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File:Angels and demons.jpg

In his first adventure, Robert Langdon gets called late at night by the head of CERN, and gets faxed the picture of a mangled corpse, one of the facility's most prominent scientists, branded with the word "Illuminati" on his chest, which lights a fire under his ass. The Head of CERN, Maximilian Kohler, arranges for a plane to pick him up. Once at the CERN facility and joined by the late scientist's daughter, they find that a quarter gram (it's a lot, trust us) of Anti-Matter has been stolen.

At the same time, a Swiss Guard member finds said canister, stuck somewhere in Vatican City, during the elections after the current pope died...

Cue mad rush to find the Anti-Matter canister before it annihilates Vatican City.

Tropes used in Angels & Demons include:
  • Ancient Conspiracy - Averted. The Illuminati no longer exist, and... see below.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: the last scene of the movie is one for the new Pope
  • Badass Longcoat: The Camerlengo in the movie, those are some banging priestly robes.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Sure, he didn't plan on dying in the process, but the Camerlengo does manage to achieve pretty much all his primary objectives. He successfully jump-starts a worldwide renewal of faith in Christianity's power, while simultaneously causing popular distrust of the scientific community. In the book, as far as the masses are concerned, he even goes down in history as miraculously ascending to Heaven. And Langdon and Vittoria can never tell the world the Illuminati were a sham and the entire drama was a dog-and-pony show by the Camerlengo, because disllusioning the people just as they've had their faith restored would do more harm than good.
    • The movie sidesteps this one, Langdon manages to save Baggia, who later becomes pope under the name Luke (after the physician and evangelist). The movie manages to have it both ways, a pro-science pope and the renewal of faith.
  • Batman Gambit - The camerlengo had killed the Pope after finding out he had a child, and hired the Hassassin to steal the Anti-Matter canister and kill the Preferiti so he can "find" the canister via "divine inspiration" to get him as Pope. Why? To restore the world's faith in Judeo-Christian religions and make them much more hardline on science.
  • Big Bad: The Camerlengo
  • Bilingual Bonus: Rudimentary knowledge of Italian fills in a couple of gaps in dialogue.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: While at CERN, Langdon sees someone sky-diving in a wind tunnel and learns about how fabric creates wind resistance and slows one's fall. At the end of the book, when he falls from the helicopter, he uses his jacket to do just that and survive the Soft Water of the Tiber river. A Little Did I Know is also provided by the author.
  • Bookshelf Dominoes: In the film, how Langdon escapes the Vatican Archives.
  • Calling Card: Each of the Preferiti are slayed in a manner corresponding to the Illuminati's elements - For example, the first, who is branded with Earth, is killed by having soil stuffed down his throat and thrown into a burial ground. In addition, the mastermind specifically instructed the Hassassin to steal the Anti-Matter to show that Science destroys religion. Literally. And subverted in that despite the whole things that are supposed to be divine intervention in the book, the only thing come closest to this is Langdon survived falling from helicopter, and even that was helped by science.
  • The Chessmaster: The Camerlengo.
  • Claustrophobia - Langdon. He's able to fight it.
  • The Dragon: The Hassassin. In the film he is never explicitly called one.
  • Enemy Mine: Kohler, a man with an immense hatred for religion, must assist the Vatican from exploding into itty-bitty pieces.
    • In the film the man who comes from the Vatican to enlist Langdon's help invokes this trope, though not by name.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Although the Camerlengo's name is mentioned briefly, the narrative and all the characters just refer to him as Camerlengo.
  • Exact Time to Failure: The battery for the antimatter containment device lasts precisely 24 hours.
  • Eye Scream: In the novel, the safe to get the antimatter requiring retina scans. You can guess what happened next.
  • Fantastic Catholicism
  • The Film of the Book: Released in 2009. Now with less stupid hair. To make things highly confusing, the film is a sequel to The Da Vinci Code.
  • Fun with Palindromes: A variant — it uses ambigrams instead (which read the same when turned upside-down).
