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A thrilling afternoon at the movies as May Movie Mania continued with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I admit, even with cool trailers and some decent advance buzz, I was leery of this movie. Neither George Lucas or Steven Spielberg have the best track records for summer movies over the past few years.

Spielberg’s last big popcorn movie was the awful 2005 remake of  War of the Worlds. For Lucas, he doled out a trilogy of bad films with Star Wars episodes one, two and three. It was like they’d both forgotten how to make a big, fun movie.

They are back in top form with the fourth installment of Indiana Jones. Spielberg smartly delivers a movie that looks and feels like it was made only a couple years after 1989’s Last Crusade. The film retains the style of the serial adventures Indy was inspired by. To keep that style, they even use an old school Paramount Pictures logo … a very nice touch. Lucas story, adapted to screenplay by David Koepp is tight, keeping the pacing expected from an Indy film.

Not since the 90s with Clear and Present Danger, The Fugitive and Air Force One has Harrison Ford been this good. He’s an older Indy, but he’s got what it takes to play the adventure. It’s a blast to see Karen Allen back as Marion. And, most of all, Shia LaBeouf brings just the right youthful punch to the film without trying to overshadow Ford or Allen. Cate Blanchett as the villain is spot on as she rides the fine line of almost, but not quite, going over the top.

I’m not going to discuss the plot because I don’t won’t to spoil anything. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. I will say, however, that the sequence with the ants made me squirm. I watched through mostly closed eyes… I just don’t do ants. Apparently, it’s a funny sequence though because Will was laughing through most of it.

Lucas started a rumor last week that he’d consider a fifth film with LaBeouf taking over the franchise and Ford appearing in a similar role to Sean Connery’s in Last Crusade. If they come up with a story as solid as this one, I say go for it.

Next week, May Movie Mania wraps up with Sex and the City. The first four movies of the month have not let us down and I doubt that  Sex will either!