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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Messages are mixed. In general, the film is packed with conspiracy theories, cover-ups, and manipulation.
Positive Role Models
Role models are mixed. The main characters act heroically and risk their lives for the Catholic Church, even though they're not members. But another character hires a contract killer to torture and murder men of faith just to further his own agenda.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of violence -- more deaths than the first movie. Cardinals are literally branded, and three are killed gruesomely. A character is shot, and his eyeball is torn out; characters are routinely shot or stabbed to death. One lights himself on fire, while another is burned a la Joan of Arc.
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Mostly mild; words include "hell," "damn," "goddamn it," "go to hell," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Prominently featured vehicles include a fancy SUV and Mercedes Benzes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some of the cardinals are shown smoking cigarettes, as is a member of the Swiss Guard.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Angels & Demons, the adaptation of Dan Brown's pre-Da Vinci Code novel about ancient religious conspiracy theories and a secret society has more deaths than the first movie. The action starts with a gruesome murder and theft, and the violence continues throughout, as cardinals are taken hostage and killed in public, shocking ways. Plus, it's implied that prominent priests and the Vatican's Swiss Guard conspire to commit murder and cover up scandals. Language is generally mild, and there's no sex to speak of; some characters smoke. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Brown's thrillers are packed with so much exposition that it should come as no surprise that this sequel, like The Da Vinci Code, is overlong and way too talky. It's a bit preposterous to imagine that a priest -- much less a cardinal or the head of the Swiss Guard (Stellan Skarsgard) -- would need a lecture on major milestones in church history. But it's all for the audience's benefit, since few people understand the minutiae about how a pope is elected, what the Illuminati stood for, or even what anti-matter is supposed to achieve.
While director Ron Howard scores some extra points for downplaying the role of the hired assassin and including several high-speed car chases, there's just no saving Angels & Demons from getting mired in all of Brown's ridiculous, conspiracy-theory details. At least Hanks has a much less conspicuous haircut, and Ewan McGregor, as the late pope's right-hand man, is effective as a priest straddling progressive and conservative paths for the church. But the best part of the thriller isn't the story or the chases -- it's Armin Mueller- Stahl as Cardinal Strauss. He's truly one of the most versatile, international actors of his generation, and he's a pleasure to watch.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.