Angels & Demons

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Angels & Demons Movie Poster Image
Talky, violent conspiracy thriller will bore kids and teens.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 130 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 32 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Messages are mixed. In general, the film is packed with conspiracy theories, cover-ups, and manipulation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

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

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.

Sex
Language

Mostly mild; words include "hell," "damn," "goddamn it," "go to hell," etc.

Consumerism

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.

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjoaquingv April 14, 2018
Teen, 14 years old Written bylittlepig1 January 26, 2017

NOT AS VIOLENT AS EVERYONE SAYS

The reason I rated this 15 + is because young teens probably'll find this movie boring and dull because of the history. But as I wrote in the title, it... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTrentB July 12, 2015

Not for the Religious Family, but outstanding must-watch for the rest

A fabulous movie that has so many twists and turns its like a maze, but the is lots of religious differences that some families don't want their kids being... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byalanaicie June 3, 2020

awesome and kinda scary

i thought that this movie was very interesting historicaly. i love learning about history and thought that it contained tons of info on catholic churches and a... Continue reading

What's the story?

In The Da Vinci Code, Harvard professor Dr. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) nearly brought down the Catholic Church, but in ANGELS & DEMONS, he's asked to help save it. The pope has died, and just as the conclave of cardinals is about to meet to elect a new one, four of them are taken hostage by a group claiming to be the resurrection of the Illuminati -- an ancient secret society historically at odds with the church. The kidnappers announce that they'll publicly murder each of the hostages and then detonate a powerful vial of anti-matter stolen from a top-secret Swiss project run by the beautiful Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer). Racing against time, the world-renowned symbologist and his new sidekick scientist follow hidden clues to try to stop the killings -- and the possible destruction of the Vatican.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the premise of Angels & Demons. The first movie's central conspiracy theory upset Christians across the globe, but this one has been deemed inaccurate but "harmless" by the Catholic Church. Why the change of perspective?

  • In general, does controversy help promote a movie?

  • Discuss how the violence in this movie compares to the first one. Does it have more or less impact? Why?

Movie details

  • In theaters: May 15, 2009
  • On DVD or streaming: November 24, 2009
  • Cast: Ewan McGregor, Tom Hanks
  • Director: Ron Howard
  • Studio: Columbia Tristar
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 130 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: sequences of violence, disturbing images and thematic material
  • Last updated: September 21, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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