Reviews are in for The Dark Tower, and yeah, it sounds like it’s really bad

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Aug 3, 2017

Expectations were already fairly low for the big-screen debut of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower — and yeah — it looks like the film will be meeting them. Reviews are in, and put simply, they’re pretty bad.

The film is balancing at around a 21 percent rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, which isn’t great, considering we’re talking about a ratings scale that runs up to 100 percent. Critics pointed to everything from a lame and confusing plot to bad dialogue, and the fact that when you put it all together it’s pretty much a disaster. But! It’s not all bad. Some critics called it competent and akin to watching a pretty good video game (faint praise, but still) and noted that a lot of the character beats actually worked pretty well. Oh, and the cast of Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey is obviously awesome.

So, uhh, there’s that.

Check out some of the choice excerpts from a few of our favorite reviews below:

The filmmakers had two choices with this material: One, position “The Dark Tower” as an R-rated splatterfest with Elba as the new Clint Eastwood, in space. This would make some sense, since King acknowledges he borrowed ideas and imagery from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” for his stories. Option two: Go for the PG-13 rating and the Young Adult fiction crowd, and put the teenage boy at the center of things. They went with option two. - Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

The first problem with this movie is how badly it wants to make sense of everything, to establish a clean through line through the author’s career-spanning zigzags. Early in the film, Jake stares at his bedroom wall, covered in illustrated pictures from his dreams of the Dark Tower lore. He looks like a frustrated screenwriter (the film has four) laying out all the disparate elements of the books to find an easy summary that would fit into a Wikipedia summary. - Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly

Dark Tower tosses out a lot of plot threads that never go anywhere and even the ending is rushed, like somebody forgot to study for an essay test and then has to B.S. their way out of a failing grade. Make no mistake, though, this is a fantastical faceplant, and though Elba tries his hardest, what could have been the tale of an iconic gunslinger is a big miss. - Brian Truitt, USA Today

The Dark Tower works as a film because it’s not trying to be a multiverse — and because, in its forgettable derivative ballistic way, it packs in just enough of the King vision to remind you that everything old can be new again, especially if it wasn’t all that novel the first time. - Owen Gleiberman, Variety

[N]o scene in this film even approaches the rousing, lump-in-the-throat power of the first Lord of the Rings film, or even of the initial chapter of The Hunger Games. An optimist would say that the Harry Potter movies survived a couple of stiff opening chapters to hit their stride midway through. But that series relied on the loyalty of a different sort of fan. Older and wiser, longtime Stephen King readers know how much Hollywood wants their attention. If they shrug their shoulders at this Dark Tower, a better one might come along before you can say ‘reboot.’ - John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

The Dark Tower opens this weekend, if you're feeling brave.

What do you make of the reviews? Still plan on checking it out? Hope that TV show moves forward, or would you prefer a full-fledged reboot down the line?