These are tumultuous times for the Vatican. For starters, the Pope has died, seemingly of natural causes. Working in his stead is the Camerlengo (Ewan Magregor), until a new Pope is chosen. However, when the four cardinals in line for the position are kidnapped, and a deadly canister of anti-matter is stolen, Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is called in to assist. It seems that the ancient society of the Illuminati may be to blame and the Vatican and a large chunk of Rome has been placed at risk. The cardinals are being systematically murdered around the city of Rome, and the clues to unravel the mystery and hopefully save their lives lie deep within the archives of the Vatican library. When it is discovered that the Pope may have been murdered, the question arises whether they are fighting the Illuminati or just a greedy Pope-wannabe. Langdon teams up with scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), from whose lab the anti-matter was taken, to solve the mystery and save Rome.
Although Angels & Demons is touted as more action-packed and riveting than The Da Vinci Code, I didn't find that to be the case at all. There were some tense moments, no doubt, but The Da Vinci Code had the added push of Langdon being constantly pursued and under the charge of murder. In Angels & Demons, yes it is a race to save the lives of the cardinals, but it just never felt as high-speed and driven as the earlier film. There was the underlying drama of the battle of science versus the church what with the IIlluminati being suspected of these horrible deeds, but again, altogether it was just sort of boring. I must admit that the end was good and while it didn't completely surprise me, it had a nifty twist to it. The acting was excellent and Stellan Skarsgard and Pierfrancesco Favino turn in especially good performances as leading arms of their respective police forces.
For those who are fans, the Angels & Demons: 2-Disc Extended Edition definitely comes packed with a number of special features. Featurettes include the film's making-of, character studies, screenplay adaptation, props and even one on the world's largest scientific research center. Not all are exciting, but most are well done and worth watching. Since I didn't see the film in theaters, I can't say what additional footage was included but this is an extended edition as well.
While not a bad film, I just didn't enjoy Angels & Demons nearly as much as The Da Vinci Code. It's much slower and while it still has a good plot, it just didn't thrill me. It would make a decent rental, just not one that I'd personally want to watch over and over again.