After screenings, critics say the 20-years-in-the-making ''Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'' is a fun if not altogether fresh summer romp

Early reviews of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull have started to roll in ahead of its highly anticipated May 22 release, and the reaction so far has been a mixed bag. Most critics have said that it’s a bit too long, at two-plus hours, and that the plot is somewhat unfocused, but several also agree that it manages to succeed as a fun summertime adventure movie and that Harrison Ford still delivers the goods as the spry, archeological hero Dr. Jones. In short, while the pre-release buzz indicates that Indy 4 is definitely not without its flaws, it also hints that it should be more than enough to energize fanboys who really just want an excuse to pull out the whip and fedora one more time.

A quick summary of some of the early reviews:

Verdict: B-
”At its best, it’s a satisfying shuffle of the deck of famous Spielbergian moments that have gone before in E.T., Close Encounters, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The first 20 minutes, especially, are a blast of old-timey pleasure, as Indy is reintroduced, [Cate Blanchett’s] Irina is unveiled, and the production team shows what the king of witty action can do when he floors it.” —Lisa Schwarzbaum

Verdict: Negative
”Except for the opening — which literally starts the film off with a bang — and a couple of dazzling chase sequences, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is about as unfocused and meandering as the title itself.” — Christy Lemire

  • Verdict: Negative
  • ”After about an hour, the film abandons any pretense of story for a rush through fights, chases, machine gun fire, scorpions, quicksand, monkeys, huge snakes, and finally a secret city — part Mayan, part Aztec, certain to become both a video game and amusement park attraction…. The actors are asked to do little more than look reasonably alert.” — Kirk Honeycutt
  • Verdict: Positive
  • ”I can say that if you liked the other Indiana Jones movies, you will like this one, and that if you did not, there is no talking to you.”
  • Verdict: Positive
  • ”Though the film stars a relaxed and capable Harrison Ford as everyone’s favorite intrepid archaeologist and boasts supporting players ranging from Cate Blanchett as a superb villainess to Shia LaBeouf as the inevitable youngster, the real heroes of this film are director Steven Spielberg and the veritable army of superb technicians who turn the film’s numerous stunts and special effects into trains that insist on running on time.” — Kenneth Turan
  • Verdict: Positive
  • ”Its success rides almost entirely on Ford, who brightens the action — always improbable, occasionally ludicrous — with physical humor and rascally charm. He wears the role so naturally that his supporting actors often seem to be faking it.” — Rafer Guzman

Verdict: Neutral
”Karen Allen, purged from the series after Raiders of the Lost Ark, is back as Indy’s one-time paramour Marion Ravenwood, and if she’s nearly a decade younger than Harrison Ford, that still makes her the most age-appropriate screen companion he’s had in many moons. It’s enough to make you forgive a great deal of this film’s dumbness and appreciate it as meaningless, goodhearted, and mostly non-obnoxious entertainment.” — Andrew O’Hehir

Verdict: Positive
Crystal Skull is intended, and works effectively, as instant nostalgia — a class reunion of the old gang who in the ’80s reinvigorated the classic action film with such expertise and brio.” — Richard Corliss

Verdict: Neutral
”The stunts and special effects are spectacular, as one would expect from director Steven Spielberg…. But while it’s an intentionally far-fetched saga, there are especially implausible moments — even for Indiana Jones.” — Claudia Puig

  • Verdict: Positive
  • ”David Koepp’s script accomplishes the two essentials: It keeps the structure on the straight and narrow, and is true to the character of Indiana Jones himself. Thanks to this and Ford’s full-bodied performance, Indy comes through just as viewers remember him: crafty, capable, impatient, manly, and red-blooded American.” — Todd McCarthy
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  • Movie
  • 122 minutes