind of movie that occasionally rubs salt in your wounds by reminding you what could have been, but mostly just dissipates from memory as it’s playing. The two leads here—Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey—work just fine in these iconic roles, and you just want to pick them up and put them in a better movie, one that doesn’t seem stuck in the valley between trying to satisfy hardcore fans of the series and the moviegoers who have never heard of Roland and Walter. By trying to do both, the movie ends up doing neither.” – Brian

“Elba does stoic, then more stoic, except for a cool hot dog joke near the end. And McConaughey, perhaps sensing that he’s climbed aboard a sinking ship (reports of a troubled post-production are legion) does his over-caffeinated damnedest to juice things up. Not happening. Though I did like it when Walter strolled around whispering commands to unsuspecting victims. “Hate,” he directs a little girl on a park bench. “Stop breathing,” he tells a dude who annoys him. To audiences, hoping the Man in Black will stroll into their multiplex and oblige the management to “End the Torture, ” I’m down with you on that. This unholy mess shouldn’t happen to a King, much less a paying customer.”           – Peter TraversRolling Stone

“Reaching half-heartedly for the epic only makes The Dark Tower appear all the smaller, especially as it jumps back and forth between alternate worlds. You begin to hope that midway to Mid-World, McConaughey and Elba will just call time out and start acting out a new season of True Detective together.” – Jake CoyleAssociated Press

“Most of the scenes in The Dark Tower feel like a desperate compromise of some kind, and often there seem to be scenes missing that would simply get us from one point to another. With fantasy material like this, we need to be made to believe in the inventions and the conceits, and we cannot do that if they are shot and staged in such a truncated and perfunctory way.” – Dan CallahanThe Wrap

Watch the trailer for The Dark Tower in theaters Friday, August 4.

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