Behold The Power of Low Expectations

C'mon now, does he look like he's phoning it in? Indy's always treated his adventures as if they'd dragged him out of bed in the morning. I think the critics have forgotten that an air of annoyed reluctance is the Indiana Jones schtick.

Thanks to reviews like this one, I expected little and was therefore able to thoroughly enjoy it, except for the ten minutes toward the beginning I spent completely ticked off and braced to walk out. So thank you, unsparing critics.

Credit where it's due. Aren't we always wondering when Hollywood will quit fighting WWII and start fighting the Cold War? It's wonderful the Russkies are the bad guys. Stalin acknowledged to be evil in a mainstream Hollywood film? Be still my beating heart! I think my favorite moment was when Indy snarls in contemptuous recognition,
in exactly the same tone he once said
Nazis. I hate those guys.
What got my dander up was a clear dig at McCarthy (Spielberg can't help himself on the topic of the Red Scare) and the FBI, followed immediately by a cheap swipe at terrorist wiretapping. I like my summer blockbusters easy political dig-free, thank you very much, and for a time I feared the whole movie would be a cheezy slam on the Department of Homeland Security, but it fortunately didn't go that way. Maybe in Hollywood the price of admission for anti-Communism is to launch a pre-emptive strike on George Bush. At any rate, I chilled out, and it's not really a political movie, except in the fact that the Communists are Very Bad Guys who want to use the crystal skull in the same way the Nazis wanted to raid the Ark of the Covenant. So the Commie-Nazi parallel is officially established on screen, and bully for that. If Spielberg & Lucas can do it, perhaps others will feel it's safe to follow.

The rest is just really fun. Lots of winks at and continuity with the other films, but enough new not to make you feel it was merely formulaic. Implausible? Absolutely, but no more so than the others. I did have to laugh (I don't think this is too much of a spoiler, but proceed at your own risk) when Indy remarks approvingly of the mystical culture he makes contact with this time around that they were archaeologists like himself:
Their treasure wasn't gold, it was knowledge.
That's hilarious coming from Lucas & Spielberg, who made this silly movie why? Possibly it was just to have fun and delight audiences and not to make another billion dollars apiece, but I don't think a quest for knowledge was involved.

Parent content advisory: here's the difference between innocent children and contaminated parents. I didn't notice any bad language (other than one "damn"), but it was the first thing the Weedlets commented on when the flick ended. ("Awww, he said bull-"). And (spoiler in the next line, skip to the next 'graf if you like), even though I guessed it from the mere fact that there's a young man on the movie poster and Karen Allen is in the film, I could have lived without Indy having a son out of wedlock. At least the way that occurred isn't dwelt upon and is morally rectified in the end.

In all, a darn good romp. Three out of four Weedlets gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. The 7-yr-old gave it a B- for being too scary (about like Raiders, not as dark as Temple of Doom, by which I mean there's loads of menace but no gore, one disturbing encounter with nature is at least not bloody). Girl Weed's reaction was the reason you take kids to movies. She was thrilled:
It never lets up! Just when you think you can sit back and breathe again, something else dangerous happens.
My kids aren't old enough to have seen the other Indiana Jones pictures (the oldest may have seen Raiders on DVD, can't recall), but they seem to have responded to this one the way my siblings and I did to the others, which is nice. So go, but read a lot of bad reviews first so you can enjoy yourself. Or go with a 9-yr-old.