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All five movies, ranked (incl. Dial of Destiny) – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

All five movies, ranked (incl. Dial of Destiny)



All five movies ranked incl Dial of Destiny TheFantasyTimes

With Harrison Ford’s final adventure as the iconic Indiana Jones hitting theaters this week, there’s no better time to reflect on and rank all five films in the beloved franchise.

During my childhood, the Indiana Jones movies captivated my imagination and fueled my love for cinema. Whether it was witnessing Indy’s daring escape from a rolling boulder or his intense battles on a moving conveyor belt, these films held my undivided attention. While I went through various phases of fandom, from superheroes to G.I. Joe, Star Wars to WWE, it was Indiana Jones that truly dominated my early years (I even wore a brown fedora everywhere I went from ages 6 to 10). Therefore, each of these films holds a special place in my heart, evoking a sense of nostalgia. Without further delay, here is my personal ranking of the five Indiana Jones films.

5. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)

Let me start by acknowledging James Mangold’s commendable effort in giving Indy a fitting final sendoff. However, it is evident that despite his best intentions, Dial of Destiny falls short and stands as the weakest entry in the franchise. While it has its moments, the film occasionally feels disconnected from the previous films, especially the original trilogy. The opening sequence, although entertaining at times, tries too hard to obscure Ford’s de-aged face, setting an unfavorable tone for the entire movie.

Undoubtedly, Harrison Ford has aged significantly since his previous appearances as Indy (it has been 15 years since the fourth installment). Nonetheless, Dial of Destiny seems to shelter him from real danger, with his character rarely facing any genuine threats aside from a few punches. Additionally, Mads Mikkelsen’s talent feels somewhat underutilized as the film’s antagonist. Although he does channel the same sinister energy as Ronald Lacey in Raiders of the Lost Ark, much of the dirty work is delegated to lesser-known henchmen like Boyd Holbrook.

A fifth Indiana Jones film was not a necessity, so I am grateful that we received one. However, it reinforces the idea that the entire series should now be preserved within the confines of a museum.

4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

There is an evident disparity between the original Indiana Jones trilogy and the subsequent two entries. Nevertheless, as a seven-year-old, I ADORED Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (I even kept a special magazine featuring a flip-phone tie-in game advertisement on the back). During quarantine, I revisited the fourth Indiana Jones film and was pleasantly surprised by the captivating cold open, which may be the second-best in the entire series.

If not for the outlandish appearance of aliens in the third act, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull could have served as the perfect farewell to Indiana Jones. The wedding scene, though tainted in retrospect due to Shia LaBeouf’s controversies, provided a sweet conclusion that Dial of Destiny then had to attempt to surpass. Additionally, the motorcycle chase scene, which benefits from its 1950s setting, is an absolute blast.

3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

The second Indiana Jones film, confusingly set as a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, embraces the series’ weirdest and most distinctive elements, deserving praise for its audacity. Indy embarks on a mission to rescue stolen and enslaved children from a Thugee cult. Upon revisiting the film, I was surprised by its cerebral pacing, with a significant amount of time spent at the palace in India before the discovery of the hidden tunnels.

Although it may venture into the realm of absurdity with its heart-ripping scenes, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains iconic, largely due to its thrilling minecart and bridge sequences in the climactic third act. Moreover, the conveyer belt fight scene, accompanied by a voodoo doll attack, provides one of the most perilous situations Indy has ever faced.

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2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The Last Crusade could have served as a natural conclusion for the Indiana Jones franchise (Indy quite literally rides off into the sunset). However, the third film returns to the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark after the darker tone of Temple of Doom. Starting with an exhilarating chase sequence that explores the origins of a young Indy (portrayed by River Phoenix) and his acquisition of the iconic fedora, The Last Crusade stands as the epitome of adventure filmmaking. The tank chase and the trials Indy faces to reach the Holy Grail at the film’s climax are exemplary, and subsequent entries in the franchise failed to match this level of excellence.

