Daredevil archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary dial that can change the course of history. Accompanied by his goddaughter, he soon finds himself squaring off against Jürgen Voller, a former Nazi who worked for NASA.
I’ve been a fan of the Indiana Jones movies for as long as I can remember. Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade in particular are two of my all-time favorite movies. Harrison Ford is also one of my favorite actors. Even Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a movie that I enjoy despite its many flaws. When Disney announced that they were making a fifth and final Indiana Jones movie, I honestly wasn’t sure what to think. The trailers didn’t win me over and even the title of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny sounded weird. Despite that, I was hopeful that the movie could still be good. With James Mangold taking over for Steven Spielberg as the director, I had enough faith that it would at least be better than the fourth film. Unfortunately, when the movie had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and got mixed to negative reviews, I was nervous about the quality of the film. After all the toxicity that surrounded the Star Wars sequel trilogy, I was at least hoping that Indiana Jones would get a better reception. Despite the negative buzz surrounding the film, I still decided to give Disney and James Mangold the benefit of the doubt and I am happy to say that the movie was much better than I expected.
In this movie, we see Indiana Jones at his absolute lowest. His son Mutt died and his wife Marion is now divorcing him. He is also retiring as a professor, with the job not being nearly as satisfying anymore due to his students and colleagues only being interested in what is new, particularly the Apollo 11 moon landing. However, Indy’s life takes a turn when Helena Shaw, the daughter of his recently deceased old friend Basil Shaw comes to ask him about the Antikythera (AKA Archimedes’ Dial), an artifact that Indy and her father stole from the Nazis during the end of World War II. After showing her the half of the dial in his possession, Helena steals it so she can auction it off to the highest bidder. Making matters worse, a group of Neo-Nazis led by the former Nazi scientist Jürgen Voller are also attempting to steal the Dial and run into Indy and Helena. After the Nazis leave a trail of bodies during their pursuit of Indy and Helena, Indy is framed for murder and must now team up with Helena (along with her sidekick Teddy) to find the other half of the Antikythera before Voller and the Nazis can use it to change the course of history to a world where the Nazis won the war, making Indy’s final adventure quite possibly his most important one.
Like always, Indiana Jones is an absolute joy to watch. Even during Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I enjoyed seeing the character. There is a reason why he is so iconic. No matter how goofy these movies got, Indy always kept the story grounded with his down-to-earth and snarky personality. Dial of Destiny might honestly be my favorite story with Indy in regards to his character. With how he lost Mutt and is going through a possible divorce with Marion, it is very easy to root for Indy here. You just feel so sorry for him in this film. Indy has always been in a good place both mentally and physically in the previous four films, so taking mostly everything away from him really makes you want to see him get it all back. It is always a risk when these types of stories are done. As seen with the Star Wars sequel trilogy, people may not be as accepting of seeing their childhood heroes go through a tough time. However, I think it definitely works here. It’s important to understand that Indy isn’t an immortal superhero or a demigod. He’s a normal archeologist who risks his life to find artifacts. While it is extremely dangerous for him to go through deadly temples and fight armies of Nazis, Indy is still human. The film might be Indy’s most personal story (rivaled only by The Last Crusade). When the film does end, it’s beyond rewarding to see him reconcile with Marion. He never gets to keep the artifacts in these movies but he has never wanted that. Whether it’s a fully realized relationship with his father or a romantic partnership with Marion, the companions on Indy’s adventure and his relationship with them have always been the true reward for Indy. Harrison Ford’s love for Indy has always been shown with these films and it is even more apparent with his performance in Dial of Destiny. While the actor has been mostly indifferent towards his other iconic characters like Han Solo, he has always put so much passion and effort into the iconic archaeologist and this film was a phenomenal swan song for him.
