Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Certificate: 12A

Starring: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Antonio Banderas, Toby Jones

Release date: 2023

3 out of 5


More than 40 years after he first wore that iconic fedora in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harrison Ford has revisited arguably his most beloved character, treasure-seeking archaeologist Indiana Jones, for a fifth and final outing.

And while it isn’t quite on a par with the best of Indy (that would be 1981’s Raiders or perhaps 1989’s Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade), this action adventure starring the now 80-year-old actor is, thankfully, miles better than the fourth instalment in the franchise, 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (in fact, let’s forget that one ever existed, shall we?)

Of course, in this instalment, Indiana isn’t the spry, whip-wielding adventurer from the first three movies – it’s 1969 and he’s ready for retirement – but thanks to a prelude set near the end of World War II (featuring some pretty impressive use of stunt doubles and de-ageing technology for Indy), we get to see our hero as we remember him best, outwitting Nazis, punching baddies and even running along the top of a train that’s hurtling through the French countryside.

He’s trying to get his hands on artefacts stolen by the Nazis with the help of pal Basil Shaw (Jones), and amongst the hoard is a gizmo designed by Archimedes, a dial that has been broken into two pieces. Desperate for the dial is Nazi scientist Jurgen Voller (Mikkelsen), and his obsession with the device continues 25 years later and sends Indy – and his goddaughter Helena (Basil’s daughter) – on an late-60s-set adventure to find the dial before Voller does.

Many of the ingredients you would expect from an Indiana Jones movie are here, from impressive set pieces (the train sequence, a horse ride through a city parade, and a chase with a tuk tuk), and bickering reluctant partners (Indy and Helena) to the search for the prize itself, and there are also some nods to the original movies (which we won’t spoil here) to delight fans of Indiana and his friends.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge makes a fun and feisty partner for Ford’s Indiana, and Mikkelsen is all you want in a Nazi villain, but the films doesn’t zip along as much the first three films in the series did. One whole section – featuring a character you expect to be in the movie for much longer than they are – could have been dropped, and that would have at least tightened up the two and a half hour runtime that makes this a good 25 mins longer than any other Indiana Jones movie.

It also feels like one vital ingredient is missing (and we don’t just mean the Dial). The sharp wit than ran through the other movies and made them sparkle from start to finish just isn’t here, and while Ford is just as wry and watchable as he has been in all the movies, the sheer adventurous fun and smart words (and visual jokes) are sadly absent.

It’s still an enjoyable ride, and the last 45 minutes of the movie make for a terrific send off for the character, but while this does help to ease the painful memories of Crystal Skull, Dial of Destiny never rises up to be the five-star finale we’d all hoped it would be.

Is Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

This is a 12A certificate in the UK and does feature scenes of various characters in peril throughout.

A few characters die, and blood and injuries are shown. There are also gunfights, chase scenes and moments that characters (including a child) are in danger (including Indiana nearly being hanged) that may be unsuitable for very young children.

As you’d expect with an Indiana Jones movie, there are also scenes featuring skeletons and creepy crawlies!


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