An aging archaeologist searches for a legendary artifact in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
In 1944, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) was hot on the trail of the famed Antikythera mechanism, also known as the Archimedes Dial, when his efforts were interrupted by Nazi officer Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen). Neither of them end up with it.
Twenty-five years later, Jones gets his chance for redemption when Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), the daughter of his old friend Basil (Toby Jones), shows up with the pieces needed to recover the renowned relic. The two team up to find it, unaware that they’re not alone. Indy’s old Nazi nemesis Voller plans to right past wrongs by acquiring the device first.
The fifth and reportedly final film in this famed franchise serves as a raucously rousing send-off for both its iconic character and main star. Some fans and pundits are lamenting the fact that, this time around, Steven Spielberg isn’t at the helm. Frankly, I don’t see what all of the fuss is about given that Spielberg was onboard for the fourth film — the entirely forgettable Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That one nearly sunk the unsinkable Jones storyline for good.
This installment comes from director James Mangold, and he delivers the goods. Let me first point out that I’m not the biggest fan of Indy films. The only one that I would give a solid thumbs up to is the third film — Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It gave the audience not only a slew of memorable stunts, but also a much more engaging backstory along with far more entertaining character interaction. Much of that was due to the incomparable performance of Sean Connery as the elder Doctor Jones.
This entry rockets boldly out of the gate and never relents. The opening act is a masterwork of technology presenting a de-aged Ford looking every bit as believable as his current-day self. The only sign that it’s not all genuine is when this younger Indy speaks with the raspy overtones of the older actor. Thankfully, the surrounding electrifying action doesn’t allow for much in the way of distraction. The end result is an immersive experience only dreamed about previously. Adding perfectly to the mix is a score that guarantees all butts are planted firmly forward in their seats. The only thing missing from this winning recipe is the engaging interplay that so dominated the third film. Even so, the rest of the journey is full of engaging moments, memorable callbacks and more than a few hearty laughs.
Ford has stated on multiple occasions that this is the end of the line for the intrepid archaeologist. “When I’m gone, he’s gone.” While I’m sure that he might actually believe that, I don’t know that anyone else buys it. Disney may choose to wait until the 80-year-old actor does indeed pass, but I don’t think that they’ll wait too long. This franchise is far too lucrative and fertile a field to leave untended. An eventual reboot seems inevitable, and if Mangold is still around and interested, I’m certain that the audience will be, too.