Helena Shaw has proven to be quite the divisive character. Even before the movie came out, many toxic fans declared that the movie would be terrible simply because Phoebe Waller-Bridge was playing her. After the movie came out, she still wasn’t as accepted as the filmmakers would have hoped. Many people found her unlikeable and a boring companion compared to the other characters who have traveled on Indy’s adventures with him. However, I personally loved her. Helena Shaw is the daughter of Indy’s late friend Basil. She grew up in a rather uncomfortable and somewhat unloving household. Her mother is implied to have died and her father had been driven mad by the dangerous power of Archimedes’ Dial. While Basil obsessed over how the effects of the artifact could be catastrophic if it fell into the wrong hands, Helena was stuck watching her father lose his sanity and was told very little about what was going on by Basil or Indy, who visited them when he able to but could never commit to looking out for Helena and Basil due to having his own busy life. Years later Helena grew up into a troublemaking treasure thief, who steals artifacts and other priceless items from people to sell them off to the highest bidder. Accompanied by her sidekick Teddy, Helena serves almost as a mirror to Indy when he was younger. The only difference is that while Indy always made sure that the artifact was to be preserved in a museum, Helena mainly cared about the money. When she gets Indy caught in the middle of her search for the Antikythera, she is initially very closed off and rude towards him, seeing him as someone who is just in her way of making a huge profit. When Voller and his group of Nazis become more of a problem for her, she accepts Indy’s help, but only for the time being, and still plans to sell the Dial. However, when she finds out that Indy lost his son and might be getting a divorce she begins to have a change of heart and warms up to the archeologist. She even starts changing her views as the film goes on. The ending in which she saves Indy from the Nazis and gets him out of the past shows just how much she cares for him. I personally loved Helena as a character and think she had a great story of getting over her greed. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was fantastic as the character. I may be the only one, but I’d love a spin-off series or movie with her.
Teddy serves as Indy’s third companion during the film. Teddy is a skilled pickpocket with a deep fascination with flying. He first met Helena while trying to rob her but eventually hit it off with her, with him even becoming her partner. While I really enjoy the characters in this movie, I think Teddy is easily the weakest one. The character felt like a discount Short Round at several points, which I understand is what they were probably going for but I never felt like he belonged in the film. He causes more problems than anything and doesn’t really contribute much. He isn’t annoying but he isn’t that memorable either. I think the actor did a decent job but Teddy is probably the weakest of the companions within the entire franchise. I may have hated characters like Mutt and Willie Scott, but I at least remembered them. Teddy was just a forgettable character who seemed like he was there to capture the magic of Short Round (and failed to do so).
Jürgen Voller serves as the main antagonist of the film. A former Nazi, Voller had met Indy during his final adventure in World War II, in which the archeologist was able to steal the Antikythera from the Nazis while they tried to get hundreds of priceless artifacts onto a train away from the Allied army. When Voller attempted to get the Dial from Indy at gunpoint, he was knocked off the train in a humiliating defeat and could only watch in disappointment as the Nazi party completely disappeared after the war. Years later after escaping capture, he was recruited by the United States government to help NASA get to the moon before the Soviet Union did. Voller succeeded in doing so but was still angered at the fact that Germany did not win World War II. He blamed Adolf Hitler for losing the war and believed that the Nazi Party could have thrived as an empire if Hitler was never in charge during that time. Voller grew an obsession over the Antikythera, having known that it could send anyone back in time, and hatched a plan to use the Dial to travel back to 1939 to kill Hitler and install himself as the leader of the Nazis to make sure that they won World War II. Now a professor at the University of Alabama under the cover identity of Schmidt, Voller leads a small but ruthless group of Neo-Nazis to look for the Antikythera and kill anyone who gets in his way, including the very same government agents who hired him to get the country to the moon. Assisted by his psychotic and trigger-happy right-hand man Klaber (played brilliantly by Boyd Holbrook), Voller pursues Indy and Helena to get the Dial from them. After succeeding in doing so, Voller captures Indy and takes him on the plane they are using to travel back in time to kill Hitler. To the absolute horror of the Nazi scientist, the Dial only takes them back to the Siege of Syracuse and he along with his henchmen are killed when the Roman army shoots down his plane. Voller is a fantastic villain and might just be the best villain in the series since Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He has a very stone-cold personality throughout the film which is hilariously dropped as his plan fails, he shows himself to be nothing more than a screaming racist coward like with any other Nazi. Like always, Mads Mikkelson gives an amazing performance as the villain. Voller is everything you love to hate in a villain and is a perfect final antagonist for the franchise.
For the full cast list, you can visit IMDB by clicking here.
In all honesty, I was very conflicted about this film when it was announced that it was coming out. I was worried that it would be a worse sendoff than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The rumors of horrible test screenings and the mixed reception at the Cannes Film Festival did not do it any favors in my eyes. However, I honestly loved the movie after seeing it. While other people might feel differently, I think it is absolutely worth the hype.
1. I loved the opening in which Indy takes back the Antikythera from the Nazis. It felt like I was watching an action scene from the original trilogy.
2. The scene in which Voller gets reintroduced is extremely tense. We see him harass a black waiter by asking him his country of origin and bitterly remarking that the waiter didn’t win World War II but rather Hitler lost it. It shows just how much of a snake he is on top of being a Nazi.
