I’m not huge into the religious thriller thing.  In fact, I kinda hated The Davinci Code.  I never read the book, but the movie was abysmal.  That being said, I wasn’t in a huge rush to see Angels and Demons, the written precursor to Davinci, but the filmed sequel.  Still, the trailer made it look halfway decent and, as much as I may dislike religious thriller, I like adventure films.

So what did I think of Angels and Demons?  Was it the formulaic nonsense with the overly sappy religious crap that The Davinci Code was?  Was Tom Hanks hair better in this one or did he pull another Nicolas Cage?  Check after the jump for my full review!

Angels and Demons
Click here for my review!

Angels and Demons is formulaic and predictable.  However, it’s also really damn good.  I figured out all the twists about twenty minutes in – the ending will really come as no surprise.  Still, despite all of these things, the film is a fun ride, it’s actually suspenseful, it’s well written and acted.  Really, it’s main fault is that we’ve seen so many Davinci Code type movies that it suffers a bit of “been there, done that” syndrome.

The Pope is dead.  Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon, who’s been brought to Vatican City because the 4 guys who could potentially be the pope have been kidnapped.  In addition to that, an antimatter (yes, antimatter) bomb has been placed within the walls of Vatican City and, when the timer runs out, everything goes kablooie.  Ewan McGregor is the Carmelengo, the Pope’s right hand guy (more of an assistant, really), who’s trying to keep things running smoothly, despite the power plays of the cardinals to decide on a successor pope.  When it’s discovered that the Illuminati (those guys again) may have been the ones who kidnapped the cardinals because of some bad crap done to them by the Catholic Church back in the 1600’s, it’s up to Langdon to follow the clues throughout Vatican City and save whoever he can, all the while trying to find the bomb before it all goes up in a big boom.

Ewan McGregor and Armin Mueller-Stahl

Ewan McGregor and Tom Hanks put in excellent jobs.  Also in the cast are Stellan Skarsgård and Armin Mueller-Stahl, who are formidable talents in their own right.

The film really plays out like a Vatican City extended episode of 24.  Though, supposedly, the entire thing takes place in the span of 5 hours (or so), there is NO WAY that all of this can happen in that short amount of time.  In one scene, they note that they need to be somewhere in 4 minutes.  Then they cut and they’re there…three minutes later.  Ummm…not sure how that happened, seeing as how Vatican City is flooded with Catholics awaiting the selection of the new Pope.

You kind of have to suspend disbelief as you would in a season of 24 – the story and the action are more important than making sure that the timeline really matches up like it should.  Still, the timeline makes for some pretty tense moments, and the death scenes are surprisingly grisly.

Seeing as how nothing else opened up this weekend, and you’ve already seen Star Trek, I really recommend giving Angels and Demons a shot, even if you didn’t like The Davinci Code.  My problem with Davinci was that it was supposed to be a big budget adventure film, but felt, well, not.  This one does – it feels like a summer blockbuster should, with huge explosions, great set pieces, and action throughout.  It moves at such a brisk pace that you won’t realize it’s 2 hours and 18 minutes long.  Definitely worth checking out!

Paul's Awesomeness Score - 8Paul’s Awesomeness Score – 8 out of 10!