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Characters / Angels & Demons

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Characters from the novel and film adaptation of Angels & Demons.

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    Robert Langdon 

Robert Langdon
Played by: Tom Hanks
  • Claustrophobia: Not completely explained in this booknote , but closed spaces are not his style. We are informed of this when he gets locked in a library with a limited supply of air. He still manages to keep his cool to escape, thankfully.
  • Informed Ability: Langdon is supposedly a Harvard professor of "symbology" (the closest real-life discipline is semiotics, a subfield of linguistics and anthropology) and expert in religions. However, in Angels, he mistranslates "Novus Ordo Seclorum" as "New Secular Order", when any high school Latin student would know that it means "New Order of the Ages". This guy is supposed to be this huge expert on da Vinci, but he misses the simple "it's written backwards" code, which da Vinci famously used in all of his personal notes. As a supposed scholar of European history, his inability to read Latin, French, or Italian makes doing first-hand research difficult.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Langdon is a professor of Religious Iconology and Symbology at Harvard University. He also graduated from Princeton University, where he played water polo.
  • The Smart Guy: He is a symbologist, which helps a lot when a murder involving a weird symbol happens.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Despite his knowledge of religious symbolism, he's more or less an accessory to Victoria's quest for Revenge.
  • Unfazed Everyman: The world can crumble along him, but he manages to keep his head cold to survive. The only moment he really feels desperate is when the cardinal of "Water" dies.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Langdon is severely claustrophobic as a result of almost drowning in a well as a child. He regularly has to enter confined spaces in the novels, including being imprisoned in a coffin in Angels & Demons and actually faces drowning in tiny space in The Lost Symbol it turns out to be a total liquid ventilation system, but he didn't know that.

    Maximilian Kohler / Maximilian Richter 

Maximilian Kohler / Maximilian Richter
Played by: Stellan Skarsgård
  • Acquitted Too Late: The Camerlengo successfully frames him, which leads to him being killed, but he still managed to secretly record the Camerlengo's Engineered Public Confession to him and gave it to Robert in his last moments, ensuring his innocent post-mortem.
  • Adaptation Name Change: His name is changed to Maximilian Richter for The Film of the Book.
  • Asshole Victim: He acts like a Jerkass, so much that his colleagues fear and hate him; and at the moment of his death, his death seems even more satisfying because he appears to be the Big Bad at that time. Downplayed when it's revealed that he's innocent, and he redeems himself (post-mortem) by revealing who the real Big Bad is.
  • Best Friend: He's best friends with Leonardo Vetra, who is ironically a priest. He's the one who finds Leonardo's body and contacts Robert to bring his friend to justice.
  • Composite Character: His character in the film is merged with Commander Olivetti and Captain Rocher, being the Swiss captain of the Guard instead of the director of CERN.
  • The Dreaded: He's one of the most respected and is feared even amongst other members of CERN.
  • Enemy Mine: Thanks to his past, he has nothing but hate and disgust for everything religious. But he can't just let people die as a result of a terrorist attack.
  • Handicapped Badass: Being a paralytic stuck in a wheelchair doesn't stop him from being an excellent marksman, and his wheelchair actually comes equipped with a hidden gun.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Kohler's reason for being an atheist was that his parents, instead of getting him the right medicine for a crippling, life-threatening illness when was young, decided to pray over him. He only survived because a doctor injected him with the medicine without his parents' knowledge. The whole ordeal left Kohler paraplegic. To top it all off, when his parents took him to a Priest to ask why their son is crippled, the priest berates him for not having enough faith. He became very bitter, to say the least.
  • Genius Cripple: Kohler is a brilliant scientist and director of the CERN facility, while also being stuck in a (highly modern) wheelchair.
  • Jerkass: Has such a, to put it mildly, short temper that he's hated and feared amongst his colleagues. He also acts like a jerk towards everyone from the Vatican (though that's also explained by his rabid atheism stemming from a childhood trauma).
  • Red Baron: His colleagues at CERN nickname him König (German for "King") because he acts like a king sitting in an electronic wheelchair.
  • Red Herring: The whole chapter before he talks with The Camerlengo hints that he's the Illuminati leader. Turns out his aggressive thoughts towards the church are the result of a Freudian Excuse.
  • The Stoic: He's described as having an icy demeanor and an emotionless tone of voice.
  • Super Wheelchair: His wheelchair is equipped with all sorts of electronic gadgets such as a computer, telephone, pager and even a hidden gun. Most notably it also has a hidden Spy Cam that allows him to record things secretly, which naturally comes in handy when you're dealing with secret conspiracies.

