‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ Movie Review: A Fun Yet Flawed Nostalgic Adventure

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Movie Review

There are only a few film franchises that have become an integral part of my being, the ones that sparked my love for cinema as a child. And interestingly enough, Harrison Ford has been a significant figure in two of those franchises. However, my experience with Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull was quite traumatizing as a devoted fan of the original Indiana Jones films. Therefore, I cautiously approached the idea of Indiana Jones 5, expecting potential disappointment and keeping my expectations low. So was I pleasantly surprised? Eh. Yes and no.

So what’s the story for Indiana Jones 5? The flick promises an epic thrill ride as Harrison Ford returns to the screen, reprising the iconic role of the adventurous hero archaeologist in the long-awaited final chapter of this beloved franchise.

Take a look at the trailer below. 

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Trailer

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

Curious about the reason behind my “Meh. Yes and no.” Well, let me tell you, going into this movie with low expectations turned out to be a wise choice. Is it an entertaining flick? Without a doubt. Does it overflow with nostalgia? Absolutely. However, it also brings along its fair share of problems I couldn’t overlook.

So let’s dive into it.


Hold on tight because here’s the deal: what made the original Indiana Jones movies so captivating was their grounded-in-reality approach, sprinkled with just the right amount of mysticism. But then, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull came crashing down like the alien spacecraft it was, plummeting fans (specifically this one) into a pit of dismay. It didn’t just jump one measly shark with its big reveal—it jumped a whole school of them, like 80 sharks (one for each year of Harrison Ford’s life).

Now, here’s where Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny comes in, with something in its favor. It manages to stay mostly rooted in reality, at least until the final stretch of the film. Sure, it does go a tad too far in the last third of the film. But, compared to the extreme leaps of Crystal Skull, it doesn’t feel as outrageous as it probably should.

The fourth Indiana Jones movie should have never seen the light of day. And now we’re left questioning whether the fifth installment was even necessary. The truth is, we can never recapture the enchantment of Harrison Ford at the peak of his Indiana Jones glory. The biggest misstep of Dial of Destiny is its desperate attempt to reignite that magic by de-aging Ford for a significant portion of the film’s opening. The special effects didn’t make it buyable and neither did the story. And, even with his “youthful” virtual reality appearance, you can’t help but hear the weariness in his present-day voice, reminding us that time has taken its toll on both the actor and the character.

Indiana Jones 5

But let’s give credit where it’s due. The script does try to tell that story—the story of a worn-out Indy, burdened with a lifetime of regrets amidst a series of epic adventures. He’s not exactly in his prime. And that’s one of the few aspects that actually feels authentic in this movie. Things have hit the fan since we last encountered Dr. Jones, and he’s far from the hero we fondly recall.

But let me get back on track… Is Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny an entertaining tale? Sure, I was entertained. The ending, in particular, was delightful and undeniably satisfying for die-hard fans.

However, here’s the catch: Does it feel like we’re stretching the franchise to its limits just to fill theater seats? Absolutely, without a doubt. And that’s where my concern lies. I know I might come across as a hater. But it’s quite the opposite. I’m a devoted enthusiast of the original films, and in my opinion, they should have been left untouched.

New Movies Coming Out This Week: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios


Without delving into spoilers, I must address one of the significant issues I had with the movie: it presents an Indiana Jones who not only contemplates giving up but also entertains a reckless course of action that could have dire consequences for the world, all for personal reasons. This portrayal is a departure from the Indy I fondly remember. 

Now, I recognize that this isn’t Harrison Ford’s fault. It’s how the character was written for this movie. But everyone is going into this wanting to see the charismatic archaeologist who has become a legendary symbol of nostalgia. And that’s not the Indy we get here.

While Ford’s performance does feel as tired as his character, overall, he delivers a fine performance (especially considering his age and the amount of action). It’s just not nearly as thrilling as his previous times in the role.

The supporting cast all does a solid job as well. Mads Mikkelsen makes a believable villain, Boyd Holbrook does a great job at making you actively hate his character, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge does a great job at making you annoyed to the point you’ve already given up on her – before she finally earns all the consideration and kindness that Indy has been giving her.

And maybe that’s part of the problem here… none of the cast is likable until the film’s end. And again, that’s mostly a script issue – not a performance issue.

Harrison Ford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm


Some of the action sequences, especially the ones where we see Harrison Ford’s entire body, stumble into the treacherous territory of the uncanny valley. And those scenes are borderline painful from a visual standpoint.

However, there are other moments, particularly close-ups of Ford’s de-aged face, where the technology truly shines and delivers a remarkable result (at least in my opinion). Yet, amidst this marvel, a question arises: Why not employ a stunt double for those expansive action scenes and spare us the CGI-ed face of Ford on those full-body shots? A change of perspective or intense close-ups could have been viable alternatives, considering the constraints that special effects technology grapples with. There are options that I feel would have worked better, considering some of the limitations of special effects technology.


When it comes down to it, it’s still Indiana Jones, through and through. It may not claim the title of the franchise’s finest installment. But it’s far from being the worst, either. There is a ton of nostalgia here to remind you of these movies you love so dearly from the 80s, and the movie’s finale couldn’t be a more poetic ending to Indy’s tale.

Yes, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny has its flaws, and I won’t deny my complaints. However, despite these shortcomings, I still believe that this film holds enough merit to warrant a theatrical experience, especially for diehard fans.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Movie Review:

Grade: C+

Note: FanBolt’s Featured Image is fan art created by FanBolt purely for the love of design and fan culture. (We’re movie and design nerds). The property and fandom inspire the artwork, and no infringement is/was intended. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the property of Lucasfilm.


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  1. I agree wholeheartedly, Emma! Long live the original trilogy, and this one gets some points for at least having an interesting story around the artifact and some compelling meditation on the passing of time.