Many years after the finale of the original trilogy of Indiana Jones movies, they decided to make another. I admit I was skeptical, not unlike what had happened with the Star Wars movies. I personally like the trilogy produced by Lucas telling us the origin of Darth Vader, but I see why people regard it with suspicion. It's not like the others, it's full of then-new tech tricks which allow us to see more than we did before. That turns out to be the case with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as well. There's more stuff to see, and while at times that becomes ridiculous, it never loses my attention.
The movie is set in 1957, and Indiana Jones is an older and wiser man, though no less dedicated to finding lost treasures where he comes across them. The use of the Soviet Union to replace the Nazis was a great touch as they are suitably evil for all narrative purposes. You don't have to spend a lot of time with it, just assert it. The goal is a properly mysterious one as well and I liked that the story shifted its settings this time to South America. Another Indy movie in the Middle East would've been capitulation to convention and admission of a lack of imagination.
This movie is very well cast overall with the likes of Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone and John Hurt involved in various ways. Blanchett as a Soviet telepath and dedicated soldier is particularly sweet as she is constantly met with disappointment in the film. Ray Winstone is dandy as a soldier of fortune of questionable loyalty and John Hurt is kind of wasted as an archeologist who is largely hypnotized by the awesomeness of the "magic" he's uncovered. Shia Labeouf was okay as Indy's young helper, but it's Karen Allen who steals the show when she returns in the role of Marion Ravenwood.
As I said there are things in the movie I like which are outlandish. Indy surviving a nuclear blast by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator is stunning visually but silly too. The battle back and forth between the trucks in the jungle is excessive in any number of places, and I understand wanting to call back to the great truck battle in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but that one kept our credulity carefully protected while this just says it's a movie so who cares. The ending comes quick and I like the twist on the nature of the "aliens". It's a better solution overall.
This is a fun movie. I am happy they made it.