A whip smart script makes for a cracking film

Can it really be over forty years since the first Indiana Jones film? If so, can it really be Harrison Ford running atop a moving train in the latest one? With the assistance of some technical wizardry, octogenarian Ford is given a second lease of life in a protracted prologue to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny that is equal to anything seen in previous films. With Toby Jones riding shotgun, it makes for a thrilling, if somewhat disorienting, opening to a sequel that neatly subverts what we’ve come to expect from the series.

Once done with establishing the movie’s maguffin, we are unceremoniously dumped into the sixties where our hero, devoid of his CGI mask, is banging on his neighbour’s door, unsuccessfully attempting to get the noise turned down. This is a man in his third age, denuded of adventure, sleep walking through academia, while the world rushes past him. And had he not crossed paths with Phoebe Waller-Bridge so it would have remained, but that wouldn’t have made much of a movie. As it is, we’re treated to a series of action set piece that invigorate our eponymous adventurer, while never letting us forget that he, and indeed we, are much older this time around.

Without Harrison Ford, the movie simply wouldn’t have worked. With him, however, this is not only a splendid romp, but continues his work done in Stars Wars and Bladerunner, reminding us that age need not diminish the man. Granted, the film is less about sitting on the edge of your seat, and more about sitting back and enjoying it, but the absence of an age inappropriate romance, and the repeated acknowledgement that his battle with panto villain Mads Mikkelsen is all a bit daft, make for a pleasingly fresh perspective on a franchise that could so easily have served up something distinctly less appetising.