Indiana Jones 5 reviews: what are critics saying about Dial of Destiny movie after Cannes 2023 premiere?

Harrison Ford’s latest action adventure romp Indiana Jones and the Dial of destiny received a subdued response at Cannes Film Festival

The response to the new Indiana Jones film Dial of Destiny, which stars Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Mads Mikkelsen has received a mixed response since its premiere at Cannes Film Festival.

The film, which debuted at Cannes yesterday, follows Indy (Ford) as he comes out of retirement one last time to retrieve an artefact that could change the course of history.

Ford also plays a younger version of himself with the help of de-aging technology, whilst Bridge stars as his god-daughter Helena Shaw, and Mikkelsen is Jürgen Voller, a former Nazi now working on the Apollo Space Programme.

The film was met with a strong response at the screening, but reviews released since have tempered expectations for the final instalment of the Indiana Jones movie franchise.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of DestinyIndiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

How have critics responded to Indiana Jones 5?

The film got a five-minute standing ovation at Cannes, and Harrison Ford, who has announced that he will not return to the role in future films, was spotted tearing up as he basked in the applause.

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story - the reviews have started to come in and they’re not great. Review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes has the movie on a 43% critical score with 14 reviews logged.

The Hollywood Reporter called the movie ‘a big, bombastic movie that goes through the motions but never finds much joy in the process’, and Variety stuck the boot in, describing it as a ‘rather joyless piece of nostalgic hokum’.

German review website Cinema Forever warned all but die-hard Indy fans to avoid this flick.

Why did the film get such a good response at its premiere only to be bashed by the reviewers who watched it? Well, that’s actually par for the course at Cannes.

How many films get standing ovations at Cannes?

Whilst it might sound like a major achievement to receive a five-minute standing ovation, most films at Cannes get a similar response.

In fact, Pan’s Labyrinth holds the record for the longest standing ovation, at 22 minutes, the length of an entire episode of Friends. The entirely forgettable Matthew McConaughey drama Mud got an 18-minute ovation in 2012, and in 2019 even the Bill Murray zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die, which was later panned by critics, managed to rustle up three minutes of standing applause.  

Cannes tends to be a divisive festival - films are either applauded or booed - The Tree of Life, The Neon Demon, and controversial horror movie Antichrist are among the movies to have faced howls of disapproval over the years. At least Dial of Destiny didn’t face that, although there were reports that some audience members whispered to each other out of boredom during the film.

Some have questioned the decision to premiere a major blockbuster at a festival which is primarily for arthouse films. French film Jeanne du Barry, Wes Anderson’s latest offering Asteroid City, and Nazi historical romance Zone of Interest are among other films making their debut at the festival.