Part of the problem with the movie version of The Da Vinci Code was that it took itself too seriously. You had these people dashing around Europe, investigating obscure clues and uncovering outrageous conspiracies, but the only person who seemed to be having any fun with it was Ian McKellen. "Tom Hanks has never seemed so dull," I wrote in my review.

Well, say what you will about Ron Howard as a director, but at least he's consistent. Angels & Demons, the Da Vinci Code sequel, is as overly serious as its predecessor, and poor Mr. Hanks -- the world's most likable man, for crying out loud! -- is still dour and intense. I get that saving the world from disaster is important business, and the characters may not have time to smile and joke and enjoy themselves. But is it too much to ask for it to be fun for the audience?

Not having read Dan Brown's Angels & Demons novel (which actually came before Da Vinci, not after), I was able to find some entertainment in the mechanics of the plot -- not knowing how the mystery would be unraveled, curious to see what the clues would mean. The screenplay, by veteran action writer David Koepp (Panic Room) and Ron Howard regular Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), basically adheres to a limited point of view -- we don't know any more than the Hanks character, Robert Langdon, does. For viewers who already know where things are going, there may not be much pleasure in watching Langdon figure it out, unless the movie has deviated significantly from the book.