Ranking of all 5 Indiana Jones movies, including 'Dial of Destiny'

Ranking of all 5 Indiana Jones movies, including ‘Dial of Destiny’

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With the release of Harrison Ford’s latest Indiana Jones film, The Quadrant of Destiny, the saga is officially over. But before we put all five films in one museum, let’s take a look back. Under The Hollywood Reporter ranks Dr. Jones’ adventures from worst to best. It’s a franchise that helped define the summer blockbuster and featured some of the best work from creators George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Ford, who will likely forever be more closely identified with its intrepid archaeologist than any other character in his career.

However, since we’re starting at the bottom, this can only mean that we need to discuss first…

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Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf in

Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”

Paramount/Courtesy of Everett Collection

5. The realm of the crystal skull (2008)

A hokey ramshackle mess. Everything about the fourth film feels strangely distant and worn out somehow. Glossy cinematography by the usually stellar Janusz Kaminski also manages to make outdoor scenes feel like they’re inside a studio, while the less said about Indy Mutt’s (Shia LaBeouf) son and his Tarzan swing, the better. is (in fairness to LaBeouf, one suspects that no actor could have made his character work as written). In other Indy movies you try to pick the best sequence; here it’s a fight for the worst (most pick the “nuke the fridge” scene; my pick is the graveyard brawl with the parkour warriors). An Indy movie’s MacGuffin may not be the most important element, but it’s not inconsequential either, and Dr. Jones’ search for an alien artifact leads to a climactic sequence groan and some of the franchise’s worst CGs to round out the All. It’s the only film of the five that sounds like a catchphrase.

James Mangold Indiana Jones


4. The Quadrant of Destiny (2023)

Not as bad as the Cannes buzz suggested, but not as good as fans had hoped, Quadrant of Destiny represents a clear step forward compared to Crystal Skull while still ranking miles below the original trilogy. Aged Indy’s opening sequence is surprisingly decent (Ford’s gravel voice can’t be aged as well as her face) and the film shifts effectively for most of its run, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge bringing some of bright energy as Indy the goddaughter Helena Shaw and always watchable Mads Mikkelsen as the villain Jürgen Voller. Ford is compelling when given something to do, even if Indy also feels like a frustratingly passive character at times. Then comes the derailment: after two hours of teasing the idea of ​​Indiana Jones traveling back in time, the payoff is astounding and disappointing. Instead of revisiting, say, a moment from Indy’s legendary past, it’s so easy to imagine Voller wanting to use the Dial to get the Ark of the Covenant during Indy’s Raiders adventure, or the holy grail during The Last Crusade, to achieve its goal of helping the Nazis win WWII – we are instead transported to an ancient Roman battle that the audience doesn’t care about. Even Voller’s stated plan to go back to 1939 is more exciting than what the film actually did. Ultimately, Indy remained in a pretty good place, but one wishes the filmmakers could use a Dial of Destiny to go back and rework the film’s third act.

Harrison Ford in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'

Paramount/Courtesy of Everett Collection

3. The temple of evil (1984)

Temple of Destiny has been criticized (including by Lucas and Spielberg) as overly dark (its release helped inspire the PG-13 rating), and there really are moments where it seems like they cross the line for what these movies are supposed to be (like that flogging scene). It was also rightly criticized for leaning heavily on offensive racial stereotypes while Indy runs into a Thuggee cult enslaving children in India. Many also find Kate Capshaw’s screaming Willie Scott off-putting. It’s hard to go from all these elements to an “yet…” but… it’s still .. when the movie works, it has some of the best sequences of the franchise: the negotiation at the disco, the raft escape from a crashing plane, the “they or won’t they” seduction scene, the tip room, the surrender some accounts on the climax bridge: they are all fantastic and Ke Huy Quan’s Short Round is sometimes a winner. It certainly helps matters – Ford is the pinnacle of Sexy Indy at that).

Harrison Ford and Sean Connery in

Paramount/Courtesy of Everett Collectio

2. The Last Crusade (1989)

The Last Crusade It’s a favorite of many Indy fans and it’s easy to see why. The film is a delight – the warmest and funniest of the franchise – with a deft and witty screenplay by Jeffrey Boam. Sean Connery is perfect as Indy’s father, Henry Jones, and their interaction is at times playful and heartwarming (after Henry uses his umbrella to force the birds to hit an attacking fighter plane, the facial expression by Indy as he is silently overcome with unexpected love for his my dad gets me every time). The soundtrack is one of John Williams’ best. THE The Last Crusade it also has arguably the strongest ending in the franchise, with its three booby traps and a feeling of genuine urgency with Henry’s life in danger (even accounting for the ridiculousness of the Crusader – the film is a bit silly at times). Henry calling his son “Indiana” for the first time and gently telling him to let go of the Holy Grail is one of the most beautiful beats in the saga, and their long sunset ride over the end credits is such an ideal and wonderful ending that probably no one should have attempted to make another Indiana Jones movie after this one.

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in

Paramount/Courtesy of Everett Collection

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark it’s the closest you can get to a perfect action movie. After 1941 spectacularly bombed, Spielberg wanted to try himself again in Hollywood and it shows: every scene is flawless, starting with the opening temple raid that has become one of the most iconic (and parodied) sequences in cinematic history. Ford deftly balances seriousness and humor, in turn demonstrating competence and fallibility, while Indy struggles – and fails, over and over, but stubbornly refuses to stop. There are so many moments that one could single out. The conference room scene is a master class in delivering lots of exposition in a compelling way (credit to screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan). The map room scene manages to keep the audience enthralled by simply watching Ford spend four minutes figuring something out—almost all of the narration is done on his face. Karen Allen’s Marion Ravenwood was ahead of her time as a strong action co-star. And the truck chase remains one of the best stunt sequences ever filmed. (What it says about the evolution of Hollywood cinema that the Indy film accomplished with practical effect – aside from some dated climactic animation – and the least amount of money – $20 million / $78 million with inflation – remains visually the stronger and more entrenched franchise – look for a voice?). Clearly, superior men – and women – were working on this.