Below the watchful eyes of Father Silvano Bentivoglio (Carmen Argenziano) and Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), the European Group for Nuclear Analysis (CERN) initiates the Massive Hadron Collider and creates three vials of antimatter particles bigger than any which have ever been produced earlier than. Nearly instantly, Father Silvano is killed and one of many vials of antimatter goes lacking. On the identical time, the Roman Catholic Church is mourning the sudden loss of life of Pope Pius XVI in Rome and prepares for the papal conclave to elect the subsequent Pope. The Camerlengo, Father Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor), assumes short-term management of the Vatican. Earlier than the conclave enters seclusion, 4 of the ‘preferiti’ (the favorite cardinals to be elected pope) are kidnapped by a person claiming to signify the Illuminati. In a video message, he threatens to kill one candidate each hour beginning at 8pm and to destroy all of Vatican Metropolis at midnight, utilizing the lacking vial of antimatter as a bomb. The Vatican summons symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) from Harvard College and Vetra to assist them save the 4 preferiti and find the vial.
Langdon listens to the Illuminati’s message and deduces that the 4 cardinals will die on the 4 altars of the “Path of Illumination,” marked by statues of angels in areas related to the 4 classical parts. Over the objections of Commander Maximilian Richter, head of the Swiss Guard, however with McKenna’s consent, Langdon is granted entry to the Vatican Secret Archives. He examines Galileo Galilei’s banned ebook with Vetra. Following the clues and accompanied by Inspector Basic Ernesto Olivetti and Claudio Vincenzi of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps, they arrive on the Chigi Chapel within the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo. There they discover Cardinal Ebner useless, suffocated with soil and branded with an ambigrammatic phrase “Earth”. They confirm the second location is the crowded Saint Peter’s Sq. and arrive simply as a bloody Cardinal Lamassé emerges together with his chest branded with “Air”. Vetra unsuccessfully makes an attempt to carry out CPR on him, solely to find his lungs had been punctured, whereas the murderer slips by means of the group.
Whereas Vetra research Silvano’s diaries, Langdon, Olivetti and Vincenzi find the third church, Santa Maria della Vittoria, and arrive to see Cardinal Guidera, branded “Hearth” and suspended above a burning pile of wooden. A gunfight erupts between the murderer and the officers, with Olivetti and Vincenzi being killed within the course of. Langdon manages to flee, however not earlier than being noticed by the murderer. Langdon convinces two Carabinieri officers to take him to the subsequent location and the trio race to the Water altar, the Fountain of the 4 Rivers, simply because the murderer arrives in a van. The murderer murders the officers and drops a certain and weighted Cardinal Baggia into the fountain earlier than bidding farewell to Langdon and driving off. With the assistance of bystanders, Langdon rescues the cardinal, who tells him the Illuminati’s lair is Castel Sant’Angelo. There Langdon and Vetra uncover a hidden passageway resulting in the Vatican, getting used as a hideout for the murderer. Discovering a case with marks for 5 branding irons, they notice the fifth model is for the Camerlengo however are confronted by the murderer earlier than they will alert McKenna. The murderer spares their lives as soon as extra, stating that killing them shouldn’t be part of his mission until they pursue him. He then cryptically warns them to watch out as his contractors are “males of God” earlier than departing. He escapes to a automotive left for him by his contractor, however is killed instantly when it explodes upon ignition.
Langdon and Vetra rush again to the Vatican the place they discover Commander Richter hovering over McKenna with a gun, the Vatican image branded into McKenna’s chest. Richter and Archbishop Simeon are shot by the Guards. As Richter dies earlier than Langdon, he opens his hand to disclose a key which Langdon takes. The stolen antimatter vial is present in St. Peter’s Tomb beneath the church, however the battery life is simply too low to threat re-connecting it to a battery. McKenna, a former navy pilot, seizes the vial and makes use of an awaiting helicopter to fly above the Vatican. At a excessive altitude, he parachutes out because the antimatter bomb explodes overhead. McKenna is hailed a hero and savior, and the cardinals transfer to elect him pope. Langdon and Vetra use Richter’s key to observe a safety video displaying McKenna talking to Richter earlier than the assault. The video reveals that it’s McKenna, not the Illuminati, who masterminded the scheme. McKenna reveals that he murdered the earlier pope as a result of he felt the pope had betrayed the church by attempting to bridge the hole between science and faith. As soon as McKenna had killed the pope, he meant to have himself elected to the papacy while rallying essentially the most conservative Cardinals to his aspect. The recording is proven to the Papal conclave, and when it dawns on McKenna that he has been uncovered he flees to a distant recess within the constructing the place he is ready to commit suicide by setting himself on hearth.
The Vatican formally proclaims that McKenna died as a result of inner accidents suffered throughout his parachute touchdown, and Cardinal Baggia is called Pope Luke, with Cardinal Strauss as the brand new Camerlengo. Strauss thanks Langdon for his help and provides Langdon Galileo’s “Diagramma Veritatis” for his analysis as a present from himself and Pope Luke, requesting solely that or not it’s returned to the Vatican as soon as he’s completed, and that any future references he could make in regards to the Catholic Church in his future publications be finished gently, to which Langdon replies, “I am going to attempt.”