Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny has received a disappointing debut on Rotten Tomatoes. The film marks Harrison Ford’s fifth outing as the iconic archaeologist, first introduced in Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. Set during the Space Race, the movie follows Jones on a new adventure, accompanied by his goddaughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). It hit theaters on June 30.
Ahead of its official release date, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny has received its first batch of reviews as it premiered a month and a half early at the Cannes Film Festival. In an unprecedented turn of events, the film has garnered a disappointing Rotten score of 52 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. This marks the first time in the franchise’s history, including the short-lived television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, that a film has received a Rotten rating. It is even lower than the widely criticized 2008 installment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which stands at a relatively higher Certified Fresh rating of 77 percent.
There are a few notable points regarding the film’s current score. Firstly, Indiana Jones 5’s Rotten Tomatoes score is based on a relatively small sample of 29 critics’ reviews, which is significantly fewer than the 100 or more reviews typically seen for other entries in the franchise (e.g., Crystal Skull with 308 reviews). It’s important to consider that there will be a wave of new reviews arriving in mid-June, which could potentially have a substantial impact on the film’s score.
Secondly, it’s crucial to recognize that despite being the lowest-rated film in the franchise, a 52 percent rating indicates that at least half of the reviewing critics enjoyed the movie. At this stage of a franchise’s journey, being divisive can be viewed as a strength rather than a weakness. This early glimpse into the critical response of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny might suggest that the film is exploring new and unexpected territory for the series.
While this may disappoint dedicated fans of the original Indiana Jones trilogy, it suggests that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is striving to break free from simply replicating the franchise’s established formula. Crystal Skull’s unexpected score in 2008, which has since garnered a less favorable reputation, could be attributed in part to its reliance on familiarity. However, with director James Mangold taking over from Steven Spielberg, there’s a possibility that the new film may surprise audiences in a positive way. Mangold might have some tricks up his sleeve that enable Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny to hold up upon subsequent viewings, once the initial shock of its divergence from the expected formula has subsided.