The movie actually being better then the book is a very, very rare thing, and yet Ron Howard with Dan Brown's material is two for two. In the case of The DaVinci Code, which was a sequel to Angels and Demons in the book world, but happened first in the movie world, the reason that I thought the film was better then the book is because the movie didn't have the horrendous prose that the book did. In other words, I don't look kindly on Dan Brown's writing ability.
The DaVinci Code, the movie, despite being an all right film, suffered from a few things, mainly it's seeming inability to find itself, to find its own voice, perhaps being hampered by the popularity that the book inexplicably had. (Also it suffered from the ridiculous hair style sported by Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon.)
Angels and Demons, the movie, stands on its own as an exciting mystery/adventure, unlike its predecessor, perhaps because the book isn't nearly as well known. However, if you do know the book, and have read it, I would be surprised if you didn't think that the film is much better.
Without spoiling anything, let me say that the ending of the book is about as far fetched as any story's ending has ever been. It combines the unbelievable with the cliche of an overused ending from a spy movie (I know you, my enemy, are about to die, so let me reveal to you my whole plan!). The movie solves that problem completely. Also, as with it's predecessor, the movie does away with the crap that Dan Brown calls prose, leaving only the exciting mystery and suspense that propels the story. The characters all feel much more correct and sure of themselves in this film (which wasn't always the case with the last movie) and, of course, Ron Howard's direction is superb (but then you should never expect anything less from him).
Overall, the film just works, it is a very fun ride, mostly reminiscent of an Indiana Jones-type film, a formula I think was intentional, and probably part of why this film succeeds better then the first did, they knew what they were going for and how to achieve it. Don't get me wrong, it is nowhere as good as the first or third Indiana Jones movie, but very comparable in enjoyment to Temple of Doom or Crystal Skull (which I did enjoy immensely other then the Shia heavy moments, specifically the monkeys. *shudder*)
I also really loved the spiritual element to the film. While a lot is being made about the Catholic Church's objection to the subject matter, I think that the Church overall comes across in a good light, and the idea of God most certainly does.
I wasn't sure how I would feel about this film, but I'm very glad I saw it as it made for a very enjoyable afternoon. I definitely recommend it.
Until Next Time, I can't stress enough how glad I am that they did fix the hair issue for Robert Langdon/Tom Hanks in this movie. I still have nightmares about his hair in the first film.