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045: Angels & Demons & Split

Maximilian Rivera January 31, 2017
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By Max Rivera | @MaxRiveraFilm

Premise: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon works to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 37%

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This week we rolled with another two-fer: we reviewed Angels & Demons (2009) for the countdown, and then we spend some time discussing Split (2017). 
While we have sworn not to do sequels, we had hopes that Angels & Demons would be a lot better than its predecessor: The Da Vinci Code (2006). Unfortunately, the tale of Robert Langdon solving puzzles nobody else understands was a one trick pony, and Angels & Demons never takes off. 
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Angels & Demons doesn’t try anything new as opposed to the previous film — we meet Langdon again, and he’s brought in to solve a situation only a Harvard symbologist could, all while hanging out with a sexy brunette. This time around, he has to discover what the Illuminati is up to, as they’ve taken the four favored candidates for the newly vacated papacy hostage. 

Yeah, it’s a ridiculous plot, and to make things even wilder, the Illuminati is using some stolen dark matter to threaten to blow up the entire Vatican. So Langdon taxis around the Vatican with his newly befriended Sexy Brunette (this time played by Ayelet Zurer), as he reveals the secrets of the Illuminati and Catholic Church to the audience.

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There’s nothing exciting to this film, and the twists and turns are either predictable because they’re not cleverly hidden (yeah, like Ewan McGregor is gonna be a bit part? He’s probably the bad guy) — or they make no sense (all of the clues are nonsensical, and you’d only get them if you yourself were a Harvard symbologist).

In fact, the best part of this film is when Ewan McGregor’s character flies a helicopter full of dark matter into the sky, and jumps out in an ill-timed parachute escape. The explosion tosses him around like a rag doll, and we all had a good laugh about it.

We were gonna watch Inferno (2016), but decided after this film, that we’re probably done with Robert Langdon for a long time. 

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Since we had some time, we decided to talk about the new M. Night Shyamalan film, Split.  We go into our detailed review on the second half of the episode, so here’s a quick spoiler-free review:

Split captures the magic of a great Shyamalan film, so if you enjoy his best works — like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs — go check it out. Here’s the trailer: 

Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.