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'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny' Review: A Bumpy, but Satisfying Conclusion

Courtesy of Lucasfilm

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the fifth and final Indiana Jones that is now directed by James Mangold this time. The movie stars Harrison Ford, Mads Mikkelson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, John Rhys-Davies, Toby Jones, and Antonio Banderas. In this movie, Indiana Jones is struggling with some of the changes in his life and around him. He gets pulled into a new adventure with his goddaughter Helena Shaw. This is the first Indiana Jones movie to be distributed by Disney after Disney purchased Lucasfilm back in 2012.

I love the original three Indiana Jones movies. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is one of my top five favorite movies. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had good ideas, and I didn’t mind the addition of Mutt Williams, but the movie had wasted potential. My concern before seeing this movie wasn’t because of that movie though. It’s been how the Star Wars movies and shows have gone since Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney. Some of the stuff was good, but some of it also wasn’t good. Could Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny fall into this category?

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is better than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The special effects are better, and the villain is way better. Mads Mikkelson plays Dr. Voller, a Nazi that Indiana Jones confronted back at the end of World War II. Voller wants the Dial to go back in time to make Germany wins World War II. The opening act where younger Indiana Jones is facing the Nazis, is the best part of the movie. The de-aging for Harrison Ford, for the most part, is good, although it looks off a couple of times when Ford is moving around.

Harrison Ford continues to be great as Indiana Jones. The world around him is changing between college kids being more interested in the moon landing happening than archeology. He’s having some problems with his marriage. While he’s 80, Jones is still doing crazy stuff, whether it’s riding horses in subways or getting involved in chases. Mangold makes some choices with Indiana Jones that will likely divide audiences. John Rhys-Davies returns as Sallah for a little bit in the film. Despite his small appearance, he continues to be a charming and loyal friend to Indiana Jones. While the action isn’t as exciting as the previous movies, it’s still fun to watch.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays Helena Shaw, Indiana Jones’s goddaughter who he goes on an adventure with. Helena Shaw for the first half of the film she is in was the worst companion Indiana Jones had, even more annoying than Willie Scout in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. She comes across as unlikable and selfish, always talking down to Indiana Jones. Her character does get better and turns things around. She has this kid following her around named Teddy that tries to be like Short Round, but isn’t as likable and useful as Short Round.

The other main issue I had with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is this movie was way too long. Most Indiana Jones movies are around two hours. Before this movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the longest at two hours and eight minutes. Some scenes could have easily been shorter. For example, this one chase sequence after Indiana Jones confronts these guys in Tangier went too long and for the first time, I felt a chase scene in an Indiana Jones movie was too long. Some parts of the third act felt too long as well.

Overall, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is not the best conclusion to a movie series, but manages to still deliver a satisfying conclusion. Harrison Ford gave one of his most emotional performances as Indiana Jones. Mads Mikkelson delivers another good villain performance. Phoebe Wall-Bridge as Helena Shaw was a mixed bag, but luckily her character ends on a high note. Mangold keeps some of the charm and spirit Stephen Spielberg started in 1981 with Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. At the same time, Mangold’s tone also has a presence in this movie.

My final grade for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a B. It’s better than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but still not on the same level as the first three Indiana Jones movies. If you’re an Indiana Jones fan, I recommend you check it out.

What did you think of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny? Let us know in the comments below.

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