Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom
(Lucasfilm)

Now That ‘Dial of Destiny’ Is Streaming, It’s Time for an ‘Indiana Jones’ Marathon

With Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny now on Disney+, you might want to rewatch the other movies first, just to make sure you’ve got all the background information straight so you’ll be able to enjoy the new movie to the fullest. This isn’t at all a flimsy excuse to have an Indiana Jones marathon and I’ll take no challenges on that front.

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones
(Lucasfilm)

This is a resoundingly terrible movie but it’s also a prequel so you can happily ignore it, especially as nothing in its ever been relevant to the other films—yet. Now that I’ve said that, let’s all hope it continues to be true and that I haven’t cursed us all into being subjected to Orientalist Murder Cult 2: Monkey Brains Boogaloo, This Time They’re Alien Monkeys!

TLDR Indy (Harrison Ford) kind of kidnaps a nightclub singer (Kate Capshaw), they do battle with various Orientalist stereotypes, she’s almost made into a human sacrifice, and then (despite absolutely hating each other all film) they get together. Which, I know is pretty normal in these kinds of films but this time it felt like actual loathing, not sexy-loathing, so it’s just weird and a bit gross.

Raiders of the Lost Arc

Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'
(Lucasfilm)

The second best (and original) film, Raiders of the Lost Arc sets up the Nazis as the villains of the original films. It follows Indy on a global scavenger hunt, solving archaeological clues to reach the Arc of the Covenant before the Nazis do. On the way, he hooks up with his rightfully-angry old flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), the daughter of his deceased mentor. The two of them bicker their way through being suspended over a snake pit, captured by Nazis, and finally finding the Arc of the Covenant. The movie ends with the Nazis having their faces melted off due to their evil and hubris, which never stops being satisfying, and the US government taking custody of the Arc (less satisfying).

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Sean Connery as Henry Jones Sr. and Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade
(Lucasfilm)

The sequel to Raiders, once again featuring Nazis as the villains, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade introduced Indy’s father (Sean Connery) who is somehow loveable despite being an absolutely terrible parent. Like Raiders, The Last Crusade requires Indy to team up with a hot lady, Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) to solve a number of archaeological and historical clues to find the Grail, and his missing father who disappeared while searching for it.

Unlike Marion, Elsa turns out to be a Nazi and betrays Indy, helping the Nazis find the Grail first. Of course, being Nazis, even their academics like Elsa are completely useless when it comes to anything involving real history, instead of their racist fantasy mythos, so they need Indy to get them past the traps put in place to deter the unworthy. Not to spoil everything that happens, Indy reluctantly complies, only for the movie to once again end with several Nazis dying horribly due to hubristically angering God. It’s a solid ending is what I’m saying, and more movies should end that way.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The cast of 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'
(Paramount Pictures)

The most recent film features the return of Marion and their surprise son, the motorcycle dirtbag Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). In the time between the last film and this one, spanning 19 years, Indy has been coerced into working for the same American warehouse of artifacts that he was so unhappy about being forced to cede the Arc to in Raiders. Betrayed by another friend, his co-agent Mac (Ray Winstone), who defects to the Soviets, the McCarthy communist witch hunts lead to Indy being suspended from his university.

It’s good timing though because that’s when Mutt turns up to tell Indy that Marion and their friend Professor Oxley (John Hurt) have been kidnapped in Peru, and he needs the time off to chase after them. Everyone ends up captured by the Soviets who are trying to track down the legendary Crystal Skulls which will give them telepathic control over the whole world, and obviously Indy can’t let that happen. He and the gang escape and find a temple filled with artifacts from around the world, and the crystal skeletons of 13 alien archaeologists who were there studying humanity.

By replacing the missing skull of one of the 13, they come back to life, and open a portal to their reality that sucks in the Soviets and destroys the city, while Indy and co escape again. This time, the movie ends with Indy and Marion getting married, as well as him grabbing his hat back from Mutt at the end, making it clear he’s not done with adventuring yet

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Indiana Jones and Helena in Dial of Destiny
(Paramount Pictures)

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny brings us a fabulous new character, Indy’s god daughter and antiquities smuggler Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Though Indy has been estranged from Helena and her now deceased father for many years, the two of them reunite when she comes to visit him, expressing an urge to study Archimedes Dial—an artifact taken from the Nazis during WWII by Indy and Helena’s father—that drove the late Dr. Shaw mad. Former Nazi scientist Jürgen Voller, now safe from prosecution and working with NASA in America, is also after the artifact; and to make matters worse he’s backed by the CIA, who are unaware of his true plans. When Helena absconds with the Dial, planning on selling it on the black market, it becomes a four-way chase between Helena, Indy, Voller, and the US government, to steal back or keep hold of the Dial and locate its other half before the others do. The discovery that the reunified device enables time travel, and the Voller and his Nazi friends want to use it to engineer a Nazi victory in the second world war? Well, it is an Indiana Jones movie after all, science-magic and Nazi plots foiled by cunning archaeologists are a requirement (for the good Indy films, anyway).

With the return of many of Indy’s old friends and the reprise of Marion (and I won’t spoil you about what goes on there), Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny isn’t just a movie about ancient artifacts and time travel, it’s a film about Indy, his life, and realizing it has meaning still; which is a pretty good farewell to the beloved character.

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)


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Author
Siobhan Ball
Siobhan Ball (she/her) is a contributing writer covering news, queer stuff, politics and Star Wars. A former historian and archivist, she made her first forays into journalism by writing a number of queer history articles c. 2016 and things spiralled from there. When she's not working she's still writing, with several novels and a book on Irish myth on the go, as well as developing her skills as a jeweller.