For Ford's Indy, a 'Satisfying Goodbye'

At 80, this 'top-notch action hero' can still 'run away with a movie'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2023 12:00 PM CDT

For the fifth and apparently final time, Harrison Ford cracks the whip as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which jumps across time, following the iconic adventure hero as he chases a time-shifting artifact. At times digitally de-aged, Ford's Indy still manages to wow critics. Not so much the film itself, which has a 67% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Four takes:

  • It's "as silly as you expect and not altogether as successful as you may hope," writes Manohla Dargis at the New York Times, noting the "face-lift is as weird and distracting as this kind of digital plastic surgery tends to be." Yet Ford and the character he created "are the main arguments for seeing Dial of Destiny," Dargis writes. Four decades after first assuming the role of Indy, the actor "can still run away with a movie—and run and run—without breaking a sweat."
  • Though Dial of Destiny "isn't quite as face-meltingly bad as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," the film is "a mistake" and makes director James Mangold look "borderline incompetent," writes Kyle Smith at the Wall Street Journal. It turns Ford's Indy into some kind of "superhero" and Phoebe Waller-Bridge's character, Helena, a student of archaeology who turns out to be Indy's goddaughter, into "a caricature," Smith writes. The pairing itself is a "disaster," he adds.

  • Brian Truitt was taken with Waller-Bridge, however. She "plays her ambitions and evolving character so well that she pops off the screen" to the point that "Indy feels like a supporting player," he writes at USA Today. "Ford remains a top-notch action hero," however. And though the film lacks "the Spielbergian twinkle" and is rather "anticlimactic" for a franchise closer, it's still "solid" and worthy of three stars out of four.
  • It's "a rip-roaring adventure" that "uses nostalgia as an appetizer, not a main course, and it's absolutely delicious for it," writes Maureen Lee Lenker at Entertainment Weekly. Ford "gets to unleash the emotional side of Indy" but not at the expense of the action, which keeps building even when you think it's hit a "fever pitch." The result is "an old-school adventure energy reminiscent of the original trilogy," and for Indy, "a far more satisfying goodbye than where we last left him."
(More movie review stories.)

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