    Vittoria Vetra 

Vittoria Vetra
Played by: Ayelet Zurer

    The Camerlengo 

Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca / Camerlengo Patrick McKenna
Played by: Ewan McGregor
  • Adaptation Name Change: His name is changed from Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca in the novel to Camerlengo Patrick McKenna in The Film of the Book
  • Badass Long Robe: The Camerlengo in the movie, those are some banging priest robes. Behind-the-scenes material states that they wanted to somehow emphasize his authority despite being just a simple priest, so they went with Italian Wool Satin Faille (which is about one of the most expensive ways to weave merino wool).
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • Sure, he didn't plan on dying in the process, but the Camerlengo does manage to achieve pretty much all his primary objectives. He successfully jump-starts a worldwide renewal of faith in Christianity's power, while simultaneously causing popular distrust of the scientific community. In the book, as far as the masses are concerned, he even goes down in history as miraculously ascending to Heaven. And Langdon and Vittoria can never tell the world the Illuminati were a sham and the entire drama was a dog-and-pony show by the Camerlengo, because disillusioning the people just as they've had their faith restored would do more harm than good.
    • The movie sidesteps this one, Langdon manages to save Baggia, who later becomes pope under the name Luke (after the physician and evangelist). The movie manages to have it both ways, a pro-science pope and the renewal of faith.
  • Big Bad: He manages to be this with his incredible capacity for manipulation.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: God damn. The trope should be renamed The Camerlengo. He would have played everyone for fools if Kohler (Richter in the movie) hadn't been recording their conversation.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The Camerlengo is trained as a medical helicopter pilot. This comes in handy later, when he disposes of the Antimatter bomb.
  • The Chessmaster: There's no Illumminati. There's only him and the Hassassin, and the Hassassin thinks he's working for the Illumminati.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In the book, when he discovers that he is the Pope's son.
    • In the film, it's the failure of his plan and his near-arrest inside the Vatican that cause him to perform Self-Immolation.
  • Freudian Excuse: Averted with his mother's death as the result of a terrorist attack. What truly sets him in the path of unspeakable evil is discovering that the Pope had a son(that to his own horror is him) and the discovery of Vetra that launched him on a crusade to make science look evil and religion good.
  • Gambit Roulette:
    • The plan depends on the Camerlengo being NOT seen by Langdon and getting to the Antimatter, which he placed on Saint Peter's catacomb, on time. Needless to say, he's spotted by Langdon, and was interrogated by Kohler (who caught the whole thing on tape) before Kohler was shot.
    • It's Even less plausible in The Film of the Book, where The Plan is for Langdon to find the Antimatter mere minutes before it detonates. A few minutes too soon, and the bomb is easily defused. A minute too late, and St. Peter's is destroyed, along with the Camerlengo. And that's just the most obvious flaw in the hilariously roundabout plan. Spotting the rest makes for one Hell of a drinking game.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation:Two times, surprisingly so.
    • The first one happens when the Pope reveals to the Camerlengo that science allowed him to have a son. Cue murder and conspiracy.
    • The second one makes The Camerlengo go a little whacked at having found out the Pope's innocent of his accusation of breaking the vow of celibacy and is his father.
  • The Heart: If not for the good guys, for the Catholic Church itself as temporary leader of Vatican. He is doing this to divert the attention of himself.
  • Knight Templar: He believes his actions will at the same time save the Catholic Church and at the very least prejudice the image of science on the public.
  • The Messiah: Plays it straight,as weird as it sounds. Turns out he deliberately invoked this on himself to renovate faith on the Church. Talk about being blasphemous.
  • Motive Rant:
    • In the film, the Camerlengo gets one to the Cardinals about how the Church is just trying to be a beacon of salvation and solidarity in a world growing increasingly amoral under the influence of technology, and that world outside needs to realize the Church for this and not see them as some sort of archaic cult. Subtle, isn't it?
    • And another one in the movie when he's confronted by Richter. By the Camerlengo's twisted morality, science shouldn't be allowed to prove the God Particle's existence and "reinvidicate the miracle from creation from God", which makes his previous speech to the cardinals even more bullshit. In both cases, he's basically spouting that science should only be allowed to work under religion's thrall.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If the poor Camerlengo had really listened to the Pope's full story, none of this would have happened.
  • Race Lift: He's Italian in the book, and, judging by his name, an Irish in the film (his actor is Scottish).
  • Religious Stereotype: He averts this completely, being a kind and respectable member of the Church, and he is such a Hope Bringer that the cardinals even think of making him Pope, and in fact do it through proclamation. Then he plays it so straight that it makes the Hassassin look moderate.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He certainly is inspirational.
  • Walking Spoiler: Do you think you know everything about him? Think again.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Indicated in the movie when the Camerlengo says to Richter "I was planning on doing this alone, but perhaps it's better that you're here." Just before branding himself with the upside-down papal symbol.

