In light of the somewhat moribund state of the Indiana Jones franchise, with the previous sequel earning tepid reviews, there’s so much riding on the upcoming Indiana Jones 5 ahead of its June 30 release date. This latest sequel represents, among other things, not only Harrison Ford’s final performance in the title role; it’s also the first of the movies directed by someone other than Steven Spielberg. Moreover, the franchise remains key enough for Disney that it intends to make an Indiana Jones TV show for Disney+.
Nevertheless, thanks to the slightly baffling move by Disney to let the movie get an out-of-competition screening at Cannes this year, Indiana Jones 5 is now stuck with an early crop of bad reviews for more than a month — having earned itself a “Rotten” status so far on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 51% critics’ score so far based on 31 reviews. “There are needs being met here,” a Rolling Stone critic opines, “but they aren’t storytelling-based so much as stoking-the-fanbase and meeting-the-bottom-line ones.”
Indiana Jones 5, according to the BBC, is a “gloomy and depressing final act.” The performance from Ford, who was visibly moved and cried during a standing ovation at Cannes, is regarded as carrying the movie, but other critics who’ve seen the movie early describe it, overall, as “safe,” “wacky,” and “empty.”
Matt Belloni, the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter who’s now with Puck News, noted in his latest newsletter that the Indiana Jones franchise does have a history at Cannes, albeit in the pre-social media era, and that blockbusters often see mixed results in terms of their response from the festival. The critical response via Rotten Tomatoes is currently worse than that of the truly terrible Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, so here’s hoping that can be rectified eventually.
In fact, it would be nice if the early critical response was something of an outlier, since it would be such a shame for Ford’s final appearance in the franchise — which he’s helped to generate $1.3 billion thus far — to end with a whimper. But, again, if all else fails at least there’s the Disney+ TV show to look forward to.