Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the fourth film in the Indiana Jones adventure film franchise. Although the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a sequel to the events of the previous films, the story also acts as a sort of reboot, introducing young new characters into the mix. That said, the film still focuses on the adventuring antics of famous archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), as he undertakes yet another deadly and mysterious treasure hunt.
Seeing as how Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released in 2008, almost 20 years after the release of the last Indiana Jones film, the movie tries to bring the franchise back with a variety of modern visual effects and action scenes. However, by sticking to the signature supernatural and fantasy-like storytelling themes of the original movies, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull still feels like a classic Indy adventure.
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The Movie Review
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull picks up in 1957, 19 years after the events of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Over the past two decades, Indiana Jones has continued his romp around the world, investigating odd mysteries and collecting precious artifacts. With his partner Mac (Ray Winstone) at his side, Indiana has enjoyed a prolific life of excitement and danger.
Things turn south when they are kidnapped by Russian secret agents and forced to show them the location of an ancient relic kept by the United States government. By breaking into the warehouse seen at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Russians begin their new attempt to overthrow the United States and try to take over the world.
Although Indiana escapes the warehouse, his luck doesn’t improve. After being forced to quit his job as a professor, he prepares to travel abroad. Just as he plans to leave the States, Indiana is pulled aside by a young motorcycle enthusiast named Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), who brings a message from Indiana’s old friend, Oxley (John Hurt).
It seems that Oxley has discovered the location of a lost crystal skull in Peru, an artifact that Indiana and Oxley had hunted in their younger years.
Unfortunately, Oxley’s discovery has gotten him kidnapped, along with Mutt’s mother, Mary (Karen Allen). Eager to save their loved ones and discover the truth of the crystal skull, Indiana and Mutt hop on a plane and head for Peru.
There’s a lot of fun and signature Indiana Jones action to enjoy in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which should make longtime fans of the franchise very happy. Indiana and Mutt must contest with booby-trap filled ruins, riddles written in lost languages, and of course, evil Russian spies.
While the action and adventuring are as fun as ever, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull struggles when it comes to effective villains. In comparison to the vile Nazis featured in the older films, the Russians fail to incite any serious intimidation. Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), the leader of the Russian foes, is an ineffective and often cartoon-like villain that feels more goofy than scary. In fact, the entire film has a whimsical tone to it, which clashes with the mostly serious violence of the original movies.
Although there are plenty of plot holes and a few underwhelming characters, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull keeps the fun of the franchise going with its unbelievably ridiculous action scenes. There’s also a notably fun err of mystery and intrigue, something that other Indiana Jones movies sorely lack.
Whether you’re a fan of the more sleuth-like, riddle solving aspect of the series or enjoy some explosive action scenes, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will satisfy. While it’s not the knockout hit that made the series popular in the first place, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a fun and enjoyable sequel that’s worth a watch.
- Cool fan service moments
- Great intrigue to compliment the action
- Lots of fun environments and locations
- Poor special effects in some scenes
- Underwhelming villain