I was not a big fan of the first God’s Not Dead film. While I liked what it had to say, I did not agree with the way the film said it (it had far too many characters and story lines that did not mesh together well). That being said, I gave it three stars, the same rating I am giving to the sequel.
Yet the sequel is better. Sure, it has some of the same flaws as the first, but it did what I wished the first one did: it stuck to one story (for the most part: there were some character arcs that were superflous). The main character is History Teacher Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart, doing a good job of acting). She is a single woman who still lives at home with her Grandpa (Pat Boone), still giving her extra faith every morning with breakfast.
One day, Brooke Thawley (Haley Orrantia), one of her students, asks a question about Jesus during their lesson on non violence. Brooke herself had just discovered the bible from her recently deceased brother (we learn he died in a car crash). During Grace’s answer to the question, an unseen student is shown texting home, letting his parents know what had happened. Eventually, she is brought to trial, and is appointed a lawyer, Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe). He is not a christian, but he says that will help the case.
There are some characters from the original in the film, mainly Rev. Dave (David A.R. White), Rev. Jude (Benjamin A. Onyango), and Martin Yip (Paul Kwo). Kwo has talent as an actor, but there is really no reason for his character to be here. There are also appearances by Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson as Brooke’s best friend Marlene, Fred Dalton Thompson (in his last film role before his 2015 death) as the Senior Pastor, and Mike Huckabee as himself.
There is also a lot of legal talk in this film. Personally, I do not go into a movie wanting to make sure it is entirely accurate, and I know nothing about the legal precedings in a court room. I am sure there are some holes here and there, but not enough to make me dislike what happens.
Parents, like the first movie, this one is fine for kids.
As I stated in my review for the first film, Christian Cinema can be done right (the Kendrick Brothers are a good example, as their movies get better with each release). Those behind God’s Not Dead and the sequel still have some work to do, but they are getting there.
Overall: Three Stars ***