"God's Not Dead 2" is the sequel to 2014's "God's Not Dead", the movie where a devout Christian college students goes up against his atheist professor in trying to prove God's existence. I actually didn't bother seeing it when it first came out and I still haven't seen it, but it doesn't matter since this movie is more or less the same, the roles being reversed when a Christian teacher makes a remark about Jesus in the middle of class, it upsets some of the students parents, and now it turns into an all out court case debating God's place in a classroom.
Like I said, I never bothered seeing the first movie, however since I live in the highly Republican state of Arizona, it wasn't long before I was closing out my senior year of high school surrounded by people saying stuff like "OMG, best movie ever!" and "Take that, atheists!". I spent a lot of time hearing my home state praise it as the single greatest movie of all time, whereas other states (hell, even other countries) saw it for what it was: A big budget Christian propaganda Hallmark drama that only got a theater release because it has an appearance from one of the Robertsons from "Duck Dynasty." Critics hated, atheists tore it to pieces, and thankfully even some Christians thought it sucked. And now here we are, reviewing the sequel because I ultimately had to to flip a coin to decide whether I should see this movie or "Meet the Blacks".
Of all the obvious flaws with this movie, let's take a look at the biggest one and it's the portrayal of all the characters. Our main character is named Grace (subtle stuff right there) and she's the perfect little Christian who's all innocent and pure until the big bad atheist attorney challenges her in court to prove once and for all that God truly is dead. For one thing, I've never heard one atheist in real life actually utter the phrase "God is dead", nor have I come across any atheists that are 100% bitter and evil like the one in this movie. But since clever writing or subtlety isn't in this movie's script, it simply relies on portraying all atheists/agnostics/secularists as these antagonistic bullies who hate Christians and want to wage a war on Christianity, while all Christian are depicted as flawless, victimized heroes. The worst part about it is that there are people who will watch this movie and be fully convinced that this movie is speaking truth about its characterizations.
Where else this movie fails is its ideas, many of them revolving around stuff like how Christians are a persecuted minority in this country, and also that the country will instantly fall apart if Jesus isn't allowed in classrooms. It's fine to present these ideas if there's a well balanced, two-sided argument involved, but this movie doesn't take that approach. Instead, it opts for blatant situations in which the Christian argument is obviously the only correct answer and that all those dumb atheists have no clue how to construct a legitimate rebuttal. This movie is so high off itself that the writers don't even know that all of the religious arguments in this movie can be refuted by basic science and statistics, and even basic logic 101. You think having Jesus in classrooms will make school safer? Well Jesus is allowed in churches, but that obviously doesn't stop all those kids from being molested by priests, does it? If the movie took even the smallest time to make these arguments and present both sides equally, it might have gotten a slight pass in the court scenes, but it's just a one-sided mess with no effort in creating any nuance to the situations.
Also, this movie branches off into various subplots that don't add anything to the main story other than reinforcing the power of God and stuff like that. There's one subplot involving a born-again Christian who's dealing with his disapproving atheist father (take a wild guess who the bad guy in that situation is), and there's also a subplot that deals with a girl who's been recently declared cancer-free, which leads into her questioning how genuine her faith is and so on and so on. If you're not new to, well, movies in general, you know that all of these branching subplots are all going to end the same way, the struggling Christian dealing with adversity, they get a cheesy quote about God being a teacher, and they all celebrate while listening to a shitty song from the trailers. Sorry if that stuff is a spoiler to you, I just wasn't aware that you've apparently never seen any movie ever made.
The final thing I'll criticize this movie for is its cast. Once again, we have an appearance from a "Duck Dynasty" Robertson member, further solidifying that the makers of this movie can only get it to theaters if a highly religious figure makes a cameo. As for the rest of the cast, Melissa Joan Hart stars as the "persecuted" Christian teacher and it's fairly obvious that she does care about doing this movie some justice, but her performance suffers due to the awful, forced dialogue that makes her sound like she's in an after school special called "What a friend we have in Gawd" or something to that effect. The rest of the supporting cast are virtually unknowns to me, but they're no better than Hart with their lines, and even Ernie Hudson appears in this movie as a cartoon character of a judge during the court scenes. I don't know if Hudson is at all passionate about this movie's subject matter, so there's a part of me that likes to think his audition tape for "God' Not Dead 2" was simply this.
In the end, "God's Not Dead 2" is the mess that most people already knew it would be. It's poorly acted, the characters are all one dimensional stereotypes, terribly written with no attempt at making things balanced or even factual for arguments sake, and it tries too hard to preach the idea that Christians are the most persecuted people in the world and that America will somehow fall into a state of tyranny and oppression if Jesus isn't allowed to be shoved down our throats in school. Given this movie's reviews, it looks like most people are wise to the writer's act and know that this movie won't be converting anybody in the near future. If you're a Christian and you absolutely need reinforcement that you're a victimized minority, or if you just like poorly constructed attempts at film-making, then go right ahead and see this movie. Everyone else can just see...you know what, just stay home this weekend. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" just became available for digital download, so preoccupy yourself with that instead.
Rating: Fuck You!