Angels & Demons Reviews
Some of the dialogue is poor, you have to suspend disbelief the way you would for a James Bond or Indiana Jones movie, and keep in mind that this is historical fiction (emphasis on fiction). If you can do that, this is a blast. Ewan McGregor rocks. Be warned, it is violent and intense, and pushes that PG-13 boundary. My grade: B+
Da Vinci Code was just Tom Hanks running from the police trying to find an ancient artifact. Seen it. The first half I found rather lackluster. Angels and Demons however, starts off strong and keeps going. There more going on and the stakes are higher, thus the tension is raised.
Like with Da Vinci Code I have not read the source material so I won't make any comparisons there. In this film an unknown assailant steals a bomb from a top secret facility and plans to blow-up the entire Vatican with said bomb. However, this is no ordinary bomb. The film goes into Sci-Fi territory by making the device an anti-matter bomb.
I don't know if that was in the book or if that's a movie only addition. I honestly don't know why they added this plot element. The anti-matter aspect does not influence the plot in any way. They could have just used a nuclear explosive and the film would be no different.
As with Da Vinci Code, the movie looks gorgeous, as is the music. Tom Hanks returns and is once again on-point. Ian McKellen does not return, but here we have Ewan McGregor as a priest. He does an excellent job as well. I find Ewan McGregor to be a fairly underrated actor.
Overall, Angels and Demons, while not a great film, is still a fun mystery/thriller. I think this is better than Da Vinci Code, and I liked that film okay. The mystery I felt was more engaging as were the puzzles Tom Hanks had to solve to find the answers. Plus, the tension is higher with the threat of the Vatican getting blown off the map.
In the first film, the plot relied on the fact that everyone who is religious will love the clever puzzles. While Angels & Demons definitely dives further into the Catholic religion, directly placing the death of a pope at the centre of the story, it does expand its horizons a bit, making itself a little more accessible to average viewers. Following Robert Langdon once again, he tries to solve the murder of the pope, which also sets him on a plot to find an explosive device that may just incinerate all of Vatican City, Rome. While the plot does escalate fairly quickly and it does require audiences to be paying full attention, this is a much more exciting puzzle, through and through. That being said, as mentioned above, it does share many of the issues that the first one admittedly has.
Once again, this film dives far too deep into the Catholic religion, making it hard for non-believers to have a good time at the movies. Normally, films like this have a nice balance between its religious aspects and its open mindedness. Sadly, this film, like the first, goes all out in terms of trying to impress its Catholic audience; However, compared to the first, it is not quite as manipulative. Instead of beating you over the head with it, it uses bible elements and shares them with character actions throughout this picture, masking the fact that it truly is for a specific audience. This was a much better tactic than I believe the first one slightly failed on.
While The DaVinci Code was known for its puzzles and slow-pacing, this film focusses more on setting up plot twists and keeping its audience entertained. There are far more action sequences here and the puzzles lead to life or death situations. This provided many more stakes, which the first one kind of failed to do as well. Still, the biggest selling point of these films is the fact that Tom Hanks is the leading man. His charm and charisma that he brings to this character is unparalleled. I truly believe that these films would become pretty boring without the presence of a star like Tom Hanks. Does this film hold up as a whole after seven years?
Over the years, films begin to wear off when it comes to sequels. People tend to remember the original, due to the fact that is spawned lacklustre sequels. In my opinion, when I look back on this series of films, I will definitely be remembering Angels & Demons over The DaVinci Code. It provides more puzzles, more stakes, and a climax that is enthralling to say the least. There are moments that I do call manipulative and the direction of this film (like the first) feels a little too kinetic at times, which is Ron Howard's style, but it is odd for these films. There are plot holes galore and I know I have not read these books, but I feel that they would be more fleshed out that these films. In the end, Angels & Demons is a pretty fun and engaging ride, albeit very messy.
But this was good too..