Indiana Jones is considered one of the best movie trilogies of all time, or at least it was until Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released in 2008. The movie was derided by both critics and fans, the plot was considered ridiculous, and the introduction of Indy’s greaser son, Mutt, fell flat.
Though it does have its problems, The Crystal Skull isn’t the bomb that fans think it is, and it may actually be surprisingly underrated. From the discovery of Akator to the return of Marion, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has some of the series’ best moments.
10 It Reunites Indy And Marion
After Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy never had a particularly engaging love interest, especially considering Marion was a fan favorite. The Temple of Doom featured Willie Scott by Indy’s side, who fans found somewhat irritating, and The Last Crusade saw Elsa as the love interest, who ended up double-crossing Indy.
Thankfully, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull saw Marion reunite with Indy. And not only does Marion’s dry humor return, which is one of the reasons why Raiders still holds up, but she gets involved in the action too, which made the movie much more exciting. She’s hilarious, believable in the action scenes, and the perfect other half to Indy.
9 The Nazis Aren’t The Bad Guys
Raiders of the Lost Ark saw Indy race against the Nazis to find the Ark of the Covenant, and The Last Crusade saw the iconic character going up against the Nazis once again. At one point Indy even comes face to face with Hitler himself. The only exception is The Temple of Doom, where the antagonist is the high priest, a deluded cult leader who wanted to summon the Goddess of Death.
Fortunately, there isn’t a Nazi in sight in The Crystal Skull, and they’re instead replaced with Russians, and Indy is going up against the KGB, which creates an interesting change. If the movie was another adventure where Indy was pit against Germans, even the biggest fans of the series would have suffered Nazi fatigue. That said, this very nearly didn’t happen, as the original villains in The Crystal Skull were Nazis.
8 There’s A Great New Cast Of Supporting Characters
One of the best things about the Indiana Jones series is the supporting cast of characters. Whether it’s Short Round from Temple of Doom, the bearded excavator Sallah, or the trusty sidekick Brody, there’s a whole range of characters, none of which return for The Crystal Skull.
However, the movie has a great cast of new supporting characters that the film never gets credit for. There’s the constantly double-crossing Mac, who is the Indiana Jones series’ very own Jack Sparrow, and the Russian military scientist Irina Spalko, and they almost make up for Mutt.
7 The Waterfall Scene Is Almost As Good As Anything From The Original Trilogy
Steven Spielberg has an incredible way of shooting action sequences, and he makes directing action scenes that have stakes, humor, and incredible set pieces look effortless. Whether it’s the first T-Rex scene in Jurassic Park or Indy escaping the tomb at the beginning of Raiders, most of the director’s action scenes are an equation of the above.
And though the action in The Crystal Skull is something that has been criticized, there’s one scene that stands out from the rest. As Indy and the gang are searching for the lost city of Akator, they fall down not one, but two waterfalls, and it’s a perfect measure of stakes, humor, and excitement. But the scene still features some of the funniest mistakes in The Crystal Skull.
6 It Still Features The Same Sense Of Humor
The movies are known for how comedic Indiana Jones is, and that’s no different when it comes to The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Some of the most criticized scenes in the movie might seem farfetched, but they are the ones that harken back to classic Indy moments.
Though the fridge scene doesn’t exactly make much sense and there’s no way he would have realistically survived, the titular character has been in other situations in the past that haven’t been grounded in reality either. And even down to the character’s mannerisms, such as the way he hilariously always looks perplexed when something out of the ordinary happens, they are ever-present in the movie.
5 Indy’s Detective Work
The movie doesn’t have the most well-written screenplay, and it could be argued that Spielberg is confusing his franchises by mixing Indy with aliens. It’s at the point where audiences could see Indy run out of a UFO if there was ever a Close Encounters of the Third Kind sequel.
However, there are some great little moments in the screenplay where Indy’s deductive skills are clearly on display. The best example of this happens during the first of many convoy-action scenes. When Indy is trying to figure out which truck the magnetic case is in, he throws gun powder in the air to see where it drifts – a brilliant move that shows how intelligent he is.
4 The Production Design Of Akator
The legendary city of Akator has been depicted in movies several times over the decades, as though Akator might not ring a bell, it’s also known as El Dorado and The Lost City of Gold. But in the middle of an overly CGI-heavy movie, the design of Akator is magnificent.
There’s a surprising amount of practical design in Akator, from the spiral staircase to the gate leading to the final room. The practical design and the aesthetic look of the area are reminiscent of the original movies, and in some cases, it even bests their production designs.
3 The Way The Quicksand Scene Intertwines Action And Family Drama
Along with the waterfall scene, the quicksand scene is a brilliantly shot and well-written action sequence, only it’s on a much smaller scale. The scene sees Indy and Marion sinking in quicksand, only it doesn’t seem like that’s a priority, as they’re more focused on arguing about Mutt, Indy’s long-lost son.
Mixing family drama and action has always been a winning formula in movies, and it’s something that The Incredibles perfected, but this scene gives the animated movie a run for its money. The scene also features the best acting from Harrison Ford in the whole movie.
2 All The Things That Made Indy Iconic Are Still There
One of the unpopular opinions about the Indiana Jones series is that The Crystal Skull is true to character, and there’s an argument to be made that that’s completely true. His life might have drastically changed in the time between The Last Crusade and The Crystal Skull, but that doesn’t mean the character has changed.
Indy is still afraid of snakes, he still has a whip equipped to his belt, and he still has the same aforementioned mannerisms. And though it doesn’t make sense as to why he’s wearing the same outfit that he was wearing 30 years earlier, as tastes in fashion change as people get older, he still dons the fedora.
1 It’s A Perfect End For Indy And Audiences
The Last Crusade literally saw Indy ride off into the sunset, but The Crystal Skull was a perfect end for the character. Though it wasn’t the best-looking scene in the series, the final scene in the movie is almost flawless.
It sees Indy marry Marion, who was always the best match for the treasure hunter. And though very few people could get on board with Mutt, it perfectly passed down the torch, with the assumption that Indy’s son would continue his adventures. There couldn’t have been a better ending than that.