The 449th film I have seen in theaters…
They have not forgotten the face of their fathers…
The villainous Man in Black is searching the various worlds of the multiverse for children who possess “The shine”, psychic abilities. He intends to use them to destroy the Dark Tower, a spire at the very center of the universe. If the tower falls, the demons that await outside the universe will find their way in and evil will have triumphed. Thus far, Walter (MiB) has failed in his attacks on the tower.
Roland of Gilead, last of the gunslingers, wanders in the Mohaine desert on Mid-World, seeking revenge against the Man in Black, the man who killed his father, his friends. His quest to save the Dark Tower has been abandoned. He has forgotten the face of his father.
Jake Chambers is a boy from New York. He has the “shine”, possibly the strongest of anyone. They are causing him to have visions of Mid-World and the threat to the tower. The Man in Black wants him as the final piece needed to bring about armageddon. Jake finds his way to Mid-World and meets Roland. The road to defeat Walter, and save the universe begins with Roland remembering who he is…the last Gunslinger.
Idris Elba plays Roland Deschain, of Gilead, last of the line of Arthur Eld, the Gunslinger. The fact that he is black makes no difference. He is excellent casting. I was surprised that Roland doesn’t even care about the Tower anymore. This is a Roland that is broken, near giving up. Only his hatred of Walter keeps him going. I like that they gave him a redemption arc in this first film. His gunplay was amazing.
Matthew McConaughey is Walter, the Man in Black. He has style, he has swagger. He is evil to the core and a powerful sorcerer. This is the Randall Flagg I’ve wanted for years. Well done.
Tom Taylor is Jake Chambers. I am not familiar with his previous work, but he was a good Jake. The character improved once he hits Mid-World. I bought the growing bond between him and Roland. I personally loved that they embraced the larger King universe by making “The Shine” from “The Shining” a central part of the story.
Appearing briefly is Dennis Haysbert as Stephen, father of Roland. He doesn’t do much other than recite the Gunslinger creed and die, but he is an excellent choice, especially if the Wizard and Glass TV series happens.
This movie is being SAVAGED by the critics, quite unfairly I must add. Taken on it’s own, it is a good summer film. Interesting story, excellent action, good performances. The problem everyone is having is that this is not the story from the novels. What they don’t seem to get is that IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE!
This is a continuation of the story from the books, set in another turning of the wheel of KA (Destiny). On a whole different level of the tower (multiverse). The core elements are there, but the story has changed. This is not the filmmaker’s attempt to create and 1:1 adaptation of the books. This is a NEW story featuring the characters from the books, with possibly Walter being the only one aware of what is happening. This was a damn fun movie. 7/10