Tom Hanks has showed countless times that he can helm a film entirely by himself. He’s also still a box office success, especially after the sleeper hit Sully which crossed $100 million domestically and is still counting. His return as Robert Langdon in Inferno poses him with the task of giving Sony a desperate hit, after a troublesome year with many misfires.
Inferno is the third film of the Robert Langdon adventures (the two previous films were The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons). In this film we find Langdon (Tom Hanks) is struck with amnesia after suffering a seeming head trauma. He finds himself being chased by the WHO (World Health Organization) and a private corporation. With only the help of the doctor who he met at the hospital (Felicity Jones) and his scattered memories, he has to navigate his way through clues hidden in ancient art to stop an apocalyptic event from happening.
This film started off straight in the action, which was appreciated as it added more of a thrill. But as time went by you started seeing how predictable and generic the film was. Essentially you can solve half of the plot by the first couple of minutes. There are infinite convenient happenings that help move the plot forward, and you give up trying to play dumb 30 minutes in. However, towards the last act there is a sudden about-face and the film suddenly becomes the nail-biting thriller you had paid to see, it seemed as if director Ron Howard has lazed his way through the set up and was relishing in the resolution he had longed for.
The cast is spiced up a bit, Tom Hanks returns as Langdon and delivers a by the numbers performance; Felicity Jones is new and does well to hold her own against the veteran actor. Then there were neat additions from Omar Sy, Ben Foster, and Irrfan Khan who seemed to be the only actor who found the right tone that the film was trying to set, a mixture of sarcasm and ‘bad-assery’.
In comparison with the other films in the series, I certainly found it an improvement from Angels & Demons, which was uninteresting and too predictable. While Inferno does follow along the same lines as its predecessor in its opening acts, its finale is enjoyable enough to elevate it to a higher category. But despite having an A-list creative team, the film never manages to break out of a sluggish and generic thriller.