Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), directed by Steven Spielberg.

As an archaeologist, Indiana Jones is a wrecking ball. Did you see what he did to those tombs under Venice?

Spielberg and the other creators are good at the comical side of the mythology: the jokes and retro-adventure fighting chases. Sean Connery is a great addition here, with a real talent for the funny bits.

But the lavish silliness hurts the other, more rare aspects found only in the first film: the glimpses of a harder, more edgy story (as in the bar fight in Nepal) and the sense of awe and spiritual fear in the presence of holy mysteries (as in everything to do with the Ark of the Covenant).

After a disappointing second film, they decided to supersize the first one, repeating a bunch of scenes and even using the same musical cues. Bring back the nazis, call up Denholm Elliott and John Rhys-Davies.

It's fun if you can forget that the magic is gone. Where did it go? That has always puzzled me about series: having done it once, why can't they do it again?

Using Christian relics as magical props seems dumb to me. Immortality in this life? Horrific death for those who choose poorly? That seems confused. I can accept it more easily with the Ark because that is from the blood-and-thunder Old Testament (and I recall the Ark did kill someone), but maybe the whole concept is flawed. The sacred stones of the Hindus: I just don't know.

John Williams score.