The sequel to The Da Vinci Code is, confusingly, based off of the first book in the series, with a byproduct not common of genres sequels: This is a more grounded and thoughtful story than its predecessor. I am able to say that with a straight face despite Angels and Demons being about a papal murder conspiracy arranged by the Illuminati. It’s a more coherent story, but missing the grand loopiness and more-ness of Da Vinci Code (which is Film 1 but Book 2). So it’s kind of a wash between them: If you like one, you’ll like the other. More likely for most folks, the inverse is true, too.
Here, Robert Langdon, a religious symbolism-themed Sherlock Holmes, is racing against a countdown timer of one murdered priest per hour, with an antimatter nuke set to go off at midnight. The mystery is centered entirely in the heart of Vatican City and, once again, much of the film’s charm is in sight-seeing these many landmarks in zany thriller situations.
The tight structure gives some oomph to the narrative, but it still has the same problems as Da Vinci Code: This is less a script and more of an ongoing monologue as Tom Hanks confidently announces how the art and architecture in the scene contain the hidden meaning needed to find the next important clue. There’s not much to the choppy action scenes. And the central heel turn in this film is foreshadowed a mile away, making its revelation feel pained and overwrought.
It’s not a good movie, but it meets expectations. You watch this because you want two hours of religious conspiracy malarkey delivered in hushed tones with flashes of action; that’s exactly what you get.
- Review Project: Tom Hanks Retrospective
Nearly Good (4/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.