"Unfortunately Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a substantially average final outing for the legendary titular hero."
BY JACK RANSOM JUNE 22, 2023
Donning the hat and dusting off the whip after 15 years away from the silver screen. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny sees archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) races against time to retrieve a legendary dial that can change the course of history. Accompanied by his goddaughter (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), he soon finds himself squaring off against Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen), a former Nazi who works for NASA.
Legacy sequels and banking heavily on nostalgia are currently and have both absolutely dominating Hollywood for the past couple of years. From Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The Matrix Resurrections, Halloween Kills/Ends, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick, Scream (and Scream VI), Jurassic World: Dominion and only just this past week The Flash. So it was somewhat inevitable that Indy would return for his final swan song. It’s just a shame that it could have been more of a resounding triumph than merely shrug worthy.
The retro-adventure structure of the plot is ripe for a welcome throwback, but with an overlong runtime and stretches of dull exploration this charm is neutered, especially with surprise hits such as The Lost City recapturing the goofy essence and fun of the genre effectively. Indy just can’t help but feel tired, even with a fittingly gonzo third act set piece reveal and the smattering of solid emotional moments and smatterings of fan service. It’s a shame that the entire film just feels like it is going through the motions, threatening to be tense but never delivering and only never once touching upon the realm of being as quotable as its original trilogy predecessors.
With James Mangold at the helm the film is solidly crafted there is no doubt. The trailer centrepiece action set pieces at the parade and the chaotic Tuk-Tuk are the highlights and there are some well designed and put together practical sets. It’s just a shame there is also a host of patchy green screen and CGI moments that crop up, as well as an overlong prologue, which not only is shot at night which makes it consistently squint worthy, but also features a de-aged Indy, which honestly proves that we still aren’t quite there yet with technology. John Williams score of course shines through, and the pulpy whip cracks and thwacks of the punches have oomph to them.
Ford clearly still has great affection for the role and he only occasionally looks genuinely grumbled and tired. The hand to hand moments and on foot chases clearly are cut around his age though which is noticeable. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s quick thinking, snappy, cocky and adventurous goddaughter role is probably the highlight and Mads Mikkelsen suitably sneers his way along with gravitas as Voller.
Unfortunately Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a substantially average final outing for the legendary titular hero. A couple of chaotic and energetic action sequences spark investment and the cast have good chemistry, it’s just a shame that the pacing drags to plodding pace during this globe trotting adventure and never once was there any genuine thrills or outright excitement. Should probably have just stayed in the museum.