‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ - A send-off fit for a legend
With as many iconic characters as he’s played, Harrison Ford could very well have hung up his blasters, hat, and trench coat a long time ago. Instead, he’s maintained a firm grip on his legacy, thus far giving each of his legendary roles a proper goodbye. Now with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny the hope is Dr Jones can receive the same treatment, for one last grand adventure.
In terms of his performance, Dial of Destiny definitively cements Ford as the only suitable choice to play the character. Indiana Jones might be known for death-defying stunts, but as an older, more-seasoned explorer, he’s unable to pull off the impossible like he once could. The film takes place at the time of the moon landing, putting Dr Jones in a time and place that’s swiftly moving on without him. Ford leans into the character’s isolation, giving the swashbuckling adventurer more pathos and solace than ever before.
It’s an intimate portrayal, that’s not without history. After a lifetime of near-death experiences, Indy has suffered more than most. The weight of loss is heavy, but the rest of the characters are there to lighten the load. Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays Helena, Indiana’s goddaughter. She’s capable, cunning, and charismatic like any good companion should be, and the two have great chemistry onscreen.
The character work is grand, but for a franchise with five entries in as many decades, what story could warrant the return of Indiana Jones? Dial of Destiny delivers a classic tale of a race against the Nazis to find a long-lost artefact with potential limitless power. While it might be expected, the movie finds a way to make the old feel new. With modern action sensibilities, director James Mangold takes the iconic imagery and gives it a new spin, creating a film that has all the staples audiences love, without feeling like a carbon copy.
Like all Indiana Jones films, your enjoyment will depend on your suspension of disbelief. You might not buy into the action scenes featuring a man well passed the age of retirement, and the film’s digital recreation of a young Harrison Ford isn’t always a convincing illusion. Even with cracks in the foundation, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, is a crowd-pleasing send-off to one of cinemas most iconic characters, being played by the only one who could ever do it.
Rating: Big Screen Watch
Damian Levy is a film critic and podcaster for Damian Michael Movies.