A star rating of 4 out of 5.

The man in the hat is back. Harrison Ford’s iconic archeologist returns for one last crusade in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. It’s fair to say that 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull didn’t exactly please critics, with Indy hiding in a fridge to survive a nuclear blast and meeting aliens. Thankfully, Dial of Destiny has more weight to it, with Ford an ageing version of the character, now living in New York at the tail-end of the '60s, just as Buzz Aldrin and co are about to land on the moon. And, no, before you ask, Indiana Jones does not jet into space.


He’s flying solo these days, with a marriage in the bin and a heart that aches. His days of treasure hunting in tombs seem long gone. But then along comes Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), his goddaughter. She’s the offspring to Basil Shaw (Toby Jones), the Oxford professor, archeologist and friend to Indy who is seen in the film’s opening gambit, a 1944-set sequence, in which Indy (a drastically de-aged Ford) is vying for the blade that drew Christ’s blood as his old foe, the Nazis, ransack European antiquities.

Indy hasn’t seen Helena since she was 12, some 18 years ago. Now she’s desperate to pick up where her late father left off, looking for Archimedes’s Dial, an intricate-looking device that Basil believed could find “fissures in time”. Rather calculating, the pragmatic Helena is simply looking to resolve her gambling debts by finding the Dial and selling on to interested parties. Among those is Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen), a former Nazi that Indy clashed with back in '44. Now he’s under an assumed identity, helping the US government win the Space Race – but he has other, more horrifying plans in mind.

After a chase through New York’s Moon Day parade winding up with Indy on a horse in a subway and framed for a murder he didn’t commit, Indy joins Helena in Tangier as she hooks up with her adolescent associate Teddy (Ethann Isidore). There are more chases, this time with Indy piloting a Tuk-Tuk – a superbly directed action set-piece – before they head off to Greece. Here, we get Antonio Banderas as salty sea-dog, who helps Indy and co deep-sea dive as they continue their search for the Dial. Voller and his men – including Boyd Holbrook’s ruthless goon – are never far behind.

Mads Kikkelsen and Thomas Krestchman in Indina Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Mads Kikkelsen and Thomas Krestchman in Indina Jones and the Dial of Destiny. YouTube/Lucasfilm

Taking over from series regular Steven Spielberg, incoming director James Mangold does a fine job of making Dial of Destiny look and feel like an Indy movie. Yes, the opening train stunt feels too reliant on CGI, but for the most part, this has an old-school action-adventure feel. At its heart is a great performance from Ford, one of his most emotional outings as Indy, as he comes to terms with his ageing body and life-regrets. Alongside him, Waller-Bridge, who handles the action well, moulds her whip-smart persona into the character. Mikkelsen, meanwhile, is just the right side of madman, as he rants about “History’s greatest moment – it’s end!”

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In a film about the the past, its fitting that there are some references to former adventures, but Mangold and his scriptwriters don’t overdo the Easter eggs. There’s enough iconography – the whip, the fedora – close to hand anyway, to ensure you don’t forget you’re watching an Indiana Jones movie. The final reel may take a serious flight of fantasy, but unlike those aliens in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it somehow feels an apt journey for Indy. Perhaps the film could’ve been more daring – it feels fairly safe – but fans will leave cinemas feeling like their old hero had one final great outing in him.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny opens in cinemas on 28th June. Visit our Film hub for the latest news and features, or find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.


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