Typically, when a franchise fill series takes the better part of a generation to introduce another sequel into the pop culture landscape, the entry could be misconstrued as a money grab.

But, for whatever reason, the latest installment of the Indiana Jones is a film that fans have been chomping at the bit to see. Chalk it up to excellent marketing, and indelible heroic lead or perhaps the sands of time fogging the lens of nostalgia.

After all these years, does Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull hold up? Infuriatingly, yes and no. While not a dour or violent as the exhausting Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull suffers from one too many head scratching, credibility straining moments that pull the view right out of the movie and suck the life from it.

However, the movie starts with a bang – literally. We catch up with our hero in 1957. Indy has been kidnapped and taken to a mysterious government warehouse in the middle of the Nevada dessert. His captor is KGB agent Irina Spalko, played with a hint of dominatrix glee by Cate Blanchet. She wants Indy to find an artifact that will give the Soviet army the upper hand in the escalating Cold War.

Indy’s romp and eventual escape from his Russian captors are the most exhilirating moments of the movie. And, although the sequence ends with one of those head-scratching moments I was referring to, you let it slide. Because it’s exactly the kind of "by the skin of your teeth" escape you wan to see Indiana Jones make.

Later on, when a switchblade-wielding greaser named Mutt Williams comes looking for Jones to help him track down his mother, also kidnapped by the Russians, it isn’t long before Indy is drawn back into the conflict.

What follows is a slow unraveling of the film’s initial bounce and swagger. The film begins to feel less like a treasure hunt and more like a series of unending action sequences.

Part of Indiana Jones’s appeal is that he is an everyman hero who can be hurt and complains about the obstacles being thrown in his path. While there is a certain amount of that bruiser charm on display here (largely at the expense of star Harrison Ford’s advancing age), eventually you feel like there simply isn’t enough time between harrowing escapes and near-misses for Indy to reflect on his mortality in a humorous way. The pacing of the film gives neither the audience or our hero time to rest.

By the time the film reaches it’s ultimate conclusion, it all kind of feels like a blur. Less of a “whodunnit” and more of a “whatwuzthat?”

The performances in the film are all well done – especially Harrison Ford who inhabits Indiana Jones so thoroughly, it’s the most fun I’ve had watching him on screen in years. Shia LaBeouf comes off less annoying than I expected, toning down his more frantic actorly tics and zeroing in on the "not quite a nerd, not quite a hunk" niche he occupies so well.

But some of the characters feel perfunctory. Ray Winstone as a duplicitous adventurer adds nothing but dead-weight and false conflict to the proceedings. Karen Allen returns as Marion Ravenwood – Indiana Jones’s one, true love. But her contribution feels less like a contextual advancement of the plot but more of a "fill in the blank" role required to explain relationships between characters.

With these check marks in the minus column, the movie doesn’t fail completely. Even though I recognize some of the more awful, groan-inducing moments (Shia LaBeouf – Kind of the Monkeys, anyone?) the movie delivered the kind of entertainment I was looking for. In some ways, it ignites the imagination in unexpected ways.

For example, it was alluded that Jones spent his time between adventures operating behind enemy lines in World War II and was designated the Army rank of Colonel. Both my wife and I turned to each other at the same time and said”I want to see THAT movie!”

But, for what is is, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull does not disappoint.

I think fanboys who are looking to pick apart every last detail of the movie won’t have a problem finding weaknesses in it’s armor. But, within it’s given context, how disappointed can you be? The sci-fi elements of the film fit within the 1950’s time period the movie takes place. The fantastic escapes and cartoonish villains really aren’t any worse than what Indy has faced in the past.

This is the double-edged sword of nostalgia. Some people will remember the original movies for being better than they were. Or, at least assume that Kingdom of Skull will always be the runt of the litter.

My biggest complaints have to do less with content and more with execution. Director Steven Spielberg swore up and down that the film would rely on practical effects and there is a little too much CGI for my taste in this picture. Some of the more knowing nods to past adventures could have been eliminated and the movie probably could have benefited from a little bit of a trim on its running time.

But overall? Fun is fun and Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull is an adventure I would line up for again in a heartbeat.

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