It’s hard to know where to start when assessing this movie. At first I wanted to write a review on this with as little bias towards the Christian aspects as possible but then I thought that the whole point of writing reviews on a personal movie blog is that I get to say my own opinions. So I should say first that I am a strong Christian and agree with the idea that we should stand up for our beliefs when they are attacked. So with that being said, let’s get started.
God’s Not Dead 2 is about a woman named Grace Wesley who is put on trial for mentioning the teachings of Jesus in her history class in order to answer a question about Jesus that was asked by her student. Grace maintains that she has done nothing wrong but just about everyone thinks she will lose and she wonders if it is worth it to stand up for her faith or if it would be better if she just apologized and pledged to never speak of Jesus in school again. She decides to fight for what she believes in and with the help of her attorney, Tom Endler, wins the case and is not found to have been violating laws set by the board of education.
The acting….it just wasn’t good. Outside of Jesse Metcalfe (Tom) and a couple others, I just really found the acting to be subpar. To be fair though, this film only had a movie budget of $5M so they had to cast accordingly. To put this in perspective, Batman vs. Superman, another movie that received some terrible critic ratings, had a movie budget of $250M. Quite a few of the side actors are the same from the previous film but the characters Grace Wesley, Tom Endler, and Brooke Thawley are all original to this story. The low movie budget was evident on many occasions as overall the movie just had kind of a cheaply made feel throughout. My biggest complaint about the movie has to be the extremity of the discrimination against Christianity from just about everyone outside the main couple characters. Certain characters are made to look like pure evil when that simply would never be the case in real life America. Mr. Kane (played by Ray Wise) is the attorney that is attacking Grace and Tom and at times it seemed like there was no good bone in his body, almost like a villain you would see in a fantasy movie. Likewise, keeping any biblical or religious reference out of her school seems to be the most important thing on the principal’s mind at all times. I tend to think that most principles would never be so narrow minded as the one in the movie. I personally remember having a principle that was a strong Christian in middle school. Most of the hostile scenes against Christianity are just really unrealistic for modern day america. In addition to those things, there were a few scenes that just didn’t need to be included at all and felt like they were just added to make sure the film wasn’t too short.
Going in, I wasn’t expecting the story to keep my attention very well. However, I gotta give credit to Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon for writing what I would call a very adequate screenplay. The plot was quite a bit better and more complex than I was expecting. I think my favorite part of the movie was when Lee Strobel and J. Warner Wallace were on the stand during the trial. I feel like the evidence they presented for the existence of Christ in their few minutes of screen time probably made more people think about what they believe to be true than the whole first movie did. The resolution of the plot was a bit cheesy but I didn’t mind it overall. I mean, what can you expect from a low budget Christian movie. Not every Christian movie company can be as good as Sherwood Pictures (and they use waaaay less $5M).
I found the story to be appealing and really helps to give people confidence to stand up for their beliefs and to share them with others. However, as a movie connoisseur, I just couldn’t ignore some of the bad acting and cheap production. Also, the generally exaggerated and aggressive situations of people attacking Christianity just take away from the movie too much and make it far too unrealistic for me to give it a great rating.