Before Crystal Skull, if there was a weak link in the Indy series, it was 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (now it looks like a masterpiece). Set before Raiders, because Lucas convinced Spielberg that Jones should be like Bond with a different girl in every film. The original second movie was going to revolve around Karen Allen’s father, Indiana’s mentor, but Lucas wanted to do something darker. George was going through a divorce and one of the darkest periods of his life, so instead of meeting Marian’s family, we got a Kali death cult in India that kidnapped children and performed human sacrifices. Dark times for George.
Dark enough that the violence in Temple of Doom upset so many parents that the MPAA created the PG-13 rating directly as a result of this film (which is pretty tame compared to most PG-13 films now, but good luck getting the MPAA to do anything about revising the ratings system). I can’t stand Kate Capshaw’s incessant screaming, and the opening club/musical number kind of makes me wince, but you can’t deny the awesomeness of Short Round and a number of the action pieces, especially the iconic mine car sequence, but the best piece in the film is Indy’s stand on the bridge. It’s one of the best moments in the series, hands down.