Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – God’s Not Dead 2


Synopsis: Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) is an ordinary high school history teacher, but when a grieving student named Brooke (Hayley Arrantia) asks her a question that pertains to Jesus (as compared to MLK and Gandhi), she answers honestly without bringing up her own background in faith. However, this makes her a target of the school board are who are firm believers in the Separation of Church and State and demand that she recant her statement and apologize to the students. But Grace can’t simply turn her back on God and refuses, causing the case to go to court where the prosecutors are out to make an example of her and any other people for “trying to push their beliefs on unsuspecting children.” Only a union appointed lawyer named Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe) stands by Grace’s side against Peter Kane (Ray Wise), the prosecutor dogmatically leading the witch hunt* against her. Paths cross and many people are affected by the case, including some returning characters from the previous movie, as the trial of the century, the trial against faith itself, rages on.

*Yes, I’m aware of the irony that Melissa Joan Hart, who played the titular character in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, is the subject of a witch hunt in this story. I award this movie no points for cleverness on this.

Review: God’s Not Dead 2: The Revengence is dishonest, hateful, and perhaps worst of all, dangerous. The sheer amount of things that are just wrong in this movie is astounding — the most obvious being the entire premise. Simply answering a student’s question while referencing Jesus is not grounds for disciplinary action (and certainly not grounds for being fired or, as the movie mentions, losing your teaching certificate), especially if the student’s question specifically mentions Jesus and the Bible. If anything, Grace could sue the school board for discrimination and probably win. Also, no teacher’s union rep would simply sit by and let Grace get fired as happens in this movie. Then again, God’s Not Dead 2: Electric Boogaloo seems to have a rather bleak and hateful view of unions, which I’ll get to later. Love thy enemy, indeed… and this is just the beginning of a moviegoing experience that equates to having an icepick lobotomy with no anesthesia and an icepick made of frozen stupid.

This film paints Christians as a persecuted minority and it dials the manipulation up to 13, making 11 look positively tame by comparison. Melissa Joan Hart’s performance was practically factory-engineered to draw sympathy, as ninety percent of her expressions make it look like the director is threatening to shoot her cat just off screen. Mind you, for all the sympathy she’s trying to elicit, all she does is sit there as other people fight the battle for her, almost as if she came out of the Kirk Cameron school of wifehood. How can the audience be inspired by her “standing up for God…” when she refuses to actually stand on her own?

Of course, Grace can only be an effective protagonist with flimsy, strawman antagonists and here’s where the film gets really insulting. You are never going to guess who the main villain is. No, not some lone atheist prosecutor. Not even a colleague of Grace’s, a Professor Radisson-lite, if you will. The primary adversary… is the ACLU. That’s right, the American Civil Liberties Union, which is portrayed as a SPECTRE-esque organisation of God-haters who want to, according to this movie, prove once and for all that God is dead. BZZZT! Wrong! The ACLU advocates for everyone’s free speech, has represented multiple Christians in the past, and would be advocating for Grace in the real world! If they haven’t already, I hope the ACLU sues for defamation.

When the movie isn’t busy slandering atheists or spewing misinformation, it satisfies itself with being derivative. Oh, I don’t mean ripping off other, more successful movies, I mean it rips off itself. Quite a few of the subplots are taken straight from the previous film. The liberal blogger (Trisha LaFache) is back and her cancer has been cured, which for some reason has cast doubt on her newfound belief in God. I would think that cure by conversion to Christianity (which is what this film is implying) would cement your belief in God pretty hard, but that’s beside the point. This struggle has zero effect on the main plot. The Chinese kid (Paul Kwo) is back to build on his faith and have his atheist father disown him. Didn’t we do this already with the Muslim family in the first film? The cancer subplot gets repurposed for the Disneyland missionaries (David A.R. White and Benjamin A. Onyango) in the form of a burst appendix to add dramatic tension (he was on the jury, which is a whole other layer of stupid). Finally, just like the first film, God’s Not Dead: Episode II: A New Pope ends with the same Christian band playing the same “uplifting” song.


On a technical level, God’s Not Dead 2: Judgment Day is better than its predecessor; the subplots are less intrusive, there’s no hamfisted deathbed conversion, and there were bits that made me genuinely, though in protest, laugh. But in a twisted bit of irony, by making those elements better, the overall film becomes worse. There is now nothing to distract from the pure concentration of insane awful contained in it. This movie postulates… and I’m not even joking… that one trial over the separation of church and state will pave the way for Christian genocide. SPOILER ALERT, this argument is actually used to turn the tide in the case. SPOILER OVER!

And I think the movie buys into its own mojo — it seriously believes atheists would go that route. One of the characters outright says that atheists are devoid of hope, as evidenced by Brooke’s parents callously donating their late son’s belongings and telling Brooke to get over it only a few weeks after the death. Make no mistake, this has gone from black and white morality to claiming there’s a war on Christianity, with a deluge of war analogies from Christians and the clergy to one of the most hideous character assassinations of a group in modern cinema. At the protests, all the Christians are silent and peaceful while the atheists are loud and aggressive with spit flying from their mouths as they spew clear hatred. The ACLU is even given villainous music to underscore them as they plot Grace’s downfall. Oh, but Grace’s lawyer isn’t of faith and he’s perfectly civil, so that makes it all okay! I shouldn’t have to point this out, but tokenism does not progress make.

This is not a Christian movie. The ethics of the Bible and Jesus’ teachings are nowhere to be found here. This is fearmongering, pure and simple. It is meant to instill the fear that the rest of America wants to take away your faith and exterminate Christianity once and for all. The first film could be seen as goofy and insane to some, but there’s a very real chance that a young child could see this and think this is how the world actually works. It’s disgraceful to the human race at large and insulting to the Christians who have to work extra hard because of the terrible reputation movies like these give them.

A wise master once said, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” This is the kind of movie that starts that chain, but luckily I can’t think of any Christian worth their salt who would actually enjoy this movie. If anything, I imagine they’d be irritated, insulted, and all around just bored. The movie’s terrible quality is the only thing that curbs my worry that some poor, hapless soul will buy into the fear this film is pushing and go on to firebomb a mosque. That, if nothing else, is a good silver lining in this toxic cloud.

Fun Tidbit: During the credits, the film lists numerous court cases similar to the ones in this movie (the first film did that too, but it wasn’t worth mentioning), but a closer examination reveals that a lot of them were blown out of proportion or unrelated to faith in general. If you really wanted to know how this movie would play out in real life, look up the case of Sireen Hashem — she was allegedly prohibited from mentioning Islam or the Middle East in her classroom and fired for showing a video involving Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzei. She went on to sue the school district, rather than the other way around.

Goto Home Page
Posted under

Social Widgets powered by