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YMMV / Indiana Jones

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For the Atari 2600 game Raiders of the Lost Ark , see here.

  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: In Temple of Doom, Willie briefly has a near-moment, where she's almost sacrificed in a horrific way, by a brainwashed Indy no less. Unfortunately, after surviving it, she goes right back into Damsel Scrappy mode, and the audience's pity disappears.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Indy a true-blue hero? Is he a Blood Knight trying to break out of the humdrum existence of a university professor? Or is he a underdeveloped manchild trying to live out the adolescent fantasies of youth with a "secret identity"?
    • Most likely all three.
    • A good number of fans take Marcus Brody's deterioration in competence and death before the start of the fourth movie as evidence that he had a condition (say, Alzheimer's) chipping away at his cognitive abilities. Then there's the whole "once got lost in his own museum" thing, and the fact that he only acts incompetent when out of his comfort zone (which never happened in the first movie). Indy fully expected him to get captured in the 3rd film, and admits he lied his ass off about how competent Marcus really was.
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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Given Temple of Doom's portrayal of India, it comes as no surprise as to why it is not well received and was once banned in that country. To a lesser extent, many Russians had similar feelings in regard to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • Angst? What Angst?: In The Last Crusade, Elsa is severely traumatized, screaming her head off, as Donovan dies right in front of her eyes, from something she deliberately did to him no less, and yet in the next scene she acts as if nothing happened.
    • Most likely, she wasn't expecting Donovan to die like that - even Indy is visibly unnerved - and it was probably the fact that the Grail was within her grasp that helped her shift her focus.
  • Awesome Music: The John Williams theme is now the adventure theme.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Short Round. Either he's a good Kid Sidekick with a surprising aptitude for fighting and quite a bit of worldly knowledge and one of the few positive role models for young Asian boys in the 80s or an annoying bratty kid scrappy with No Indoor Voice.
  • Complete Monster: Has its own page.
  • Contested Sequel:
    • Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. Some people say it is total crap, others say it was fun but not up to Indiana Jones standards, some liked the acting and characters but not the writing, some liked it all except for the Gainax Ending, Shia LaBeouf blames himself and his monkey-swinging Tarzan act, and then there are those that hold it as being better than Temple of Doom but not up to the standards of the "Nazi" movies. Really, it isn't broken so much as shattered into thousands of pieces.
    • Temple of Doom gets this, too. It mostly comes down to whether Kate Capshaw was too annoying for the movie to be enjoyable. It also comes down to whether the Gorn was too much. Others consider it an embarrassment for its unironic reuse of colonialist era stereotypes about India, which many, in India and outside, see as racist.
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  • Crazy Awesome: Hardly needs to be said in Henry Jones Sr.'s case. The man took out fighter plane with an umbrella and a flock of seagulls. While quoting Charlemagne.
  • Critical Dissonance: A different case than usual: Critics generally gave Crystal Skull good to great reviews, while some fans were the ones that hated it.
    • Temple of Doom gets enough flack that its Rotten Tomatoes score of 85% might surprise some people.
  • Damsel Scrappy: Willie Scott. After a boisterous Hard-Drinking Party Girl like Marion, it's hard for some fans to accept that not every woman's cut out for the adventure shtick. Even her useful moments (punching a mook strangling Indy, stepping on Mola Ram's hands as he tried to climb pasted them) aren't enough to be Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
  • Draco In A Leather Dress: Irina Spalko is one of the rare female examples. In her defense, she does have some genuine AntiVillain-ish character traits but not enough to fully qualify for the trope.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Henry Jones Sr.
    • For many a little Asian boy in the 1980s, Short Round was the ONLY positive and heroic Asian role model he could relate to.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Irina Spalko, all thanks to the beautiful Cate Blanchett plus a sexy Fake Russian accent.
    • Elsa from The Last Crusade. Holy hell, that woman was gorgeous.
