Over the weekend I watched all of the Indiana Jones films again. I'm not sure if I'd ever seen the first two in full before. I'd rank them like this:
Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade - Fantastic action, heroes that are easy to get behind, villains that are easy to hate, a ton of great character work all around, and Sean Connery is a fucking TREASURE.
Raiders of the Lost Ark - A super close second. Sets a great tone for what would become a franchise. A lot of fun "Old Hollywood" action and interplay, really showing how much Lucas and Spielberg loved the old adventure serials that inspired them to make it. It does feel a touch dated in how it handles non-white cultures. Karen Allen should have been a much bigger deal after this movie.
Temple of Doom - Holy shit, what a drop off. Ya'll, bless the people in this movie and their talent, but it's just feels so racist and sexist. Plus, Indy feels like a slightly different character here than he does in the first and third films. The only reason it's not my pick for dirt worst is some of the action and comedy bits feel slightly more inspired than the stuff in number four.
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - I actually don't hate this one for all the reasons that usually get brought up. If treating Old Testament religion as literal truth is okay in the former films, then so are a lot of the central plot points here. The problem is the movie is just kinda dull, huh? Bless John Hurt, Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Jim Broadbent, Cate Blanchett, and - hell - even Shia Lebouf for trying, but it just ain't the same. While I think it was a fine choice to move from Nazis to Russian Communists, they're tonally handled strangely. The movie can't decide whether to go all in on Cold War propaganda or call it out. And even if they were handled well (they totally should have called it out at every turn), I'd just never get the same "GET THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS" feeling that I got when Indy was punching Nazis. Plus, a lot of the stuff with Shia's character just feels so forced in the way it was written and presented.
But people should totally watch Raiders and Last Crusade, in that order. You can skip the other two entirely and everything's fine.