A tale of two sequels

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is OK. Mostly it feels like a box-ticking exercise for Indy fans. Frenetic opening scene that could be the grand climax of another action movie? Yep. Fedora and whip? Yep. Snakes? Hordes of gross insects? Hundreds of skeletons in a catacomb falling on top of our hero and heroine? Yep, yep, yep. Don’t forget about connecting scenes with a map and a moving dot.

It is a far better attempt than 2008’s disappointing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but still a bit short of the original trilogy back in the 1980s. At least I did get invested in the story enough that I got an appropriate laugh at how Helen — Dr. Jones’ goddaughter — resolves the dilemma at the climax when Indy wants to (can’t go on without spoilers). And I did tear up at the final scene despite being fully aware it was another box being ticked.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, on the other hand, is a terrific film. It also ticks a lot of boxes — after all, I am Groot! — but the story is much more compelling, revealing the backstory of Rocket Raccoon. On the other hand, the third Indiana Jones movie is the best except for the first, too. Maybe a fourth, or fifth, Guardians of the Galaxy movie 25 or 40 years after the first would also feel unnecessary.

It is kind of nice to check in with familiar characters to see their happily-ever-after, but if I want to relive the joy of watching Indiana Jones again, it’s more likely than not that I’ll haul out Raiders of the Lost Ark or Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

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