Spielberg blows hot and cold, however. While there are other passages that are equally satisfying, such as the section that introduces a new sidekick, Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), and which includes another memorable chase scene, by contrast the sequence with a nuclear blast ultimately seems like an afterthought - the implications of both nuclear testing and 1950s Communist witch-hunts aren't given any satisfying follow-through - while the film eventually spirals over the top into special-effects overload, leaving the actors at sea. The action moves along so swiftly in the later sequences that the characters have no time to grow together: they're on the same page only because they're in the teeth of adversity, since they haven't had the chance to exchange more than a few sentences (the manner in which the film throws a "big revelation" into a scene fraught with danger is symptomatic of this, even if it also happens to be rather amusing).
The film's most enjoyable when it evokes both its own past glories - with nods to the first and third films especially, including a series of jokes that involve the much-missed Denholm Elliott's character, Marcus Brody - and the kinds of movies that inspired Spielberg and George Lucas in the first place: old-time serials that chronicled outlandish feats of derring-do but also the great action films of the 1930s. There's a wonderful scene late on where LaBeouf simultaneously channels Errol Flynn and Tarzan, which gives a sense of the light touch that could have been sprinkled more liberally through the film. That such scenes also refer back to films which were much less overblown and cluttered is perhaps a lesson that Spielberg and company might have paid more careful attention to.