Possible spoilers ahead!
The mystery in “Inferno” begins when Havard professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) awakens in a hospital in Florence, Italy with a mysterious head wound and unable to remember anything that occurred over the previous couple of days, including how he got to Italy in the first place.
As doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) tries to explain to Robert how he arrived at the hospital, a woman dressed as police officer shows up and tries to murder Langdon. With Sienna’s help, the two manage to escape the hospital and hide at the doctor’s apartment.
After a cup of that stuff you drink in the morning, Langdon does his best to piece together what happened to him over the last two days. He searches his belongings and finds a Faraday Pointer – one that projects an image of Sandro Botticelli’s Map of Hell, based on Dante’s Inferno. It contains a set of clues that are somehow connected to a billionaire madman’s presidental hopes.
Nah, I’m just kidding.
The billionaire here is played by one-time X-Man Ben Foster. See, he had a deadly plan for how to “solve” humanity’s over-population problem, and it involves killing half the world’s population with a virus named Inferno. Now, it’s up to Langdon and Sienna to follow the clues and see where they lead – in the hope that by doing so, they can sve the world.
T should take a moment to mention that I have not read any of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels, so everything I know about Langdon comes from the three Ron Howard/Tom Hanks movies.
“Inferno” (based on Brown’s fourth Langdon novel), arrives seven years after the last Langdon adventure in “Angels & Demons.” And even though “Inferno” is far from perfect, I enjoyed the heck out of it.
Tom Hanks hit all the right notes as Robert Langdon, and he even managed to give the Harvard professor some extra charm and humor. He definitely sold being injured and did a good job in the action scenes. In other words, Hanks did his Hanks thing, and he did it well.
His leading lady this time out is Felicity Jones as Sienna Brooks, and the film does a solid job of making her more of an active and player in the plot. This helped move the story along while Langdon recovers from a concussion, and Sienna’s knowledgable of puzzles keeps the viewer’s attention. It was also nice that her character got more of a backstory than any of the previous leading ladies in the series.
The supporting cast of “Inferno” is the most impressive yet for this franchise. Ben Foster did good work here, though mostly in flashbacks. French actor Omar Sy and Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen play well off each other as W.H.O. agents, and they both get a couple of moments to shine during the movie.
Irrfan Khan plays the head of a shadowy private company that will do anything to protect their clients, his dark sense of humor and morally ambiguous status made him one of the best characters in any of the three movies.
I’ve always liked Ron Howard as a director, and with “Inferno” he seems to have finally found a balance between action and drama. Also, unlike the previous films, “Inferno” looked and felt epic. So all in all, a good job by Howard in stepping thing up.
My main issue with “Inferno” is its convoluted plot. Look, everyone enjoys a good mystery, but the villain’s plans in this movie depended too much on what other character might or might not do. Too much stuff is left to chance, and when all is revealed, it left me wanting more.
There was also a subplot about stealing a death mask from a museum. Although the mas is returned in the end, we never know what happened to Langdon’s friend or even if there are any repercussions to the theft.
But to its credit, “Inferno” does try to mix things up by putting Langdon at a disadvantage from the beginning of the story. By giving Langson amnesia, you take away his greatest weapon: his brain. And by doing so, it led to a more action packed movie than I was expecting.
If you haven’t liked any of the previous Robert Langdon movies, then I’m afraid
“Inferno” won’t change your mind. But if you have enjoyed Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Robert Langdon like I have, then “Inferno” is worth a look.
“Inferno” final score: 8