A coworker brought up an interesting point to me the other day... Indiana Jones is a completely pointless character to the overall action of the Nazis and Nazi sympathizers in The Raiders of the Lost Ark.
If Indy hadn’t been there to get the idol in the beginning, Belloq just would have gotten it on his own.
There is nothing in Nepal that Indy affects in any way. If he wasn’t there, Toht would’ve just gotten the headpiece to the Staff of Ra directly from Marion.
The Nazis found the map room and, with the actual headpiece, would’ve had the proper staff length and found the Well of Souls all on their own and, thus, the Ark of the Covenant.
Indy only stopped the flying wing from transporting the Ark to the port to get to the island. But it got there by truck anyway.
On the island, Indy threatens to blow up the Ark but doesn’t. So, basically, he doesn’t stop them from doing anything they weren’t already going to do.
So, really, all he does is rescue the Ark and bring it back stateside where it gets filed away in a warehouse never to be seen again.
He gets no idol. He can’t prove he got the Ark. He didn’t stop Hitler (just some of his minions).
Oh wait, he saved the girl who arguably would’ve been shot by the Nazis. I doubt she’d have been left alive to keep tending bar, which, by the way, never would’ve been burned to the ground.
But is that really a win? They hook up, make a kid who grows up to be Shia LeBeouf, and she leaves him.
Could've been better.