Incluvie Foundation Gala - Learn More

'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny' (2023)

The intrepid archaeologist's latest adventure is an exciting, nostalgia-driven exploration of clashing ideologies amid ever-changing social dynamics and technological advancements.

Internal Cumbustion 16

3 / 5
3 / 5

Harrison Ford’s return as the titular hero makes this fifth and final installment of the iconic franchise notable in more ways than one. The bravado and confidence with which the octogenarian graces the screen, albeit de-aged via CGI, is sure to prompt fond memories for those old enough to remember being captivated by the youthful archaeologist’s heroics in Raiders of the Lost Ark, released in 1981.

Times certainly have changed, and no one knows that better than Indy himself. With advancements in science, specifically space exploration, making the field of archeology feel like a relic of the past, and on the brink of divorce from his beloved Marian (Karen Allen), Doctor Henry “Indiana” Jones (Harrison Ford), seems poised to retire and live a life of obscurity. This set-up, though far from original, fits within the parameters of the character and his journey, teasing the possibility of a timely and insightful commentary about ageism while also delivering on the adrenaline-fueled action and adventure audiences expect from a film with such an iconic pedigree. The introduction of Indy’s goddaughter, Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), sure seems to serve as a catalyst for such thematic aims. Her youthful, self-absorbed, and impetuous outlook contrasts well with Indy’s unique brand of stoicism, or that which can only be gained through the wisdom of experience.

The character of Doctor Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) also serves as a counterpoint to Indy. As a villain, his interaction with the Hotel Porter, depicted as African American, illustrates just how obsolete and deranged his perspective is. The inherent negativity on display from Doctor Voller actually yields a positive effect—the audience is shown just how vile and dangerous Doctor Voller is, while also being reminded just how far society has grown. Doctor Voller’s stagnation, then, also serves as a cautionary warning for those blinded by hatred and bigotry.

In regard to the overall film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny offers enough action and intrigue to satisfy most viewers, but focusing more on Indy’s emotional and physical difficulties in the face of changing times could have helped remedy some narrative stumbles, including a padded running time and third-act that may leave some viewers dissatisfied.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is available on Disney+, Vudu, and Prime Video.