    The Hassassin/The Hitman 

The Hassassin/The Hitman
Played by: Nikolaj Lie Kaas
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: He is a villain in both the book and the movie, but the book version is an Ax-Crazy Psycho for Hire Politically Incorrect Villain, while the movie version is a Consummate Professional who goes out of his way to avoid harming unarmed non-targets.
  • Bad Habits: The hitman dresses as a priest when dumping a fatally stabbed victim in the middle of St Peter's Square.
  • Consummate Professional: In the movie, he points out that he could have killed the protagonists on several occasions, but didn't as they weren't armed and he hadn't been ordered to.
  • Disney Villain Death: In the book he gets thrown from the top of a castle after receiving an Eye Scream from Vetra, whom he was planning to rape and kill.
  • The Dragon: To Janus, as the guy responsible for disposing of the preferiti.
  • Enemy Mine: He is much of a radical Muslim as you can imagine in the book. He is only fighting for the Illuminati because he sees the Catholic Church as a bigger threat to eliminate. Averted in the movie, where he's very much aware that he's working for a member of the Catholic Church, as the Church has already hired him to kill people before and doesn't seem to be Muslim, though he mentions having worked for Muslims and Jews as well as Catholics.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Not present in the book, but it's there in the film. See Consummate Professional above. If you aren't a threat to him or are not getting in his way, and if he hasn't been paid to kill you, he'll leave you alone even if there's a good chance you could screw things up for him later.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: In the film, the Assassin wears glasses, which give a more "civilized" or intellectual appearance. He's also a (mostly) remorseless, cold-blooded killer for hire.
  • The Hashshashin: He is a Hashashin, though the book portrays him as a crazed, chaotic Psycho for Hire.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: In the novel, he's a misogynist who only sees women as "tools of pleasure" and takes a perverse pleasure in breaking those he finds are too "independent".
  • The Heavy: Since the Big Bad is a Hidden Villain, the Hassassin is the most present antagonist force that Langdon and Vittoria deal with for most of the story.
  • In Name Only: If the hitman didn't fulfill the exact same role of The Hassassin, they wouldn't share a character sheet in first place.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Taunt the heroes over the Antimatter bomb and what will be the effects of the explosion on the financial existence of the Catholic Church around the world, and the fate of the prefertiti, and Vittoria in special over her father.
  • Light Is Not Good: Movie version only, in which he wears white.
  • One-Man Army: The movie's assassin and the book Hassassin would give the hitman from Collateral a run for his money.
  • Out with a Bang: The Hassassin's final atrocity was to be forcing Vittoria to give him head and slitting her throat as he came. Foiled, thank God.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The Hassassin in the book is portrayed as a violent misogynist that loves abusing and degrading women - such as one prostitute whom he hired and proceeds to violently abuse that she pretends to pass out just so he'd stop, and he briefly considers offing her mid-coitus. He also refers to Christians as "Crusaders", which is often a disparaging term used by radical Muslims.
  • Professional Killer: In the book the Hassassin is, well, a Hassassin, which is equal parts contract killer and religious zealot. In the film, the Hitman seems to be a professional contract killer who specializes in doing wetwork for high-ranking religious figures of many different faiths.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The hitman in the film. With one exception, he tries to avoid harming anybody except his contracted targets and people directly trying to stop him. In one scene, he has Langdon and Vittoria at gunpoint and tells them that he won't kill them unless they keep interfering.
  • Quick Draw: Part of his shtick in the film.
  • Race Lift: The assassin, a suave and sophisticated Arabic (and Muslim) Hassassin with an addiction to sadism, killing, and rape in the book, was changed into a European professional with some mercy and honor who is only in it for the money in the film, probably because the political climate had changed between the 2000 book and 2009 film.
  • Self-Surgery: The hitman treats a gunshot wound in the back of a van, while monologuing to a victim he's got trussed up in a sack.
  • Serial Rapist: He sees women as tools for his own pleasure, and has kidnapped and raped several European women just because they defy his worldview.
  • Sex Is Violence: His idea of maximum pleasure in the book? Having sex with a woman and killing her in the moment of orgasm. Urgh.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the movie, is there anyone who couldn't predict that his car was rigged to explode? Somewhat justified in that, for him, the day's work was just another of many similar jobs he's done in the past, but for the person who hired him, it was a special conspiracy that required leaving no witnesses.
  • Villainous Valour: In the film, the assassin tells Langdon that while he had multiple opportunities to kill him, he didn't because he's unarmed and it wasn't asked of him.
  • Western Terrorists: The very Middle Eastern character The Hassassin is replaced in the movie by a generic (though very creepy) Caucasian villain for hire in the movie version.