Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate is the story of an elderly professor of archeology in search of peace. Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones (Harrison Ford) has decided to retire. During the free festivities, Indy’s goddaughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) re-enters her life in search of a treasure that once belonged to her father. What complicates matters is that Shaw rushes to find the mysterious relic before an extremist group of ex-Nazis get their hands on it. Reluctantly, Jones saddles up one last time and embarks on a global hunt to find the artifact and save the world once again.
What works in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate is Harrison Ford’s commitment to the role and the return of his greatest ally: composer John Williams (Star Wars, Superman). Considering this franchise spans over 40 years across five movies, there’s something awe-inspiring about Ford donning the fedora during an encore. Indiana Jones still has the charismatic detective audience cues that audiences fell in love with decades ago, and Ford knows exactly how to harness those traits. It also helps that Williams provides new renditions of his iconic score to make the proceedings – which can often get silly – feel epic in nature.
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Audiences who equate Indiana Jones with pulpy fun may not appreciate Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate as much as the others. Although a natural extension of the character, this Jones is weary of a world that rejected him. He is gruff, sullen and cynical. The twinkle in his eyes is gone, which makes him a little harder to root for reasons other than nostalgia. His motives are also murky. Jones constantly casts skepticism on fantastic assumptions, but then goes to great lengths to act on them. For example, Jones doesn’t believe the MacGuffin works as prophesied, but he nevertheless fights across the world to stop the Nazis from reaching it. These problems are compounded by giant storylines full of inconsistencies and conveniences. Considering the strength of (most) previous films in the franchise, people may feel frustrated with this latest chapter.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate is an opportunity to say goodbye to a character who has entertained for years. Unfortunately, this farewell could confirm for some that the franchise should have stopped when it was ahead.
Recommended if you liked: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate is available exclusively in theaters starting June 30.