Were it not for the crazy-ass ending of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Disney, 6.30), I would be standing with the half-and-halfers, saying “yeah, not great but not bad” and so on.
But the mescaline-fueled ending is so wackazoid that it kicks the entire film up to another level. So if you factor this in Indy 5 becomes a “yeah, okay…not half bad!” instead of just a “whatevs, passable, good enough.”
Guaranteed — you haver never seen a crazier ending of a major tentpole film in your life.
Here’s the most relevant portion of my 5.19.23 review, filed from Cannes:
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a mega-budget serving of silly, rousing, formulaic, high-energy, fuck-all Hollywood wankery. If you pay to see it with that understanding in mind, it’s “fun” as far it goes, largely, I would say, because it also feels oddly classy…a well-ordered, deliciously well-cut exercise in which Mangold does a better-than-decent job of imitating Spielberg’s psychology, discipline, camera placements, cutting style, easy-to-follow plotting and generally pleasing performances.
The pans that broke last night were written by soreheads. It is what it is, and it delivers the hand-me-down goods in a way that very few will find bothersome or underwhelming.
In his 5.18 review, Irish Times critic Donald Clarke writes that “nobody with a brain in their heads will compare Dial of Destiny favorably to the first three films.” He’s right about that, but it’s definitely better than 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That may not sound like much, I realize, but at least it has this distinction.
The plot is basically another “Indiana Jones vs. frosty, cold-blooded Nazi fiends in search of a priceless archeological artifact” thing. Ford is steady, restrained and solemnly earnest in a gruff (okay, grumpy-ass) sort of way. Mads Mikkelsen is the chief German baddy-waddy, Phoebe Waller-Bridge is Indy’s younger half & partner in adventure and derring-do, Ethann Isidore is the new “Short Round” (the spunky Temple of Doom character, played by a young Ke Huy Quan) and so on.
One minor HE complaint: Waller-Bridge’s feisty-grifter character, Helena Shaw, is said to be the daughter of Toby Jones‘ Basil Shaw. There is, of course, no way on God’s good, green, chromosonal earth that the short, pudgy, gnome-like Jones (who stands 5’5″) could be the biological dad of the leggy, wafer-thin PWB (who stands just under 5’10”). No way in hell. I bought the crazy ending in a “is this really happening?” sort of way, but not this.