Synopsis: Archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary artifact that can change the course of history.
Director: James Manigold
Stars: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antoni Banderas
Over the last few months, there has been discussion about a lot of leading ladies of a certain age being successful at the box office — 80 for Brady with Sally Field and Jane Fonda come to mind, as does Book Club: The Next Chapter with Diane Keaton and Candice Bergen. Both of those films were profitable and showed that there is an audience for actors over 40.
Somewhere in the midst of this, Harrison Ford, at the young age of 80, must have been thinking, hold my beer. For the fifth time, he has donned the fedora of the famous archaeologist Indiana Jones and finds himself immersed in the summer blockbuster season. Most movies don’t make it to three films in a series, let alone five, but here we are.
And why not? All the Indiana Jones movies have been profitable, and we know in Hollywood, if something makes money, we are going to see it again and potentially again and again.
And it isn’t like Ford hasn’t had projects recently. Over the last few years, he has reprised his role of Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise, been involved in the Yellowstone universe with 1923 and is a star in the new Apple TV+ show Shrinking.
The new Indiana Jones movie, with a budget of just under $300 million, is big in scope. One would expect nothing less from a collaboration between Disney and Lucasfilm Ltd.
The film begins in the 1940s. Indy is undercover with the Nazis and comes across an ancient artifact. The film wastes little time jumping into the action and the theatrics. There are exciting chases and, of course, our hero gets himself out of a dangerous but very adventurous predicament.
Fast forward about 25 years, and Jones is separated from his wife and is dealing with a loss. He is teaching at a university when his goddaughter, Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) shows up to discuss that mission from all of those years ago.
The two barely have time to reconnect because the Nazis are on their trail. The head baddie is Jurgen Voller, played excellently by Mads Mikkelsen. With roles in Casino Royale and an Academy Award for Best International Film with Another Round, Mikkelsen is always a pleasure to watch, and it’s no different here.
While Jones has been out of the game, just like Michael Corleone, he is pulled back in.
Jones and Voller are after the same thing but for very different reasons. The cat and mouse game is on, and the world is their playing field as the adventure takes them from one location to another.
Blending into this series doesn’t seem like an easy task, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge does it very well.
As for Ford, he shows no signs of slowing down and still delivers strong performances.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a bit of a mixed bag. The challenges with this film aren’t in the acting as much as in the story.
The opening act is very strong with the story development, and the action sequences are great. There are aspects of this film that show an appreciation for the previous films in terms of the types of predicaments Indy finds himself in. The middle act lulls a little, but it prepares the audience for the third act, and that’s where the problem lies.
Without spoiling anything, the story goes off in a direction that may work for some but didn’t for this reviewer. There are aspects of the third act that are very strong but some that are nonsensical.
From a budget standpoint, this film will perform well; it’s just not a better installment than Raiders of the Lost Art or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
If this is the last film in the series, the ending wasn’t satisfying. The film does bring back some previous characters, but the ‘oh, my God!’ moments were missing.
Harrison Fold is a great actor, and the term icon wouldn’t be misplaced when referring to him. That term will be for other roles, not Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.