The grassy knoll

The first sign of trouble in Angels and Demons – you already know what it’s the sequel to – is the opening music. Hans Zimmer’s score is so infused with overbearing tones of conspiracy that you can’t help but be humored by the conspiracy that unfolds over the subsequent 137 minutes. How many times can a statue’s hand/spear/eyes point Robert Langdon in the right direction? It all gets a bit tiresome.

There are bright spots: the actors give it a more than college try, and Ron Howard still knows how to put on a spectacle. But there are also many other sore spots: I don’t want to watch a conspiracy-tinged thriller to be overly lectured on the conservatism of the Catholic church, or the inanity of cable news, or anything else for that matter.

No, Mr. Howard. Like everyone else, I want more conspiracy.

Stephen Marche, the man with the best recurring magazine feature running, hits Dan Brown’s popularity on the head: we love conspiracy theories.

So, which one is your favorite? This one’s definitely true.

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