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Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull Is Better Than Raiders Of The Lost Ark

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We Defend the Indefensible

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better than Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark We Defend the Indefensible
Lucasfilm

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better than Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yeah, right we hear you shout. Sometimes, a classic isn’t as good as it’s made out to be, and sometimes a film that people write off as a howler is actually… good.

You’ve seen the headline and you’re probably set to punch your screen, but hear us out. We would never go as far as to say that Steven Spielberg’s 1981 archaeology-em-up, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, is bad.

Who doesn’t love seeing young Harrison Ford heft bags of sand, get sweaty, and play with his whip? But…we will go as far as to say this: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better.

Public opinion isn’t exactly on our side. Raiders of the Lost Ark has a 96% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, which is quite frankly ridiculous.

No film is that good. While Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s 54% leaves it lagging, we think it’s an unfair reflection of this neglected gem. Why? Hold our hand and read on.

1. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made more money internationally

Here’s something worth remembering: films exist to make money. Yes, they can be works of art. Yes, they mean a lot to people. But they’re big business, and if they do big business at the box office, they’re a success no matter what you think.

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made over $790 million worldwide. Admittedly, Raiders made more overall when adjusted for inflation but a whopping 63% of those earnings were domestic.

Whereas around 60% of Kingdom’s takings were from international cinema-goers. For us, this indicates a wider appeal. It indicates that more people got more out of the 2008 film. 

And as well as showing financial success, it suggests that the film was better able to cross boundaries and bring people together, which in the modern world, can only be a good thing. So, thanks for the love-in, George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg.

2. Nazis are cheating

Yes, Major Toht (the Gestapo agent with the round glasses) is a good baddie in Raiders. The weird voice, the breathing thing he does when he gets excited about burning Marion.

But he and the other key bad guys in that film are NAZIS. Come on. It’s too easy to take the most evil people in 20th-century history (and perhaps beyond) and stick them in your film.

It’s like saying something happened because ‘God did it’. And, come to think of it, Raiders sort of does that too…

In Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, by contrast, the film has to work much harder to come up with bad guys. Yes, the Russian mafia are not exactly nuanced baddies, but the FBI and the US government don’t exactly come out strongly on the side of good in the film either.

And it’s much braver to make the USA an ambiguous presence in a film like that.

3. Old Indy

One of the reasons that The Last Crusade is quite possibly the best of the original Indy trilogy is the performance of Sean Connery as the older Dr Jones.

It’s not just that he’s a good actor, it’s that he brings pathos to the film with his physical frailty and the sense of those lost years of a father-son relationship.

OK, 2008 Harrison Ford was in far better shape than Connery in 1989 and he plays the Indy of Kingdom with impressive vigour. But the years are etched into his features.

The jowls, the craggy face. The bulkier build, the way he breathes more heavily after an action sequence. Life and adventures have taken their toll on our hero. He’s not a superman any more, and perhaps he never was.

On top of that, we have the emotional reunion of Indy and Marion after years apart. And Karen Allen (who plays Marion in both films), while wonderfully preserved for a woman of 60, is also visibly aged.

What’s more moving than the reunion of lovers when they’re no longer young and beautiful?

4. Nostalgia

Can you honestly say that when you took a seat in that cinema to see Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for the first time you weren’t excited by the potential of what was about to happen? By this point you knew who Indy was, you knew what he’d been through.

Back in 1981 before you saw the movie you wouldn’t have had that feeling, it was all new. The feeling of anticipation gifted to you by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull would’ve been worth its weight in gold.

Look, you may not agree with us. You don’t have to, it’s your right as an argumentative human being on the internet. But this is our hill, and while we at TheCultureCrossing.com aren’t willing to die on it, we are willing to put it on the internet and wince. And what’s braver than that?


There you have it, that’s our argument for why Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better than Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Is there anything we missed out that you think could’ve been on this list or are we way out of our depth with this argument? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read more defend the indefensible articles HERE.

Read IMDB information about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull HERE.

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Movie News

Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters

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MCU Harry Potter houses image
Marvel Studios & Warner Bros.

Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?

Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw

While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.

Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor

Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff

Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.

Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw

Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.

Thor- Gryffindor

Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.

Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor

Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.

Dr Strange- Ravenclaw

Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.

Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff

Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.

Loki- Slytherin

Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.

Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin

This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.

T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff

T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.

Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor

At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.


Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.


Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.

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