‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ has left film critics divided: “Indy deserved better”

Some reviews, however, praised the final instalment as offering “exactly what you expect from an Indiana Jones adventure”

Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny has received mixed reviews from critics, with some hailing it as delivering a “sweet blast of pure nostalgia”, while others have declared it to be a “complete waste of time”.

The latest offering marks the fifth and final instalment of the Indiana Jones franchise, and sees acting legend Harrison Ford return to the role of the daring adventurer at the age of 80.

With the first part of the movie being set in 1944, Dial Of Destiny kicks off with the whip-cracking archaeologist looking to retrieve one half of the Antikythera – an ancient dial built by Archimedes – from a Nazi scientist (played by Mads Mikkelsen). The remainder of the film ventures forward to 1969, where Jones partners up with his goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) to locate and retrieve the other half, and potentially alter the course of history.


Over four decades since the original Raiders Of The Lost Ark film hit the silver screen, the latest instalment is the first of the sequels not to be directed by Steven Spielberg – with James Mangold now taking the reins. It also marks the first new film to be added to the franchise since 2008’s poorly-performing Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, which featured performances from Cate Blanchette and Shia LeBeouf.

The reviews for Dial Of Destiny – set for general release on June 30 – have already come flooding through, and while most agree that the film is an improvement on its predecessors, generally the latest effort has left critics divided.

Taking a harsh approach to the new Harrison Ford-led film, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote: “Not only is Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny an almost complete waste of time, it’s also a belaboured reminder that some relics are better left where and when they belong.” He also criticised the script as playing it safe, and suggested that the franchise should have come to a close much before 2023.

Sharing his negative outlook on the film was Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph, who described it as feeling “like a counterfeit of priceless treasure”. “The shape and the gleam of it might be superficially convincing for a bit, but the shabbier craftsmanship gets all the more glaring the longer you look,” he said. “The film is loaded with mayhem but painfully short on spark and bravado: there’s no shot here, nor twist of choreography, that makes you marvel at the filmmaking mind that conceived it.”

The Times’ Kevin Maher agreed: “The good news is that it’s not as poor as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The bad news is that it’s not much better,” he wrote. “Ford […] remains on charisma overload. Even when the machine around him is on autopilot, he brings his weathered gravitas to perhaps his most significant character. Inevitably he, and Indy deserved better.”


Harrison Ford
Actor Harrison Ford attends “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” Japan Premiere at the National Yoyogi Gymnasium on June 5, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan. The film will open on June 21 in Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/ WireImage)

Empire magazine on the other hand celebrated the Mangold-directed effort and awarded it a four-star rating in its review. “For this first Spielberg-less outing, all the hallmarks of the series are there as you’d hope them to be, lovingly preserved like archaeological treasures: there is an ingenious and elaborate booby-trapped cave system, there is a throwback map sequence, and there are plenty of Nazis, ready for the punching. But there is also some sadness and regret, a man out of time, finally running out of time, and surveying the ruins of his life; a tone that sometimes feels unusually sombre for this kind of blockbuster.”

The Independent shared this view, explaining that while “the film itself is sprawling and very uneven”, it succeeds in offering viewers “exactly what you expect from an Indiana Jones adventure: chases, explosions and an epic fight sequence on top of a runaway train.”

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny made its premiere at this year’s edition of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival earlier this week, and will be available in theatres on June 30.

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