What Parents Need to Know About ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’

If you’re thinking of taking your kids to see ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’, and looking for a spoiler-free parent review, don’t worry, I’ve got you. And details to help you decide if Indiana Jones Dial of Destiny is scary for kids you might want to bring. This post might contain some commissioned links. 

I was at Star Wars Celebration last year when Disney announced another Indiana Jones movie starring Harrison Ford. I’ll admit I’m not a huge Indiana Jones fan. I have seen all the movies, and as a kid I loved Temple of Doom. The others I enjoyed but didn’t watch them on repeat like that one. My husband, on the other hand, really loved them all (except The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). And this was the first time I brought him as my +1 to a movie screening. I actually brought him and my 10-year-old son Ty, because I wanted to get his kid’s opinion on the movie too.

In this fifth installment of the Indiana Jones adventures, we not only get another exciting story, but a worthy conclusion to the series. In this movie Jones is living a quieter life, teaching at New York’s Hunter College in 1969. But things change when he gets a surprise visit from his estranged goddaughter, Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Before long they’re off on another cat and mouse chase for a valuable artifact. 

Is ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ Kid-Friendly?

(Clockwise from right): Colonel Weber (Thomas Kretschmann) and Doctor Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) in Lucasfilm's IJ5.  Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. Is Indiana Jones and the dial of destiny scary for kids?
©2022 Lucasfilm

Parents need to know that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the fifth installment and epic conclusion of the Indiana Jones hit movie franchise starring Harrison Ford. The film contains a lot of the usual violence and danger like the others. From explosions, shootouts to fist fights, people being thrown off planes, people being burned, or shocked by dangerous eels and more. Indy’s whip also makes some appearances and aids in his battles. Bloody wounds are shown, a woman is punched in the face, and a child is captured. Language includes an occasional “damn” “hell” “stupid” “pissed off” “shut up” “crap” “Jesus” and “my God”. There’s also a use of the term “cracker.” There is some drinking and occasional smoking.  

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, language and smoking. 

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ Parent Review

My husband and I had pretty different takes on the movie. He, the long-time Indy fan, appreciated the backstory in the beginning and nods to the other stories. I thought the backstory at the beginning went on way longer than it needed to. I did like how even though I’m no Indiana Jones expert, I was still able to understand many of the references to the other movies. In other words, I didn’t feel like I was completely out of the loop. Not only that, but I felt like I was invited to the party, and like I was a welcomed guest to this story that even for me, at times, felt like a family reunion. The visuals and special effects were top notch, while also keeping in the spirit of the OG movies.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm's IJ5 he sits tied up in a chair wearing a uniform with a flashlight shown in his face.
©2022 Lucasfilm

I think even if this is your or your child’s introduction to Indiana Jones you can still enjoy the story on its own, and work your way backwards from here. Would it be more fun if you understand the history of the franchise? Sure. But is it necessary? Absolutely not.

As expected, some of the action sequences, especially the car chases were over the top. I thought a boyfriend character who made an appearance was a strange add-in just to make a chase scene more exciting. It worked, however I think it contributed to the movie feeling a bit long. 

I gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars. It is good. I’m not dying to watch it again, but I’d definitely be down to watch it on an Indiana Jone movie marathon day. My favorite aspect was the fact that it gave the series a nice conclusion. Now can we let Harrison Ford rest? The man is 80. But kudos to him for getting out there and doing the dang thing. It was sure fun to watch. And having just experienced my first escape room, I had a much bigger appreciation for all of the clue-following shenanigans.  

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones 5. He runs in the middle of the street wearing a suit and tie.
©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd

My Husband’s Thoughts

My husband on the other hand really enjoyed the movie. He gives it a 3.75 to 4 out of 5 star rating and says it’s up there with the first three Indy movies. Which for him, are all top notch. He enjoys the historical tie ins and he loved the backstory in the beginning and says it reminded him of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We re-watched that one for Father’s Day and I can totally see that. This is big praise from my husband who claims to hate long movies. Any movie over two hours is just “too long” according to him, and this movie has a runtime of 2 hours and 34 minutes. He didn’t complain.

