In modern cinema, viewers don’t often have the opportunity to witness the finale of a major film franchise. Studios are not too inclined to put full stops in stories, but there are exceptions. Dial of Destiny will be the last film in the adventure series, which has spanned more than 42 years. Maybe someday we will see Indiana Jones on the big screen, but not in the performance of Harrison Ford, the actor says goodbye to an iconic role and to films of this genre.
In general, it is amazing how the “fathers” of Indiana, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg, managed to save the character from the long-awaited reboot all these years and still logically complete his story. At the same time, they also fulfilled the commitment they made back in the late 1970s when they agreed with the Paramount Pictures studio on as many as four sequels to the debut film Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was released in 1981. Paramount still has the rights to distribute the first four films, however, with the purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney, all rights to the sequels have passed to the new owner.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is also the first film in the franchise in which George Lucas does not write the story and Steven Spielberg does not act as a director. Both are executive producers, while James Mangold, known for such recent films as Logan and The Outsiders, directed and wrote the film. He worked together with screenwriter David Koepp, who helped turn the story created by Lucas into the script of the previous film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, on the script of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Although the previous 2008 picture deviated somewhat from the “earthly” adventures of Indiana due to Steven Spielberg’s efforts to bring the charm of his popular films of the 70s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Alien to it and received not too high reviews from critics, the film became the highest-grossing in the entire franchise, earning more than $786 million. But this success did not become an impetus for the faster release of the fifth part. Work on it only began in 2016, with David Koepp leaving and returning to the project, and Spielberg finally giving up the director’s chair in 2020, so the shooting process did not begin until 2021 and was finally completed last year.
The estimated production budget of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny reaches $295 million, making it the most expensive film in the series and one of the most expensive films overall. However, taking into account the ending of the story, Disney may well expect to break the box office, especially since the story itself turned out to be spectacular.
The film begins in 1944, when, during the liberation of Europe by the Allied forces, archaeologist Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr. (Harrison Ford) and his friend and colleague Basil Shaw (Toby Jones) try to prevent the Nazis from obtaining the Lance of Longinus (Spear of Christ), thanks to which they plan to change the course of the war. This is a clear reference to the first movie, and in general, the audience will be provided with such fan service more than once for the entire considerable time frame. However, I do not think that fans of films about Indiana will be against it, on the contrary, this is what you want to see in the finale.
In addition to the spear, Indiana and Shaw come across another, no less valuable relic, which the main anti-hero Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) considers the key to victory, which will correct all the mistakes of the Third Reich.
I’ll note right away that Mads traditionally does a great job as an antagonist, especially since the screenwriters didn’t even need to come up with a background for him. After all, Voller is a fanatical Nazi, and this is enough to form a complete image of the main thief in the imagination of the audience.
At the beginning of the film, you can also see Harrison Ford rejuvenated thanks to computer graphics and artificial intelligence. It is worth noting that not all such scenes turned out well, but the dynamics of the plot do not give many opportunities to see them. In general, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny sometimes seems too dynamic, the events are packed so tightly that it is quite possible to miss a scene by looking at a bag of popcorn in the cinema hall.
The film slows down briefly after the intro as the story shifts to 1969, the US celebrates the Apollo 11 moon landing and Indiana Jones prepares to retire at Hunter College, lecturing bored students who are clearly not interested in history in the atmosphere of space conquest. Indiana is pulled out of this almost oblivion by his goddaughter, Basil’s daughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). She is looking for an artifact that belonged to her father, and she, in turn, is wanted by the master villain Jürgen Voller.
It is worth noting that the image of Helena embodied by Phoebe Waller-Bridge is at first a little lost against the background of the still magnetic charisma of Ford, who even at the age of 80 looks natural in an adventure film. The fact that brute force has never been Indiana’s main advantage plays into the director’s hand here, the main character has always relied on wit, intelligence, and luck. Indiana Jones has not lost it even at a respectable age, which, of course, did not completely untie the hands of the director and screenwriters, but there are enough action scenes in the film.
All in all, there is still some chemistry between Waller-Bridge and Ford. I will add here the excellent debut of the young actor Ethann Isidore, who plays the clever boy Teddy, who accompanies Helena Shaw, and again is a reference to the first Indiana Jones films.
In general, the film has many colorful characters, both familiar ones, such as Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) from the first part of the franchise, and new ones, such as Captain Renaldo (Antonio Banderas). It is a pity that they are given very little screen time.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of the Furious brings to the finale everything that audiences love about this series of adventure films with a healthy dose of fantasy.
There is a mysterious relic, its search around the world with the obligatory flight of a plane over a drawn map, crazy races, fights, a hat and a whip, charismatic heroes, and antagonists. In 2.5 hours of the movie, you get exactly what you expect, plus a touching farewell to the beloved hero.