The famed archeologist goes on one last adventure in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. On the date of his retirement in 1969, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is reunited with his goddaughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) for the first time in nearly two decades. Shaw is looking for information about Archimedes' Dial, a relic recovered by her father Basil (Toby Jones) during the Second World War. Also interested in the dial is Nazi-turned-NASA scientist Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen), who wants to use the dial's supposed ability to detect fissures in time to change the outcome of World War II.
When Voller gets ahold of the half of the dial that he had in his possession, Indiana Jones reluctantly joins Helena to search for the second half. Jones is assisted in this adventure by his old ally Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) and Spanish diver Renaldo (Antonio Banderas). It becomes a literal race against time as Voller is also attempting to acquire the second half.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Synopsis
More than four decades after Raiders of the Lost Ark and fifteen years after Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indiana Jones returns for a fifth and final adventure, with James Mangold (Logan, Ford v Ferrari) taking over directorial duties from Steven Spielberg, who remains on board as an Executive Producer. The film begins with a prologue set in 1944, where Indiana Jones and his fellow archaeologist Basil Shaw attempt to retrieve the Lance of Longinus from a Nazi plunder train commanded by Colonel Weber (Thomas Kretschmann). It is here where Jones first comes in contact with Jürgen Voller and his obsession with Archimedes' Dial, which Jones and Basil recover.
25 years later, a much more grizzled Indiana Jones has stepped away from adventuring and is about to retire from his role as an archaeology professor. However, Jones is dragged back into action when his goddaughter Helena ends up stealing Archimedes' Dial and CIA agent Mason (Shaunette Renée Wilson) makes it appear that Jones was responsible for both the theft and the collateral damage caused by the very trigger-happy henchman Klaber (Boyd Holbrook). Despite discovering that Helena and her child accomplice Teddy Kumar (Ethann Isidore) are criminals interested in selling the dial on the black market, Indiana Jones reluctantly helps them to find the second half of the dial before it is acquired by Voller.
My Thoughts on Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
In addition to featuring a plot that partially involves time travel, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a film that is literally fighting against time, as Harrison Ford becomes too old to believeably resume the role of Indiana Jones. While the film takes place only 33 years after the 1936 setting of Raiders of the Lost Ark, as opposed to the actual real-world chronology of 42 years, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny still takes the nearly 81-year-old Harrison Ford's age into account for what is being reported to be his final time playing Indiana Jones.
While there is much debate surrounding which films in the Indiana Jones franchise are the best or worst, with 2008's Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in my opinion, being unfairly lumped in the latter, I will say that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a film that firmly settles in the middle. This is a completely fine film in the franchise, which can neither be described as the best nor the worst. Frankly, I would say that enjoyment of this film is probably dependent on how much nostalgia you have for the other four films in the franchise.
Arguably, I would say that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny peak in the film's opening prologue. While there can be just criticism about using digital de-aging to make Harrison Ford look like he did four decades ago, the prologue is the section that feels the most like an Indiana Jones film. When the action switches to 1969, there is something about the film that feels too modern. However, that can be read as part of the point of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny as, by this point, time has passed for adventurers like Indiana Jones.
Harrison Ford is joined in the cast by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Solo: A Star Wars Story) as Indiana Jones' goddaughter Helena Shaw, who turns out to be a character who straddles the line between ally and antagonist, as Helena reveals herself to be a bit of grifter whose more interested about seeing artifacts on the black market. The film also features a sadly quite brief appearance by Antonio Banderas as Jones' old diving friend Reneldo. The film also features a few returning legacy characters, including John Rhys-Davies making his return as former Egyptian digger Sallah, now living in the United States with Jones. Finally, Mads Mikkelsen ends up being quite solid as the villain Jürgen Voller, which marks the return of Nazis as the primary Indiana Jones antagonists.
While Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a film that arguably arrives way after the franchise's expiry dates, it still doesn't end up being a terrible film. However, despite making for a fine matinee, this film definitely confirms that it is time for the Indiana Jones franchise to end.