Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny l Review by: Benjamin Garrett
Legacy sequels are tricky. They’re tasked with pleasing a long-standing fan base, while also giving audiences something fresh and modern. Dial of Destiny is Indy’s second crack at a legacy sequel, and while it learns from many of the last entry’s mistakes, it doesn’t innovate in ways you’d expect from a 40+ year old franchise.
Seeing Harrison Ford don the iconic whip and hat once again sent a wave of nostalgia coursing through my veins. The aging action hero has been done many times before, but Ford really fits the bill here. He plays Indy’s internal struggle quite well. Torn between wanting to hang up his hat, and upholding a self-appointed responsibility to keep his family and friends safe. Indy has lived a life full of adventure, love, and loss. Ford conveys all of that beautifully with an outstanding final performance. Phoebe Waller Bridge brings her signature witty and comedic energy to contrast Ford’s crotchety demeanour, making for an unlikely but very entertaining duo. Mads Mikkelson steps into the villain role with ease, bringing a calm but menacing presence that elevates his performance over typical bad guy fair.
There are plenty of thrilling stunts and set pieces, but many rely heavily on digital effects. Because CGI is used so often, it breaks the sense of wonder that a globe trotting adventure should have, and left me yearning for a more old fashioned style of filmmaking. The de-aging work in the extended opening sequence is the best use of the technology to date. It still isn’t perfect though, and because your mind knows you aren’t really watching a young Harrison Ford, it can be distracting. The movie shines when it’s relying on practical sets and effects, which I wish it did a little more. There were moments I truly felt like I was watching scenes from Raiders or The Last Crusade, and hearing John Williams legendary score play beneath it all… that really took me back.
The third act takes the story in a wild direction. It’s very silly - even by Indy standards - but for me, this is when the film offered some of the most fun, daring and original moments. I’m still on the fence about how well this big final sequence actually worked, but I admire the boldness of what will certainly be a very divisive plot point. Everything that came before was decent fun, but felt like well worn ground the series has covered before.
Dial of Destiny is a fitting farewell to cinema’s favourite archeologist, even if this final adventure is all too safe and familiar. Despite missing the benchmark set by the first 3 films, it still does right by the franchise’s legacy. If you ask me, I’d say that’s “Okey dokey Dr. Jones!”
Review by: Benjamin Garrett
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