Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Review: By God Does ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ Make Me Proud To be an Indy Fan

5/5 math equations

Our favorite fedora-wearing professor is back and just as great as we remember. Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones has been a character fans are drawn to since his introduction way back when in Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. In his now-42-year tenure as the whip-slinging archeologist, Ford has gone through many changes as an actor, but his tenacity as Henry Jones Jr. has been unwavering, all leading to the addictive take on this iconic character from director James Mangold with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

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The fifth installment in the Indiana Jones franchise is the revival that fans have been waiting for. While I do not hate the series’ first attempt at a comeback with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, many do, and it made them lose hope in the franchise. Luckily, Mangold brings to life the feeling that has always been associated with Indiana Jones as a character. His film is vibrant, fast-paced, and an action movie worthy of a character like Indiana Jones—which is quite frankly what he (and fans) deserve after all this time. The last time we saw the character was in 2008, and then it felt like we might never again see our beloved hero.

But this new movie leaves us with hope because it brings back the tropes of the franchise while also giving us a glimpse into what the future of this world could look like. It feels less like a goodbye to a beloved character and more like a hello to a new beginning he built. That feeling starts with the introduction of Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) in a new and refreshing take on the staple of an Indiana Jones heroine.

The future should ride on Helena Shaw

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Indiana Jones
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Helena is the daughter of Indy’s old friend (played by Toby Jones), and when she comes back into his life 18 years later, she’s in it for the money. Even Indy knows that she cares too much to only want money in this world, but it is an instant way for us to understand who Helena is. She has the Waller-Bridge wit and charm we’ve come to know and love while embodying that Indiana Jones-esque flair. For me, she’s up there with Raiders of the Lost Ark’s Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) in the level of characters who mean a lot to me in this world.

Sometimes, a female character in the Indiana Jones franchise can feel almost like she’s just there to scream at Indiana. Looking at you, Willie Scott. Helena is there because she, like Marion before her, loves the history in the artifacts they’re dealing with. It’s a shared love with her father but also with her godfather, Indy.

But before her love for archeology and her fascinating fashion choices, Helena is a character who is deeply rooted in her care for others and her inability to show it. She loves Indiana Jones like a father, and you can see that in her actions, but she rarely says anything of that nature to Indy himself, which gives fans an interesting look into a new kind of relationship in this world.

A new kind of comaraderie

Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

We’re used to Indiana Jones with a love interest or a son figure. Whether it’s Marion, Willie, or Elsa, the women in this franchise have always been tied to Indiana Jones and their attraction to him or his attraction. If it isn’t a woman, his counterpart is a young man. It was Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) in Temple of Doom and then Mutt Williams, Indy’s own son, in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Where Helena falls in this lineup is almost as if she’s her own version of Indy. She has a young boy named Teddy (Ethann Isidore) who tried to steal from her when he was 10 years old but then ended up just hanging with her ever since. Helena’s dynamic with Teddy is much like Indy’s with characters like Mutt and Shorty, but Helena herself almost fills that role for Indy in this film as well.

Seeing a woman take that space in the world of Indiana Jones is refreshing in a way that’s honestly surprising in the best of ways. I’ve been so used to seeing only love interests in his life that this is just a nice twist to the story we know and love.

A Mads Mikkelsen villain worthy of your time

Mads in Indiana Jones
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

What’s Indy without his Nazis? Mads Mikkelsen is a master in bringing villains to life and his take on Jürgen Voller is one that will leave fans uneasy in where Indy stands in post-World War II world. Instead of worrying about the Russians like he did in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, we got to see Indy back fighting his greatest foes.

Voller’s henchmen include Boyd Holbrook’s take on a trigger happy waspy man with a bad haircut as well as Shaunette Renée Wilson’s Agent Mason. What I’ll say is that I wanted more of Mason in this movie. She’s in it a great deal, in part due to the action and how her character plays a part, but I wanted more of her.

Indy is BACK

Harrison Ford as Indy in 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny'
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

I never thought Indy went anywhere. I think that people just didn’t feel the need for him. I never agreed with that, but that’s just me, someone who loves this character very dearly. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny works because it understands what we love about this character and franchise. The moments when Indy is sassy in the face of danger or realizing he’s struggling to climb a wall because he’s not young and was shot 9 times are all those instances where we laugh with him because we’ve seen it. We went to these far off places with him, and we embraced his injuries as our own.

This movie feels like a love letter to fans—not in the nostalgia sense but in the way of understanding why we love this world. Indiana Jones, as a character, just wants to explore history and the world for the better, and if it means punching Nazis to protect that, he is happy to do it. Seeing him back in action in something like Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny means the world to me.

Indiana Jones is back and by god does Dial of Destiny make me proud to be a fan of this franchise.

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios)


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Author
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.