Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Perhaps some relics are best left buried

This eagerly awaited fifth Indy Jones movie (15 years since the last flick), while not without its charms, is a disappointment. Sure, it’s great to see the 80-year-old Harrison Ford swashbuckling through a new adventure (also a little sad) but it all feels a bit perfunctory.

It’s as though the filmmakers had a laundry list of Indiana Jones tropes and dutifully made sure they all would be included. Fedora, check. Leather jacket, check. Scary snakes, bullwhip, mysterious artifacts, cryptic messages, car chases, fistfights, sword fights, gunfights, cameos (Antonio Banderas, John Rhys-Davies, Toby Jones, and even Karen Allen). They’re all there, and more often than not in-your-face lest you’re too slow to get the connections.

In fact, the first 45 minutes is such unrelenting, non-stop sledgehammer CGI action that you will initially fail to realize that they were apparently unable to afford a coherent story in the movie’s $300 million budget. Steven Spielberg (who does not direct here) launched the original Indy Jones franchise as an homage to 1930s action serials. This one’s more of an homage to Indy Jones movies. Comfort cinema for fans. Dr. Henry Jones would deem it a counterfeit.

Bright spots: Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) does the flawed-heroine honors and Mads Mikkelsen easily fills the nasty-Nazi-role.

FYI, the film has received tepid reviews and is notably on its way to being a major box-office dud. Bottom line, fans will find this unnecessary, empty-action sequel fun enough, but the whole loud mess is totally forgettable, and Indy Jones movies should be more than that. (154 min)