Movie Review Rewind: Angels & Demons (2009)
Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are back again to deliver the prequel to The Da Vinci Code in the books and the sequel to the movie. And it works out fine that this was done as a sequel. This movie goes off the trouble that Robert Langdon has had with the Catholic Church, but they have no one else to turn to. Only him.
Angels and Demons is more of a thriller than The Da Vinci Code. This story focuses on a secret brotherhood that is the most powerful underground organization in history called the Illuminati. Not only have the top four cardinals been kidnapped, but antimatter has been found and placed in the Vatican. It is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
Ewan McGregor plays Camerlengo, the Pope’s right-hand man. He is in charge when the movie starts because the Pope has died. While a new Pope is trying to be decided on, the rest of this chaos is going on around them. It is up to Langdon and Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) to find out where these cardinals are located and try to save them before it is too late. Oh yeah, don’t forget about that bomb that could blow half of Rome away either.
Now, I’m not quite sure if Angels & Demons is better than The Da Vinci Code. I think this one is a little more exciting. Howard made sure to make this more action-packed than the last one. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better just because of that. I like Hanks, but this character isn’t his best. However, that may not be fair because of all the roles he has done, but he certainly doesn’t hurt the movie.
Howard is a great director. You would think having one of the best actors and one of the best directors together, this movie would be great. The Da Vinci Code would be great. But they aren’t. These movies do just enough to keep you satisfied, but that’s about it. In Angels & Demons, it’s fun and fast-paced, but the expectations are never exceeded.
I have never read these Dan Brown novels, but I have a feeling they may be tough to put on screen. Both movies are almost two hours and 30 minutes, but they still lack a substance that the books may contain.
I do know that Angels & Demons is not terrible. It was not disappointing. I just found myself wanting more and I didn’t get it. It wasn’t as slow as The Da Vinci Code, but it’s definitely a close call as to which one outshines the other, if that’s even possible. Hanks and Howard did the best they could to mix some history with a lot of fiction. It just wasn’t their best attempt.
Brandon Vick is a member of The Music City Film Critics’ Association, the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and the star of The Vick’s Flicks Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.