Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Movie Review
Sure, Indiana Jones should have sealed the tomb on the franchise after the 1989 The Last Crusade, but the latest and final entry–Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny–is a moderately satisfying conclusion that has plenty of solid action and a surprisingly effective geriatric turn by Harrison Ford.
Set in the late 60s, Indy has just retired from teaching and is old as fuck. But when his goddaughter (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) shows up looking for a dangerous artifact (no, not him), he’s forced back into action one last time. And yes, there are Nazis.
Nearly half an hour longer than any other Indiana Jones movie, The Dial of Destiny certainly feels long in the tooth–but I was never bored. Still, with any action movie that is as long as this, you have to wonder if the filmmakers really spent the time to hone the script and story as much as they could (see Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One as another example); what would this movie have been had they cut the fat–and cut straight to the chase.
Ford, now 81, of course can’t do half the things he used to do–including looking young. And yet I believed him in the role. He still looks great, and the movie doesn’t attempt to pretend he’s a spry grave robber any more. Thankfully, the movie doesn’t go the Lethal Weapon 4 route either and make a big deal of his age either (“I’m too old for this shit!”). It helps that Ford acts the hell out of the character, too.
He and Waller-Bridge make for a dynamic and unpredictable duo; Waller-Bridge is clearly having fun as she attempts to run circles around her elder, but they have great chemistry with one another. She makes for a much more satisfying pairing than, say, Shia LaBeouf or late-stage Karen Allen.
The action is good. It may not be as good as the action in the aforementioned Mission: Impossible sequel, but that’s okay. It stays true to what made the previous Indiana Jones movies so much fun, and while director James Mangold may not nail the action the way Steven Spielberg is able to, he still delivers several quality sequences that will inch you to the edge of your seat.
Length aside, where Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny does stumble is in the climax. The ending isn’t as silly as a spaceship, but it’s definitely a leap I would have preferred not to have taken. Frankly, I’m surprised Mangold and crew went the direction they did; it’ll leave many rolling their eyes at how outlandish it is.
Faults aside, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a pleasant surprise: Indy may be old, but he’s not down for the count, and this final entry should satisfy most fans of the franchise.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.