Inferno is a bit of an oddity, as both a Dan Brown novel and a movie. As a novel, it’s the darker and more mature of his Robert Langdon series (there’s no other way to describe an ending where the characters are relieved only 1/3 of the world was sterilized). The film adaptation is now happening over 7 years after Angels & Demons hit theaters. Let’s not forget all the other weird things surrounding the film, like how the project started out as an adaptation of The Lost Symbol (the third book) before the studio decided to skip over straight to Inferno. Too long of a sequel gap with a somewhat troubled production, the deck is definitely stacked against Inferno…and yet, it was a really enjoyable thriller.
Some might complain about the spoilers in the previous tag but (A) that’s only how the book ends and (B) it’s hard to talk Inferno without using spoilers. The plot synopsis (Robert Langdon must team up with a doctor to solve Dante-related puzzles while thwarting global conspiracies in order to stop a virus from sterilizing the human race) is almost completely invalidated over the course of the film. As is true in every Dan Brown work, few things are ever as they seem. So, the viewing experience centers on the audience not only getting interested in seeing how everything pieces together but if it makes any sense. Inferno makes full use of dramatic tropes to convey the sense
A more meta recommendation for Inferno is the acting talent involved. Tom Hanks in a starring role automatically makes any film watchable. Felicity Jones is the female lead and since she’s going to be the main lead in the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One, some people might want to see if she has the talent to carry a movie. Inferno proves that she does. Irrfan Khan is also a treat to watch.
This isn’t to say the movie’s perfect. The film starts slow and takes its time before the pace picks up substantially (which fits thematically within the story but isn’t too exciting to watch). The book was darker and edgier than Dan Brown’s other works but the movie’s a bit more upbeat and action-heavy, which can rub some people the wrong way. The ending, in particular, doesn’t end with the heroes’ efforts to thwart the release of the Inferno virus mostly in vain.
However, most people are looking for an enjoyable way to kill 2 hours worth of time and for that reason, Inferno serves its purpose. The movie’s a fun little romp with phenomenal acting talent. Go in with those expectations and Inferno should meet them. Besides, has there ever been a terrible Tom Hanks movie?