  • Gambit Roulette: It also depends on him being NOT seen by Langdon and getting to the Anti-Matter, which he placed on Saint Peter's catacomb, on time. Needless to say, he's spotted by Langdon, and was interrogated by Kohler (who caught the whole thing on tape) before Kohler was shot.
    • Even less plausible in The Film of the Book, where the plan is for Langdon to find the antimatter mere minutes before it detonates. A few minutes too soon, and the bomb is easily defused. A minute too late, and St. Peter's is destroyed, along with the Camerlengo. And that's just the most obvious flaw in the Xanatos' hilariously roundabout plan. Spotting the rest makes for one Hell of a drinking game.
  • The Generic Guy: OK. What does Vittoria Vetra DO in the movie?
    • Well, she does try and disarm the bomb but it doesn't work.
  • Genghis Gambit: What the Camerlengo does in the movie with the Illuminati.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The Camerlengo goes a little whacked at having found out the Pope's innocent and his father.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Kohler's reason for being atheist was that his parents, instead of getting him the right medicine for a crippling, life-threatening illness when was young, decided to pray over him. He only survived because a doctor injected him with the medicine without his parents' knowledge. The whole ordeal left Kohler paraplegic. To top it all off, when his parents took him to a Priest to ask why their son is crippled, the priest berates him for not having enough faith. He became very bitter, to say the least.
  • Hope Spot - The third Preferiti.
  • Horrible Judge of Character
  • Hot Scientist - Vittoria.
  • Kill'Em All: in the book, Landgon fails to save any of the Preferiti. Averted in the movie, where he saved the last one.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: In the book, the Hassassin plans to rape and kill Vittoria as a "reward" for his hard work. However, he gets no further than tying her up and groping her before Langdon arrives to save her.
  • Instant Death Bullet - Both used and averted in the film.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: "[Langdon] hated hospitals, but they certainly beat aliens harvesting his testicles."
  • Knight Templar - The Camerlengo.
  • Light Is Not Good - The Vatican is menaced with a weapon that turns matter to light energy.
    • The movie version of the Hassassin also wears white
  • Mad Scientist - Also Averted.
  • Manly Tears - In the book when Langdon failed to save prefereti Baggia's life.
  • Man On Fire - The fate of Janus the Camerlengo.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In the film at St. Peter's Square, the Assassin can be seen leading the second of the Preferiti to the western wind marker while the camera is focused on the police.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle - Following the Path of Illumination requires you to not only be an expert on science, Christianity, and various pagan belief systems, but also the train of thought used by Bernini at the time.
  • Never Trust a Trailer - the teaser trailer for the film features a sinister voice talking about how the Illuminati are about to take their revenge. But it turns out that the Big Bad just used the Illuminati as scapegoats for his plot, and they probably no longer even exist.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: The removal of the romantic plot between Langdon and Vittoria from the film.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor - Dr. Vittoria Vetra (a physicist) seems to know all the medical symptoms of the pope's poisoning.
    • But she must be a pretty poor physicist, because Langdon has to explain to her that a low-oxygen environment can cause light-headedness.
    • Ever so slightly justified in the book because she's worked with whales in the past who have been poisoned with the same drug as the Pope had been poisoned with and both exhibited the same symptoms.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting - it's set in Rome/Vatican. Go figure.
  • Planar Shockwave - averted in the movie, the antimatter detonation produced a invisible and expanding sphere of energy. Also averted in the book, where the antimatter bomb (a bomb that was supposed to clock in at about 5 kilotons) blew up with out even ruffling anyone's tie. It did, however, shake things up.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina - Langdon
  • Poor Communication Kills: If the poor Camerlengo had really listened to the Pope's full story, all of this wouldn't have happened.