  • First Installment Wins: Of all the Indiana Jones works, Raiders of the Lost Ark is the one whose actual plot you're most likely to remember. It has the famous scenes and lines, namely the opening sequence in the cave, the Nazis as villains, and the most liked of Indy's love interests. Of the sequels, The Last Crusade is well remembered because of the quest for the Grail and Sean Connery as Henry Jones Sr, albeit Crusade is the most well-remembered of the sequels largely because of its faithfulness in tone to the original.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • The use of improbable escapes to get Indy out of danger. While the original trilogy was always fondly remembered for its masterful action choreography, some of the more silly escapes were affectionately mocked by fans. Case in point: Indy somehow hitching a ride on a Nazi submarine in Raiders of the Lost Ark without drowning, and surviving falling out of a plane in an inflatable raft in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Both were widely derided as ridiculous, but few people thought they were bad enough to spoil good action movies. But when Indy survived a nuclear explosion in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by hiding in a refrigerator, it was widely held up by critics as one of the worst moments of the film, and many fans believed that it finally stretched the audience's suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.
    • The racism and colonialist imagery of Temple of Doom which is today seen as an Old Shame for the franchise, was already there in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spielberg's biographer and film critic Joseph McBride points out that Raiders begins with stereotypical imagery of angry natives chasing out the white man after he steals an artifact from their culture, and the middle half set in the Middle East is full of orientalist imagery, with the idea of a white man shooting an Arab played for Black Comedy. What balanced it was the fact that in Raiders of the Lost Ark the main bad guys are the Nazis whereas Temple of Doom paints local Indians as a psychotic cannibal child-sacrificing cult while the English Colonial Army serves as The Cavalry, making the colonialist baggage unmistakable. Raiders of the Lost Ark is likewise a Genre Throwback to a whole slew of pulp fiction and adventure movies, where Temple of Doom is largely based on Gunga Din which is adapted from a Rudyard Kipling story, deriving in both cases from a more values-dissonant time.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: From Raiders: There's a big snake in the plane!
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Scapegoat Creator: Much like Star Wars, expect any of the blame for problems to get thrown squarely at George Lucas and no one else.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Elsa and Henry Sr. canonically have this relationship, with Henry Sr. using this exact phrase to describe it.
  • Special Effect Failure: Prevented by, of all people, the MPAA in Raiders. The model of Belloq's head which explodes during the film's climax can be seen in the behind-the-scenes footage of the DVD, and was laughably unconvincing. However, the MPAA objected to the blood and brain fragments that could be seen after the explosion, and so the film makers obscured the sequence by superimposing flames over the footage... which had the side-effect of covering up the model's deficiencies and making the scene look pretty convincing!
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Steven Spielberg badly wanted to direct a James Bond movie, but was rejected twice by Eon Productions. George Lucas presented him with an idea "better than James Bond" and the rest is history. Spielberg would call Raiders of the Lost Ark "a James Bond film without the hardware".
  • Squick: According to the script and Word of God, Indiana and Marion's "relationship" started when she was 15 and he was 27. When they meet again, ten years later, Marion chastises Jones, stating, "I was a child! I was in love! It was wrong and you knew it!" Jones shows little remorse, and simply replies "You knew what you were doing." It gets worse when you realize that George Lucas originally wanted her to be 11 when they first met. Lessened with the release of Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide in 2008, which retcons her as being 17 years old when she first met Indy. Though she's still a whole decade younger than him, it's somewhat slightly less squick-y than 15 or 11.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull fell flat with fans (but not critics) due to comparisons to the original trilogy.
  • Values Dissonance: Whether the series is a horrific affront to the field of archaeology or not gets debated by the experts themselves. Ultimately, they generally conclude that while Indy isn't exactly great as an archaeologist, the films shouldn't exactly be faulted for being inaccurate, considering the perception of the field has changed greatly since the film came out.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: That bridge in The Last Crusade, the leap of faith. You don't even see it until the camera pans and throws it off kilter!
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Temple of Doom, along with Gremlins, which was produced by Spielberg, were dark enough to lead to the creation of the PG-13 rating.


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