Is ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ Scary for Kids?

(L-R): Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), Doctor Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) and Basil (Toby Jones) in Lucasfilm's IJ5.
©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd

Thankfully there’s no hanging over a lava pit while being chained into a cage. Or still-beating hearts getting ripped out of people’s chest then bursting into flames. But there is still a fair amount of violence, like I mentioned earlier, and some creepy scenes that might be scary for some younger viewers including skeletons, corpses, vicious eels, creepy bugs, centipedes and more. I don’t think it’s as scary as Temple of Doom (we haven’t watched that one with our kids yet) but it has its creepy moments. My 10-year-old son didn’t find it scary, in fact his favorite part was the eels (he was hoping there would be more snakes). But he did find it hard to understand. Which leads me to our much shorter than usual kids’ review.  

What my kids thought of ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm's INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY.  Is it scary for kids? this parent review should help you decide.
©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd.

Normally I go through and ask my kids a slew of questions about a movie we watched together and jot their answers down in our movie log book so you can get an idea of what young kids in your life might think of the movie. This one, however, was harder to go through with Ty because we’d just gotten back from vacation. And I think the movie in and of itself has some mature themes that are hard for younger kids to grasp.

From Nazis , to estranged family members, to historical riddles–it wasn’t really his thing. And it was a long movie. I kept expecting to look over and see him sleeping. I honestly think the only thing that kept him awake was the hope of seeing a snake, and unfortunately that didn’t exactly happen. He was much more into Transformers Rise of the Beasts, Across the Spider-Verse, Elemental and some of the other summer family movies we saw together in the last month.

We will all watch it again some day, probably as a part of a movie marathon because I really do think this series would be fun to watch back to back. And I may go see it again with my husband in theaters on a date night so that I can appreciate it more too. I certainly think 10-year-olds, could enjoy this movie, especially if they’re long-time Indy fans. But it’s likely best suited for a slightly older crowd (12+) and/or kids more familiar with the franchise.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Discussion Questions 

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones holds a whip in front of a window while wearing a hat. Is Indiana Jones 5 scary for kids? This parent review should help you decide?
©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd.

I decided to add something new to my reviews, especially when a movie is already out, so if you’re seeing this later you can use these as a kickoff conversation point to talk to your kids about Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. This is in case you want to go a little deeper than “what did you think?” Here are some suggestions you can use as discussion questions for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. 

  1. What do you think makes the Indiana Jones movies so popular and enduring? Why do you think people enjoy watching these types of adventures? 
  2. Discuss the advancement in cinematography and special effects from the first Indiana Jones movie (Raiders of the Lost Ark) from 1981 compared to now. Do you think the updated visual effects enhance the story?
  3. What are some recurring things you notice in all of the Indiana Jones movies? How do you think these things make the movies feel connected and a part of a bigger story? Can you think of other movie series with similar connections? 
  4. What would you do if you had a dial of destiny?
  5. How do you think Indiana Jones movies have influenced other adventure and action movies? Have you seen other shows or cartoons that make references about Indiana Jones? 

Is there an End Credit Scene in Indiana Jones Dial of Destiny?

Agent Mason (Shaunette Renée Wilson) in Lucasfilm's IJ5.
©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd.

No, there are no mid or end credit scenes for this movie. 

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Toys and More

Want to dress for the occasion? Here is some Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny movie merch* we handpicked and added to our LTK affiliate shop. Some of these items we have and some were gifted from Disney. 

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is swinging into theaters June 30th. Will you be going to see it?

Wondering how our review of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny might compare to yours? Check out some of our other movie reviews.

If you like watching movies together as a family you’ll love our Family Movie Night Journal! Created by me and my oldest daughter Jayda. It’s bringing a family tradition of movie watching and rating to families around the world.

*We may receive a small commission for purchases through our links. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *