Short version: Angels & Demons is better than The Da Vinci Code and if you're a fan of the books you'll probably enjoy it - otherwise... I suppose there are worse ways to kill a couple of hours.
Screen Rant reviews Angels and Demons
I was not a fan of The Da Vinci Code.
Just thought I should get that out there right of the bat. I found that film incredibly boring and dull, and Tom Hanks just didn't work for me in the role.
Having said that, Angels & Demons is an improvement over the previous film.
While I undersand that Angels & Demons was written prior to The Da Vinci Code, in the film it is treated as a sequel instead of a prequel. The events of the previous film are alluded to here in order to make that very clear.
This time there is some high tech involved in the guise of the CERN Large Hadron Collider. You know, that massive atom smasher they built in Europe that people thought would create a black hole and swallow up the Earth? So something almost as whacky happens there: Physicist Vittoria Vetra (played by Ayelet Zurer) uses the collider to create a significant quantity of... antimatter.
Yes, you read that right - and no you haven't stumbled upon our Star Trek review.
Anyway, a priest/physicist (I really thought being a priest was kind of a full time job) observing the experiment is killed and a vial of antimatter is stolen. It was taken by the "Illuminati." Once again that ancient enemy of the Catholic church surfaces in this film to cause problems for the Vatican.
On the heels of the death of the Pope and despite their feelings toward him, the Vatican calls upon symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) to help them track down the location of the antimatter before Vatican City is destroyed. He teams up with Vetra to follow clues that lead them all over Rome with only a few hours before mass destruction.
To say the story is implausible would be an understatement, but if you just go along for the ride and don't try to think too hard I suppose it's entertaining enough. The opening scene at CERN was pretty cool but the movie soon bogs down once it gets going. There are some characters I liked - Ewan Macgregor as Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, the Pope's assistant, and Pierfrancesco Favino as Inspector Olivetti. As to Tom Hanks - he does a good enough job but to me this role still doesn't seem to fit him.
While the film feels pretty bogged down through the middle, towards the end it starts to pick up and actually gets a bit exciting. However some of the ridiculous plot points take some serious suspension of disbelief (that, or just ignore them) if you are to enjoy this film at all.