Angels & Demons (2009): Heavenly Troublemakers

Angels & Demons
Heavenly Troublemakers

Hanks, the tweediest action hero of our time, reprises his role as somewhat bewildered Professor Robert Langdon. The movie rapidly Metamucils us through art, history and science forcing us to digest an intriguing pope potpourri. Lets witness Langdon literalize a battle between faith and science, caterwauling through chaotic Roman lanes, cryptically doodling on centuries-old parchments. Distilled, it’s essentially Indiana Jones for the Vatican crowd – minus the excitement, humour, and whip.

Robert Langdon gets summoned once again to decode cryptic symbols scattered across Rome – an elaborate treasure hunt orchestrated by Illuminati, a shadowy brotherhood bent on wrecking Vatican. As he races against time alongside enigmatic scientist, Vittoria Vetra, uncovering deadly traps and deciphering ancient texts, high art collides with high stakes. Its a veritable iconographic buffet, everything from Bernini sculptures to ancient crypts – brimming with Catholic guilt, apocalyptic angst and enough crimson robes to host a Cardinals-only Met Gala.

Ah, the plot holes: larger than the Hadron Collider thats the center of this yarn. Like how can Langdon, a symbologist, suddenly perform complex tasks related to matter-antimatter and save Vatican? And the whopping twist? As predictable as a guided tour in the Vatican.

The movie dazzles with its sumptuous cinematography and meticulous set design – truly, Rome wasnt filmed in a day. Hanks, though he mildly muddles through, breathes life into every scene he occupies, a saving grace amidst this melodrama. Yet, the script, too reliant on jargon-filled expositions, sacrifices character depth and narrative coherence for shadowy theatrics. The breakneck pace also leaves the viewer more breathless than satisfied, with twists that ensue more eye-rolls, than gasps.

Tom Hanks, ever the consummate professional, battles the hackneyed script with aplomb. He beautifully juggles Langdons dual role as a scholar-adventurer while the supporting cast range from credible to caricature. With Ron Howard at the helm, the visuals are stunning, yet the thrill feels manufactured.


Despite the plot holes you could drive a popemobile through, I still found myself slightly charmed. Say what you want about hasty exposition and one-dimensional characters, the movie caters to the inner history geek, offering a visual pomp of Vatican aesthetics. Its like getting a hilarious crash course in Catholic art and semiotics, without ever leaving your couch. In fairness, if you enjoy breathless art-themed races around European landmarks at turbo speed, this absolute Vatican’t miss is your Hail Mary!