3. The scene in which Indy escapes Klaber and the Neo-Nazis was fantastic. I enjoyed the use of the parade as a set piece and seeing Indy ride a horse through the subway station was a fun moment that left me on the edge of my seat.
4. Seeing Sallah come to Indy’s aid was such a delight. It’s always a treat to see John Rhys Davies come back as the character. Despite him not having played the role since 1989, it doesn’t even feel like a day since he last appeared as Sallah. I especially loved how Indy was revealed to have gotten him and his family into the United States.
5. After meeting up with Helena, she and Indy chase Voller through the streets on auto rickshaw cars for the Dial. The scene is so chaotic and a great deal of fun. I especially love how an ex-fiancé of Helena shows up out of nowhere and attempts to kill her after she abandoned him and stole his wedding ring.
6. Voller killing the CIA agents who hired him was a great villain scene and showed just how far he was willing to go to bring back the Nazi regime.
7. In probably my favorite scene in the movie, Indy and Helena are on the boat to find the next clue that will lead them to the other half of the Antikythera. When Helena jokingly asks where Indy would go if he could travel back in time, he tearfully states that he would try to stop Mutt from enlisting in the army to fight in the Vietnam War. He reveals that his son did it to anger him after an argument and that it led to him being unable to properly console Marion and led to their current situation of possibly being divorced. This scene has honestly become one of my favorite moments of acting from Harrison Ford in any movie that he’s been in. He normally plays such bold and confident characters that you don’t really see a tear-jerking scene like this from him. It genuinely caught me off guard and remains my favorite scene in the film and one of my favorite moments in the entire series.
8. In the tradition of showing a scene with a creepy animal that serves as an obstacle for Indy, this movie gives us eels. With how closely they resemble snakes, it was so much fun to see Indy freak out over them.
9. The film drops small foreshadowing hints of the characters traveling back in time such as the watch that Archimedes wears in his tomb and the dragon in the puppet show in Sicily which later turns out to be Voller’s plane that the ancient Romans think is a monster.
10. It was fun to see Indy work together with Helena to find the dial once they entered the tomb. I particularly love the moment when they sing the music to a Beethoven song to get the right echo.
11. After Indy is captured due to staying behind to give his companions time to escape, Helena and Teddy risk their lives to save him. It’s a nice moment in the film as these two would not have done that for him if this was earlier in the film.
12. Voller takes Indy onto the plane at his secret base. Seeing the villains get into their 1930s Nazi costumes was such a creepy moment. John Williams once again nailed it with the score like always.
13. Indy realizes that Voller is wrong about the Dial and bursts into a fit of laughter when he finds out that they are heading into the Siege of Syracuse instead of 1939. I love how much he taunts the Nazis during this scene for their stupidity. It was absolutely hilarious.
14. After remaining relatively composed throughout the movie, Voller starts to freak out when he realizes they may be going to the wrong time period. He calms down and becomes elated when he thinks that his plan worked, only to freak out even more when his fears are confirmed. It was hilarious and so satisfying to see Voller crack after being so smug throughout the film.
15. Helena drops the majority of the Nazis from the plane to their deaths. It is such a brutal yet satisfying moment. I especially love how one Nazi manages to grab onto her and nearly take her down with him only for Indy to shoot him off of her.
16. Voller loses all of his composure and attempts to escape the plane crashing by stealing the parachute from Indy, only for Helena to wound him with her gun. Meanwhile, Klaber is just shooting at the Romans like an idiot.
17. Voller and Klaber die a fiery death after the plane crashes when the Roman army takes it down. I love how the franchise stays consistent by making the artifact the thing that does the villain in rather than the characters.
18. Indy and Helena parachute to the ground and witness the siege happening while also meeting Archimedes himself. It was amazing to see Indy in such awe of everything. Knowing how much he loves history and wishes to preserve it, this is such a huge moment for him.
19. After forcefully being brought back to the present time by Helena, Indy is initially upset as he has nothing left in his time. However, his mood changes when Marion returns after being called by Helena. The two manage to reconcile while Helena, Teddy, Sallah, and his grandchildren leave the two alone to go get ice cream. The final lines of dialogue in the film have Indy and Marion recreate the iconic “Where doesn’t it hurt” scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was a beautiful moment and so rewarding to see him get back to Marion in the end, this time permanently.
20. The final shot of the film has Indy grab his fedora hanging on the clothesline outside, signifying that while this may be Indy’s goodbye, Harrison Ford will always be the iconic character that we all know and love and no one will ever replace him. Harrison Ford is and will always be Indiana Jones.
