There is a true audacity in Spielberg opening his sequel to "Raiders" with an extended fifteen minute setpiece beginning itself with a dance sequence straight out of Busby Berkeley. The tension he sustains as the song ends and he sets his pieces through Indy's conversation with Lao for the climax of the Shanghai sequence is a masterful display of classical design that boils over and explodes in delightful mayhem.
A drugged father figure turns against his family. Temptation leads to the depths of depravity. A once careless adventurer discovers emphatic responsibility. Whip anyone who tries to convince you this is "simple mindless entertainment"!
Film as fairground ride (probably literally so in some US theme park). It's superbly assembled of course, but rather synthetic and leaves a slightly nasty taste in the mouth with rather too-violent detail. I'm not sure of the value in pastiching such adventure serial hokum but Speilberg handles these things with such skill that criticism should perhaps be aimed at lesser examples of this bloated genre.
While it seems to be enjoying a devoted cult-following, for my money, "Temple of Doom" is still a complete mess, especially tonally. Distressed after his divorce, Lucas admits he pointedly set out to cram as much horrid shit into the story as he could (child slaves, immolation, whipping, flaying, heart-removal), while Spielberg was desperately trying to lighten the tone with improvised slapstick and off-kilter gags.