Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

By: Adam Freed

Rest easy Indiana Jones faithful, The Dial of Destiny is a joyful way to spend an evening at the movies.  The final stanza of Harrison Ford’s monumental 5 film, 42 year saga rekindles much of the fun and absurdity of previous successful franchise installments.  Nervous questions about another Indy reboot became fair game in the wake of  2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  Harrison Ford’s willingness to embrace his age has returned him to bankable leading man at eighty.  The absence of Stephen Spielberg from this final installment, allows for a breath of new life, as James Mangold (Ford vs. Ferrari, Logan) proves more than capable of landing the franchise plane.    

Dial of Destiny features the strongest opening set piece since Raiders of the Lost Ark and astonishes with the first successful application of the much maligned “de-aging” process employed by recent Hollywood fare.  Massive credit needs to be assigned to supporting stalwarts Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round, Casino Royale) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), who carry their considerable screen time with ease.  The time spent with Jones’ god-daughter Helena (Waller-Bridge) is far more than a plot contrivance, but rather feels an important addition to the five film saga.  Mikkelsen adds a villainous gravity to his Dr. Voller that has escaped previous antagonistic renditions.    

Every Indiana Jones film begs audiences to take certain leaps of faith, be it melting Nazis with the Ark of the Covenant or witnessing the healing power of the Holy Grail, cynics have always found the suspension of disbelief to be a barrier to entry.  Dial of Destiny does little to deviate from this pattern which will certainly divide audiences in a third act that will earn as much applause as it may prompt eye rolls.  The bottom line here is that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny atones for many of the ills created by Crystal Skull, yet potentially invents a few of its own. The throngs of forty somethings that grew up asking for a whip and fedora every birthday can rest easy that under the tutelage of James Mangold and a delightfully aged (and de-aged) Harrison Ford, the final adventure of Indiana Jones is one worth taking.