The key players are back from that 2006 international hit, including Tom Hanks as Harvard professor and symbologist Robert Langdon and Akiva Goldsman as screenwriter (joined this time by David Koepp).
Although the book ``Angels & Demons'' came out before ``The Da Vinci Code,'' the film is positioned as a sequel to take advantage of the strained relationship between Langdon and the Vatican—only this time, it's his expertise the folks there reluctantly need.
With the pope dead and the College of Cardinals about to meet in conclave to choose a replacement, a secret society known as the Illuminati has kidnapped the four likeliest candidates.
Langdon must decipher clues at various churches and historical sites throughout Rome to prevent the killing of the cardinals, one every hour, leading to a bomb explosion at the Vatican.
But wait, we haven't even gotten to the most laughable part of the story yet! Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgaard, and Armin Mueller-Stahl are among the estimable supporting cast, all of whom have enjoyed the benefits of stronger material but manage to supply gravitas nonetheless.
PG-13 for sequences of violence, disturbing images and thematic material. 138 min. Two stars out of four.