This is an improvement on The Da Vinci Code, which we reviewed as “essentially a film comprised of rather stodgy conversations”. Not being familiar with the source material, I found Angels & Demons to be a decent enough watch, well paced and diverting from an otherwise uneventful afternoon.
There’s something quite ridiculous about the plot, though. Uncovering the bloodline of Christ was one thing in The Da Vinci Code, but using fancy-pants ‘anti-matter’ to blow up half of Rome this time around seems something else entirely. Puzzlingly, the baddies leave a trail of clues for Tom Hanks and Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer to follow. Neither thespian brings anything specific to their role. Their perfunctory characters are so lacking in personality, they might as well be called ‘man’ and ‘woman’.
Ron Howard’s adaptation sustains forward momentum for most of its 138-minute running time, trumping its predecessor. But there’s still something a little too un-cinematic about the fiddly source material; thinly disguised armchair (well, cinema seat) travelling mixed with an airport fiction storyline. This is standard escapist entertainment, however, and I think some people will have fun with it.