  • Police Are Useless: The movie has a really bad case of this. Albeit this was supposed to be a more or less rational thriller, a single assassin manages to kill the entire Italian and Papal police presence at a top-priority crime scene, using little more than a Silencer Pistol.. Shortly after, Langdon only manages to convince two Carabinieri to accompany him to the soon-to-be crime scene, to stop the killer in time. The van with the assassin and the next victim drives onto the square boldly. The policemen, however, instead of calling for better armed reinforcement, immediately try to sneak around the van, one by one (although they obviously don't have a chance of a surprise attack anymore). They are also sniped by the killer one by one as a result, who then goes pushing his fourth victim into the water unhindered. Later in the movie, Langdon and the Italian special units storm the presumed criminal hideout. But instead of listening to Langdon, and following him, or even to aid him a little bit, they run off into the other direction for no obvious reason, although Langdon begs them to stay with him. A few minutes later, he finds himself face-to-face with the armed assassin.
    • It's probably not used here deliberately, but there is something of a running gag in Italian culture revolving around the supposed inferior intelligence of the Carabinieri (but not all police) in particular.
  • Pretty Little Headshots - At one point in the film version, a policeman with a neat forehead entry wound can be clearly seen.
  • Promoted to Love Interest - Inverted. In the book, Vittoria becomes romantically involved with Langdon, but in the movie, this is never even hinted at.
  • Punch Clock Villain - The hit man in the film. With one exception, he tries to avoid harming anybody except his contracted targets and people directly trying to stop him. In one scene, he has Langdon and Vittoria at gunpoint and tells them that he won't kill them unless they keep interfering.
  • Quick Draw - Part of The Dragon's shtick in the film.
  • Race Lift - To avoid offense in the current political climate, the Assassin is changed from a suave and sophisticated Arabic Hassassin with an addiction to sadism, killing, and rape into a European professional with some mercy and honor who is only in it for the money.
  • Rare Guns - The Swiss Guard arms its snipers with $10,000-a-unit Heckler & Koch PSG-1s, probably because it's one of the few snipers that doesn't look like an American-made deer rifle.
  • Redshirt Army: The Swiss Guard and the Vatican Police.
  • Shallow Love Interest: Vittoria Vetra
  • Sherlock Scan: Langdon does it in the movies when it determines that the man who comes to see him is jetlagged because a) he has bags under his eyes, b) it's 5am, and c) he's from the Vatican.
  • Slap-On-The-Wrist Nuke - A quarter-gram of positrons mixed with another quarter gram of electrons yields enough photons to cook Nagasaki and at medium altitude should have blinded every naked eye in Rome (including the onlooking crowd in Piazza San Pietro), scorched every non-reflective surface in line of sight and set ablaze every dark surface. Not so much.[1]
    • Perhaps a much smaller quantity of electrons were bottled than the CERN scientists thought. An instrumentation error, to be sure.
  • Soft Water: Langdon survives a fall from the helicopter into the Tiber river thanks to a tip he learned from a Chekhov's Classroom. It's noted by the emergency personnel who save him that he didn't break his bones.
  • Spanner in the Works - Langdon and Kohler. If Kohler didn't film the whole thing, and Langdon didn't survive the fall from the helicopter and get the video camera for the cardinals to view, Carlo's plan would have succeeded. And the whole Langdon get on helicopter was out of Carlo's plan.
  • Those Two Guys - Two BBC journalists start following Robert during his chase to save the kidnapped Preferiti in hopes of a better story and an award.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Poor Langdon.
  • Viewers are Morons: During an early sequence at CERN, Langdon takes a back seat from his usual role of Mr. Exposition to play Audience Avatar while Dr. Kohler and Vittoria explain "dark matter" and the "Big Bang."
  • Wham! Line: Arguably for the narrative, definitely in-story, for the Camerlengo:

"The pope fathered a son."

  1. Note that this is just the flash-burn (light energy) from a Fat-Man-sized nuclear blast, not the other exciting effects that usually come from a nuke, thanks to this being a pure energy conversion of positronic antimatter and matter.
  2. Justified in that the Vatican had been a repeat client of his, and valued his work. He probably had difficulty imagining they would so casually dispose of a top-notch freelance assassin.