1. As many people have criticized the movie for, there is a subplot in which Indy becomes a fugitive for the murders committed by Voller’s group of Nazis. You’d think this would be a huge plot point but it is never resolved or even brought up again. By the end of the movie, Indy may as well still even be a fugitive. I’m not even sure why they threw in the story of him being wanted by the police. It doesn’t add anything to the story and you could cut that subplot and miss absolutely nothing. There was literally no reason to do this. They could have given a passing mention of the CIA clearing his name but we are literally given nothing to go with at the end in regards to it.
2. There are several times during the movie in which a character gets what would otherwise be a life-threatening injury but shrugs it off like it was nothing. Indy gets accidentally shot by Basil during the opening flashback of the film and he doesn’t even seem to be in pain. Voller gets injured as well during the opening as he is violently knocked off the train by a passing lamppost to the face and he not only turns up completely fine but doesn’t even have a scar or anything because of it. He even gets shot by Helena at the end and is only knocked back by it a little. I understand that the characters have survived many ridiculous things during the series. Heck, we’ve seen Indy survive a nuclear blast by hiding in a fridge and walking away completely unscathed, but there should at least be some consequences for the injuries the characters experience in this film. You still want the movie to have stakes.
3. As stated before I’m really not a fan of Teddy. I don’t think he’s unbearable but he really isn’t that fun of a character. We already had a much better kid sidekick in the movie and Teddy mostly just complains about Helena starting to sway towards Indy’s way of thinking. We don’t even get that much detail of his backstory with Helena. She just mentions that he tried to steal her bag and that’s literally it. His worst moment occurs when he runs off for no reason and gets captured by Voller. Aside from being the one who gets Indy and Helena returned to the present, Teddy just leaves so little of an impression.
4. Antonio Banderas really is just wasted in this movie. Banderas plays Renaldo, an old friend of Indy who provides the three with a boat to find the next clue of finding the Dial. Unfortunately, he is killed by Voller once they are captured. I don’t even know why they cast such an amazing actor if they weren’t going to do anything with him. It’s nice to see Banderas at all but he deserved much more than just being a minor side character who gets quickly killed off.
5. Throughout the film, Voller and Klaber are accompanied by this large hulking Neo-Nazi named Hauke. The character serves as the main muscle of the villains and is a very menacing presence throughout the movie. You’d think that he’d get a big fight scene and an outlandish death, but he’s just outwitted by Teddy and left to drown when handcuffed to an underwater grate. There was so much potential with this character. Whenever we saw the big tough henchman character in the other movies we always remembered them and their gruesome death scenes, such as the buff Nazi mechanic who gets torn apart by plane propellers and the brute Thuggee guard who gets crushed by a steam roller. The character here just wasn’t used much, unfortunately. I’m not asking for a huge fight with him and Indy as Ford obviously can’t make something like that believable anymore but we should have been given something at least a little more exciting with this character.
6. While Voller’s breakdown and humiliating defeat at the end are entertaining and satisfying to watch, his death scene is surprisingly very underwhelming. Whenever the big bad of an Indiana Jones movie died in the previous films, it was a spectacularly gruesome scene. From Belloq having his head explode to Donovan rapidly aging to death, the Indiana Jones villains always had such a brutal death at the climax of each of the films. However, Voller just died in the plane crash and the most we get is seeing his charred corpse. While it is satisfying to see that and they do at least get a tiny bit graphic with the way his corpse looks, it is very tame for this series. A character like Voller should have been given the most gruesome death in the entire series. He was a full-blown Nazi who tried to change history to where Germany won the war and took over the world. If there’s anyone in these movies who deserved a massively brutal end it would definitely be him. As is, the death scene is fine but it could have been so much more gruesome along the lines of the previous entries in the series.
7. Helena knocks out Indy and forces him to leave the past when he refuses to go with her. While it is nice to see Helena care so much about Indy, he really should have been given the choice on his own.
It’s honestly hard to say whether or not I’d recommend this movie. I loved it and think it’s a fitting end to the series. However, if there’s anything I’ve learned with Lucasfilm fans over the past decade it’s that they are very hard to please. Personally, I would recommend this movie to casual moviegoers and fans of Indiana Jones. If you want to see the iconic archeologist go on one last adventure you’ll have a great time. However, if your mind is made up on the content put out by Lucasfilm after they were bought by Disney and think that they are beyond saving, I don’t know if this will win you over, to be honest.
I went into this movie with very low expectations and was expecting very little. However, I was blown away by what the film offered. As a die-hard fan of Indiana Jones, it had everything that I wanted and more. In my opinion, this is the third-best film in the series after Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is an absolute blast and a perfect final farewell to Harrison Ford’s most iconic character.