Although it is universally considered the worst episode, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull actually saved the IndianaJones franchise. After the massive and influential success The Raiders of the Lost Arkthe IndianaJones the franchise received two generally acclaimed sequels, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Each introduced new characters to the franchise, all while seeing the titular adventurer-archaeologist embark on a quest that gradually took him into the realms of the supernatural.
Although the first three films were all released in the same decade (in 1981, 1984, and 1989, respectively), it wouldn’t be another 19 years before the fourth film was released in 2008. Indiana Jones and the Crystal Kingdom Skull has long been considered the franchise’s worst, thanks in part to its departure from the established narrative themes of previous films. However, despite Kingdom of crystal skullerrors and problems, another sequel was planned, with Indiana Jones 5 currently slated for release in 2023.
Although it is often reviled – especially compared to other films in the franchise – Crystal Skull Kingdom actually saved IndianaJones. Not only did it revive a franchise that had been dormant for nearly two decades, but it did so by opening up a number of new narrative avenues, while also introducing ideas that could help the franchise exist beyond its titular character. This makes Crystal Skull Kingdom a film far more important than it’s ever been acknowledged, and so it deserves far more credit than it gets.
Crystal Skull Sci-Fi Opened Up New Possibilities For Indiana Jones Stories
One of the biggest changes the fourth film made to the franchise was crystal skull extraterrestrials – something that IndianaJones hadn’t even hinted before. The first three IndianaJones the films were all about ancient relics of religious or spiritual power, giving their action-adventure stories a subtly fantastical twist. Because these plot elements were mostly rooted in established history, they fit perfectly into Jones’ role as an archaeologist, which in turn lends nice thematic credibility to the idea of the power of history and historical knowledge.
However, although Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hit many of the same story beats, it actually used a sci-fi story, as opposed to something fantasy. By assigning power to one of the IndianaJones franchise artifacts to extraterrestrial technology, Crystal Skull Kingdom brings science fiction into the fold. The merit of this has been much debated in the years since, but the simple truth is that in doing so, crystal skull paved the way for countless new stories in the franchise. While the move is widely considered unpopular, it actually fits the careers of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, as both men enjoyed exceptional success in science fiction stories. Despite crystal skullmissteps, IndianaJones 5 can prove that science fiction was worthwhile innovation after all.
Crystal Skull hinted that Indiana Jones will need to be replaced
Another oft-criticized addition to the franchise that actually hides a significant development was Shia LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams. After playing the role of Jones’ sidekick, he was later revealed to be the iconic adventurer’s son. Although poorly written, the character has some potential. Although the various scandals that have since complicated Shia LaBeouf’s career make his eventual return to the franchise decidedly unlikely, his role in Crystal Skull Kingdom is actually very important for the IndianaJones franchise.
By including a clearly established character as a potential successor to the franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull gently alludes to the idea that Harrison Ford cannot continue in the role indefinitely. Sure, Harrison Ford can’t be replaced by Indiana Jones, but the truth is, his age makes his place in the franchise impossible. While Mutt Williams is unlikely to be the character who will become the face of cinema’s most iconic action-adventure franchise, Crystal Skull Kingdom introduces the prospect of replacing Harrison Ford, which will help soften the blow when the time comes to IndianaJones to find his new lead.
The Last Crusade has closed the book on Indiana Jones – Crystal Skull has reopened it
The most obvious way that Crystal Skull Kingdom saved the IndianaJones franchise could also be the most important. As Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ended with the hero literally fleeing into the sunset, it seemed, at one point, to be the end of the franchise. Even though The Last Crusade didn’t close the door on continuing the Indiana Jones story, the 19 years after its release seemed to mark the end of the IndianaJones franchise.
However Crystal Skull Kingdom could be considered a disappointment, it kept the franchise alive. He renewed IndianaJones set in a new century for a new generation, and while some consider it missed the mark, it delivered another action-packed adventure for the titular character. Even after suffering an unfavorable comparison to previous films, Crystal Skull Kingdom always pushed the franchise forward on the merit of its very existence, as it introduced the idea that an older Jones could still helm movies within the franchise.
Why Crystal Skull Is Underrated (Despite The Hate)
When compared to other IndianaJones movies, crystal skull may turn out favorably, but it’s still not a bad movie per se. It remains largely faithful to the spirit of the IndianaJones movies, and barring a plot hole or two, Crystal Skull Kingdom has a generally fun and exciting story to tell. Critics have praised the film’s action, score, costume design and cast – which means there are actually a number of important things going on. crystal skull did well.
In fact, maybe the thing that hurts Crystal Skull Kingdom the plus is just that it’s just not as good as the previous films. Unfortunately, the fourth film in the franchise not only had to cross the high bar set by the previous ones. IndianaJones films, in addition to almost two decades of accumulated expectations. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull may not have fully met the expectations set by the franchise, but it managed to save IndianaJones in more ways than one.
Next: Indiana Jones: All 4 Movies, Ranked Worst To Best
- Indiana Jones 5 (2023)Release date: June 30, 2023
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