The source material is a jumping-off point, nothing more than decades' worth of inspiration that the movies parse at their convenience, like they're squeezing fruit for ripeness at the grocery store. Even the Netflix and ABC shows aren't too dependent on the events of the films to dictate their storylines. What the producers of The Dark Tower movie are trying to do is sneakily create a more ambitious and much crazier version of what Marvel has been meticulously plotting for over a decade. The Dark Tower is kind of, sort of taking the Marvel a la carte approach, but it also wants to be a direct sequel to its source material. If you want to unlock the full story, you have to read the 4,250 book pages that came before it -- even more if you want to understand all of the books' references to other King works that he tossed in there like bread crumbs in a lake shaped like his face.
At this point, I'm not sure whether The Dark Tower is a movie or a shitty smartphone game that hides most of its content behind microtransactions.
I have no doubt that the producers thought about all this before going into production. There will probably be a few wink-and-nod moments alluding to the massive literary dinner that this hors d'oeuvre of a movie is indebted to. It might even ultimately be a half-decent idea to try to sneak a huge series of movies into theaters stacked on top of each other wearing a trench coat. It's what Marvel did with Iron Man. It's a hell of a lot more subtle than the previous plan of a Dark Tower trilogy with two seasons of a TV show that would've bridged the gaps between each movie. That plan was trying too hard to retain the series' original form. The Dark Tower we're getting now goes the other way by not wanting to fully acknowledge what it is, which brings us back to Marvel. Specifically, Stan Lee.
"Every comic book is someone's first" is a Lee quote and ethic that ran through every issue he oversaw during his time as Marvel's editor in chief. Most of the time, it led to the first couple of pages of every issue sounding like the summary your friend would have to give you when you got back from taking a dump in the middle of a movie. At its most clunky, it was Spider-Man pausing his adventure to think about some dull thing he said to Aunt May last week. However, when elegantly executed, anyone could understand everything from the get-go without requiring a two-hour lecture on all the complicated relationships that spawned from the intermingling adventures of the characters.
The Dark Tower is flipping off that ethos while launching audiences headfirst into a mountain of dense, complicated narrative without a helmet like a drunken carnival worker. Even if it's difficult for an MCU newbie to get up to speed, at least Marvel has a cultural omnipresence that infuses people with a rudimentary understanding of the major players involved. Robert Downey Jr's face has been plastered on the side of enough Burger King soda cups that, even if you've never seen an Iron Man movie, you get the gist of what the dude's about.
I don't doubt that as an individual film, The Dark Tower might be good ol' summer blockbuster fun. It's all the baggage of Hollywood's goofy fetish for franchises that it's dragging behind it that makes it such a perplexing circus, especially considering the most absurd fact of all: The movie's only 95 minutes long.
An eight-book series that spawned a canonical video game and a prequel comic series is now all acting as a prequel to the movie, which means the prequel comics are a prequel-prequel to the movie. And if the movie's a hit, they want to make more movies and a TV show that's a prequel to all of those movies. And the movie that's supposed to contain all this madness is shorter than Air Bud.
I guess what I'm really saying is, it all seems excessive for a movie that looks like it's a really expensive gun trick video.
Also follow our new Pictofacts Facebook page! See anything green?
Recommended For Your Pleasure
The main benefit of watching TV is seeing the plight of sad bastards who aren't you.
- By Ian Fortey
- March 10, 2019
The 'wellness' market is thriving right now.
- By Lydia Bugg
- March 08, 2019
Most people have a pretty basic idea of what it's like to be a parent.
- By Seanbaby
- March 15, 2019
There's no shortage of downright absurd conspiracy theories out there.
- By Boone Ashworth
- March 14, 2019
Given everything we know, there's cause to be worried about these movies.
- By Daniel Dockery
- March 20, 2019