Inferno is the latest thriller based on the novels of Dan Brown that follow the fictional character of Robert Langdon who is a world renowned symbologist (study of symbols). Like The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons before them, Inferno follows mostly the same story arch and structure.

Tom Hanks has reprised his role as Robert Langdon (this time with an appropriate haircut) and once again he travels around to beautiful locations of European art and architecture with a young woman by his side, trying to solve a series of clues in order to stop a billionaire madman who believes humanity is a parasite and his plague inferno is the cure. If this sounds like a film you have seen before, it is because you have. In the other two movies that have come before it

Once again, audiences will enjoy being whisked around to see beautiful cities, art, and architecture to solve historical literary clues as the film plays out like a late middle ages travel lesson. These are all good things.

The bad is that during the first half of the film, Robert Langdon has amnesia due to a blow to the head. He cannot remember much which of what he was doing, which makes him a less compelling character. Throughout the series of films, Langdon has used his “dizzying intellect” to solve clues the brightest minds could not solve. In Inferno, that “super power” is taken away and we are left with an average, middle aged man, who is somehow able to solve impossible puzzles and clues while being chased by seedy underground characters and the world health organization. Who for the purposes of this film, seem to have become the FBI/CIA in one. This setup does not work and makes for a boring first half of the film Eventually Langdon regains his memory and the film picks up a bit from there, but for some it might be too late.

As far as the performances go, Tom Hanks delivers a watchable, likable performance, much to his credit considering that the character of Robert Langdon is a relatively boring protagonist. Meanwhile Ben Foster plays the somewhat forgettable billionaire madman (Bertrand Zobrist) in a somewhat forgettable way. It is a shame because perhaps if we had a chance to understand the nuance of his character, like I assume can be done in the books, he would have felt like a more compelling character and caused us to think if he was to be on the right side of history. Unfortunately, any nuance from the book does not translate well to the film adaptation. But not all is lost. For me, the bright spot of the film was Felicity Jones who plays the gifted doctor Sienna Brooks. Brooks, who in helping Langdon with his injury, gets swept up into game for the fate of the world. In her performance, Felicity Jones shows a transition of her emotional resonance throughout the film as her character develops and we get to understand her more, for better or worse. I am excited to see Jones continue to grow in her career and look forward to seeing her this holiday’s Star Wars Story: Rouge One. She has the ability to carry a film, let’s hope she is given the opportunity to do so.

In the end, Inferno is not a terrible film, but it is not very memorable either. Unlike the two films before it, Robert Langdon is handcuffed by an injury that doesn’t allow him to use his intellect that made him compelling before Couple that with what seems like an inspector gadget plot, where the bad guy leave a series of clues to foil his own master plan, and you end up with a “Meh” film.

2.5 stars out of 5