As with George Lucas's other movie franchise, there's a vein of mysticism running through the Indiana Jones Trilogy. Watching all three back-to-back it's possible to unravel the chronology and chart the spiritual journey of our hero: the idealistic Young Indy ("It belongs in a museum", implores River Phoenix in the opening escapade of The Last Crusade) grows up to become a cynical fortune-hunter seen trading archaeological treasures with Chinese gangsters at club "Obi-Wan" in The Temple of Doom. From there we follow his path to redemption via three mystical religious objects: respectively Hindu (the Shankara stones in Temple of Doom), Jewish (the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders Of The Lost Ark), and Christian (the Holy Grail itself in Last Crusade).
But that's just the subtext. Along the way, this knight-errant archaeologist undertakes improbable adventures (featuring spiders, snakes, rats, insects and Nazis galore), rescues damsels in distress (even when they really don't want to be rescued, such as Kate Capshaw in Temple of Doom), and still finds time to bond with his dad (Sean Connery, in one of cinema's great cameo roles as Dr Jones Sr.).
Steven Spielberg revels in Lucas's recreation of 1930s cliff-hanger serials, infusing every scene with kinetic energy and infectious enthusiasm and creating any number of iconic sequences that have become touchstones of cinematic history. Director and producer are more than ably assisted by regular composer John Williams, whose swashbuckling Korngold-inspired "Raiders" theme casts Harrison Ford as a modern-day Errol Flynn. This trilogy plays like a self-contained whole that leaves nothing wanting: from the witty dialogue and breathtaking action choreography to the near-perfect casting, this is popular movie-making at its very peak