Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (KOTCS) is the newest addition of the timeless Indiana Jones series. All of the talent that made the first three films what they are has returned (including Karen Allen, Indy's love interest from Raiders of the Lost Ark), but there's one major problem with the film: It's been twenty years since the last Indy film was made, and thus a film that might have been much better received had it been made in the early 90's has become a mixed bag of tricks for most.
Now, I should first say that I rather liked this film, so if your opinion differs and you really refuse to hear otherwise, then this review is not for you. With that said, KOTCS begins in the mid-50's with Dr. Jones and his friend George finding themselves in the captivity of a gang of Soviet spies, led by Dr. Irina Spalko who is Stalin's head of paranormal research. It turns out that they've been taken to a secret facility at Area 51 (where, it turns out that the government stashed the Ark of the Covenant in the first film; not one of this film's more intelligent moments), and that Spalko wants Jones to help them find a mysterious artifact.
*There are spoilers below, but I recommend reading on even if you haven't seen this. It will likely make the movie easier to deal with when you see it*
It turns out the artifact is an alien body. The Russians are seeking a mysterious crystal skull which Spalko believes will allow the Soviets to eventually acquire mind control, with which they can indoctrinate the entire world. Jones must, of course, stop them, with the help iof teenage hooligan Mutt Williams who comes to Jones for help in finding his stepfather, an old friend of Indy's who in fact married Marian Ravenwood, Indy's love interest from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
A lot of the film lacks originality, as in the past twenty years, much of what the first three films made so fresh and timeless has been re-done a few too many times. It's possible that this film would have been better received as a unique entity, rather than as an attempt to recapture Indy's former glory. It's possible that the original trilogy has acquired a reputation slightly greater than what it deserved because it has become such a significant part of many of our lives.
I enjoyed KOTCS. There were some good chases, and in a few moments, the jokes about Harrison Ford's old age really hit home. This is a fun period actioner. If you liked the old films, and you're willing to forgive it's inferiority, give it a shot. Hopefully you'll share my opinion of it.