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By Matt Holcomb | July 20, 2001

In the summer of 1989, “Indiana Jones” made a triumphant return to the big screen after a five-year absence. On this occasion, for the third and supposedly final installment, Indy’s father, played to note-perfect perfection by Sean Connery in old-miser mode, was along for the ride as the Jones boys went looking for the Holy Grail. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” also marked a triumphant return to form for Steven Spielberg, hot off the heels of two of his least-regarded (and underrated) films — “Empire of the Sun” and “Always.”
Going by the IMDb’s user ratings for each of the three Indiana Jones films, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the first adventure, is considered the best of the trilogy with an aggregate score of 8.6/10 from 36,862 votes, followed closely by the “Last Crusade” with 7.9/10 from 24,091 votes. “The Temple of Doom,” the daring, dastardly and doomed prequel to “Raiders,” is a clear-winner as the ‘worst’ film of the series, with an average of 7.0/10 from just 12,519 votes.
Ask any ardent Indiana Jones aficionado to rank the three films, and they’ll echo the IMDb’s democracy-on-show ratings. Critics, too, will rank them in the same order. Okay, so what am I driving at? Well, knowing what we all know and fear about sequels, the “Last Crusade” is not considered a pale imitation of the scarily proficient original. Judged independently, it’s a great film, maybe even a classic film. Judged as part of a series, and as the series’ concluding chapter, it comfortably serves its purpose, and admirably to boot. It was designed as the third act in a three-act series. It was written — with a deft hand — to be a rollicking swan song. Just look at the title!
Because the “Last Crusade” is a great film, a great accompaniment to a great film series, and a great final chapter, the idea of a fourth Indiana Jones adventure, made by three superstar filmmakers struggling to maintain form, that succeeds as a second curtain call, and a film worthy of the banner without invalidating the Last Crusade, becomes, well, laughable.
Get the whole story in part three of INDIANA JONES AND THE IMPOSSIBLE SEQUEL>>>

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