I've posted snippets from two official reviews for Angels & Demons below. The fact that the film is getting better early reviews than Da Vinci confirms my original issue since they launched the franchise -- They should have done this installment first, like the books. Especially since I've always considered this the better and more exciting of the two.
If the world could be rendered as simple as "Angels & Demons," we'd all be living in a less confusing place. Taking to heart the critics' lament that the first Dan Brown novel-to-film "The Da Vinci Code" was talky, static and arcane, director Ron Howard and his crew have worked hard to make Professor Robert Langdon's return a thrilling, faster-paced walk in the park.
Plucking the same violent, occult strings as "Da Vinci" while avoiding its leadenness, "Angels" keeps the action coming for the best part of 139 minutes. Scripters David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman have taken a firmer hand with Brown's material. The opening scene, for example, omits the hypersonic Vatican jet that transports crack Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) from Cambridge to Geneva in an hour, opting for more conventional means to get him to Rome and into the thick of the action.
Science and religion collide, commingle and eventually reach a state of peaceful coexistence in "Angels & Demons," a follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code" in which director Ron Howard conspicuously gives top priority to the story's beat-the-clock thriller elements. Less turgid and aggravating than its predecessor, this cleverly produced melodrama remains hamstrung by novelist's Dan Brown's laborious connect-the-dots plotting and the filmmakers' prosaic literal-mindedness in the face of ripe historical antagonisms, mystery and intrigue. Although unlikely to match the $750 million-plus worldwide haul of the same team's much-maligned 2006 "Da Vinci" sensation, this adaptation of a lesser-known Brown book will nonetheless make an unholy amount of money.
What I love about the reviews is the comparisons they make between Angels and Da Vinci I also made when comparing the books. Check out the full reviews by clicking the bold links.