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

As the saying goes, “the sequel is never as good as the original,” and in this case, it holds true that “the sequels are never as good as the original.” Raiders of the Lost Ark is a cinematic masterpiece, delivering pure bliss from its iconic opening to its climactic finale. They simply do not make movies like this anymore—whether within the Indiana Jones franchise or beyond.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is currently showing in theaters.


All five movies ranked incl Dial of Destiny TheFantasyTimes

With Harrison Ford’s last ride with the Fedora and whip, Dial of Destiny, coming out this week, what better time than to look back and rank all five Indiana Jones films?

As a kid, the Indiana Jones films are what made me love movies. Seeing him escape the boulder or fight someone on a conveyer belt took all of my attention. I went through all the phases — superheroes, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, WWE, etc. — but it was Indiana Jones that dominated much of my childhood (I donned a brown fedora almost everywhere I went from the ages of 6-10). So with that said, all of these films mean a lot to me and have their own nostalgia attached. Without further ado, here’s my ranking of the five films.

5. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)

Look, I loved James Mangold’s effort of giving Indy his true final sendoff, but it’s clear that despite his best efforts, Dial of Destiny is by far the worst film in the franchise. It has its moments, but it occasionally doesn’t even feel like it’s a part of the same franchise as the previous films (especially the O.G. trilogy). The opening sequence, while fun at times, was also distractingly dark to try and hide Ford’s de-aged face which set the whole film off on the wrong foot.

I get it — Harrison Ford is significantly older than he was in the previous films (it has been 15 years since the fourth film) — but Dial of Destiny feels like they wrap him in bubble wrap as he’s hardly in danger aside from eating a punch or two. Plus, Mads Mikkelsen feels slightly wasted as the film’s antagonist. Sure, he channels the same creepy energy as Ronald Lacey in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but all of his dirty work is done by the likes of Boyd Holbrook and other nameless henchmen.

A fifth Indiana Jones film was never needed, so I’m grateful that we got one, but it reinforced the idea that the entire series belongs in a museum from now on.

4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

It’s clear that there’s a clear disparity between the original Indiana Jones trilogy and the latter two entries. That said, seven-year-old me ADORED Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (I still have the special magazine with an ad for a flip-phone tie-in game on the back). I watched the fourth Indiana Jones film over quarantine and was pleasantly surprised at how the cold open may be the second-best in the entire series.

If not for the ridiculous-looking aliens in the third act, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull may have been the perfect sendoff for Indiana Jones. The wedding scene, while ruined in hindsight thanks to Shia LaBeouf’s controversies, was a sweet ending that Dial of Destiny then had to try and top. Plus, the motorcycle chase scene (mostly due to its 1950s setting) is so much fun.

3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

The second Indiana Jones film, which is confusingly a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, is the weirdest that the series has ever gotten — and should be applauded for that trait. Indy is tasked with retrieving stolen and enslaved children from a Thugee cult. Upon rewatching, it’s surprising just how cerebral the pace of the film is. So much time is spent in India in the palace before the tunnels are discovered.

Perhaps a bit too ridiculous with hearts being grabbed out of the bodies of people, the second Indiana Jones film is still iconic due to its minecart and bridge sequences in the third act. Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever felt like Indy was in more peril than when he was fighting on the conveyer belt whilst being attacked by a voodoo doll.

2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The Last Crusade could have been another natural endpoint for the Indiana Jones franchise (I mean, he literally rides off into the sunset), but the third film harkened back to the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark after the darker Temple of Doom. Beginning with a great chase sequence as we see the origins of a young Indy (played by River Phoenix) and how he got the signature fedora, the Last Crusade is the pinnacle of adventure films in many ways. The tank chase and even the trials that Indy faces at the end to get to the Holy Grail are top notch and the franchise failed to ever live up to this in the following films.

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Sometimes, the saying “the sequel is never as good as the original” is true — and in this case, it’s “the sequels are never as good as the original.” Raiders of the Lost Ark is pure bliss when it comes to cinema from the iconic opening to the finale. They just don’t make ’em like they used to — Indiana Jones movies or other.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is in theaters now.

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