One thing I feel about the film, while I do enjoy it, is it lacks a certain sort of "pop", a certain moment of tension or revealation, which the other films have. What I'm saying is, it feels quite boring compared to the others; There are no real stand out moments. Nothing that makes it feel like there's any tension or urgency or that anything is at stake. It's like a balloon that never quite gets full. It's a stick of dynamite that never goes off. I can't quite explain it, but even in great scenes like the Warehouse, some element of dynamic tension or excitement is just MISSING...It feels very lazy.
In the other films, I'll list some of those "pop", those sort of really memorably exciting or revealing moments, that keep the sense of urgency or tension or add real depth to the story:
-The wild shootout at the Bar. It brings back the action after a period of exposition.
-The same goes for the Village Fight; expertly filmed, keeps you on your toes, and then hits you in the gut when you think Marion is dead.
-The reveal of the Map Room. Probably one of the most "magical" moments in cinema
-The truck chase for obvious reasons
-The build up and tension surrounding the Ark before it's opening, the chilling spirits within, to the final, Biblical slam of the lid down with a crash of thunder.
-Anything Goes and the whole Shanghai segment. A great way to start the film, set the period well and keep the audience on their toes from the beginning.
-The Plane. A tense, urgent sort of moment, followed by a wild ride down a mountain and through rapids.
-The Village itself. It's memorable and revealing in that it has a desolate, eerie sort of presence; This is helped of course by the score.
-The Jungle. Indy and Short Round playing Poker and arguing juxtapose by Willie's terror in the Jungle.
-The attempted murder of Indy and the Temple itself, again, dark, tense, eerie. Keeps the audience on it's toes.
-The Heart ripping out scene. Exhilarating in a terrifying way, helped by the visuals and wild chanting of the Thugee.
-The Minecart chase. Literally a rollercoaster from start to finish there.
-The rope bridge. Indy's desperate, truly rogueish move and the final tense fight for the Stones.
-The prologue. The 1912 segment is full of excitement and is perfect in every sort of sense. It's like a wild Hardy Boy's romp and gives us a taste of Indy's youth.
-The reveal that Indy's father is the man who disappeared. The search around his house, Indy asking Marcus if he believes the Grail actually exists. A hint that there's a lot of depth to follow. That there's two quests in this film--Shown by Indy looking at the old photo of himself and his father juxtaposed with talk of the Grail, and the little cues of Williams' wonderful Grail theme.
-Indy's rescue of his father and their banter, and their stop in Germany. In the heart of the Nazi regime, in Berlin. Both scenes let us know more about both Joneses and the scene in Berlin is both humorous and dark.
-The motorcycle chase. Again, dynamic excitement.
-The talk in the Zeppelin; a moment of depth.
-Indy and the tank going over the Bridge and Henry Sr. thinking he's dead. Their hug. It's a nice moment. The Tank Chase as a whole, though, I feel is a dud much along the lines of the action in KOTCS. Never really takes off.
-The Temple and it's grandeur; Henry being shot and the urgency it creates; the Tests, the wonder and mystery of the Grail. The whole final sequence once they get to the Temple is great.
I just don't see any of these really special sort of moments in KOTCS. It's fun but with no depth. The action is good, but not great. There's just something which never POPs. The story as a concept had a TON of potential, for much much more, but it never quite takes flight. It's like the Tank Chase in LC; It feels sort of lazy when compared to the first two films, phoned in. There are moments where there was potential for brilliance, but on Koepp and Spielberg's end, it never takes off. The story--the basic story--had potential as I said, but for whatever reason, that sort of kinetic sort of excitement or that sort of magic, just wasn't there much of the time.
It's a lesser entry in the way that some of the Moore Bond films are lesser films compared to Goldfinger. Does that make them bad films? IMO, no. And KOTCS isn't a bad film either, it's actually a really fun, mindless film. But when you compare it to the first three, it doesn't quite hold up, and it isn't because of Aliens or the 50s or this or that--it's because the script doesn't really take a lot of potentially amazing plot points to their full potential and the direction doesn't feel inspired. It at times doesn't feel like a film directed by Steven Spielberg, actually.
KOTCS peaks for me during the motorcycle chase, The Jocks and The Greasers fighting, cutting through a Anti-Communist Prostest, and then sliding underneath the tables in the library, It's my favorite action scene in the movie by far.
A memorable moment: When Indy escapes, uses the whip to grab the light and tries to get to Spalko's car, but crashes in the other Soviets' car and says "Damn, I though that was closer!"
In fact it was so memorable, whoever made this montage, which aired during the Golden Globes, found it more memorable than any scene from Temple of Doom.
I think there are quite a few memorable moments in this film, though some of them hold negative reactions for a few (the fridge, the aliens). But even if this film wasn't that iconic with many money shots, it wouldn't be that big of a deal.
Several people claim Last Crusade is the best one, yet when I think of "Indiana Jones" not very many moments from that film spring to my mind the same way moments from Raiders and Temple do.