I don't understand the controversy behind "Dogma". Here, Kevin Smith has crafted some of the most hilarious and intelligent commentary/satire on the Catholic Religion and church, yet those belonging to one such religion decide to attack him. This is because they feel offended, hurt even.
However, there are those who cry wolf when indeed, it's just a pup; and then there are those with more common sense. The most devoted of Catholics will probably find "Dogma" quite clever, and anyone who knows a little something about it will get most of the humor. This is why I find "Dogma" to be so ingenious. It combines the typical silliness and vulgarity that Kevin Smith is known for delivering, but it doesn't forget to actually be funny. But it's more than funny; "Dogma" is smart, and with all due respect, I do believe that it knows what it's talking about.
You might hate this movie; you might like it. Smith is not preaching information to his audience, and by all means, "Dogma" is more pro-faith than most think it is. I guess when those countless screen adaptations of Bible passages are made, it's not offensive. And when they suck and lack accuracy, I guess that doesn't matter. But, oh you know, it's wrong when someone actually knows what they're talking about.
A lot of the satire comes from the initial plot itself. "Dogma" opens by introducing us to its central characters; the fallen angels Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck), an abortion clinic-worker named Bethany (Linda Fiorentino), and Kevin Smith regulars Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith).
You see, here's the problem: Loki and his buddy Bartleby want to escape back into heaven after being banished. Loki is a tad more restrained than the murderous and ultra-violent Bartleby, although both are willing to kill to achieve their goals. To stop them from entering heaven, the voice of God (Alan Rickman) requests that the abortion clinic-worker, Bethany, team up with two prophets, who turn out to be Jay and Silent Bob.
Along the way, Bartleby and Loki come across an old friend, Azrael (Jason Lee), a former muse sent to hell for refusing to side in the war between God and The Devil. Also, Bethany and her two tag-alongs happen upon the thirteenth apostle (Chris Rock) and their own little muse (Salma Hayak).
A lot of people seem to think that "Dogma" is insulting towards God and the faith. However, I'm just going to have to disagree with that. The world depicted in "Dogma" is the one we live in now; where people are losing faith, get bored in church, and joke regularly about the existence of God in their lives. Now, I'm not a Christian or a Catholic. I was born one, but I can't say I pick a religious side. I'm an agnostic, you would say. I am often intrigued by religion, and maybe this is why I enjoyed "Dogma" as much as I possibly could. I knew something about Catholicism, thus I knew what this movie was going on about, and understood that when it does go on about something, it's meant to be funny. It's satire; it's humor. And Smith masters the religious side of "satire" like the folks of Monty Python once did. Perhaps he even does it better.
It's really something when a comedy can make me laugh my ass off, but also makes me turn the old thinker on. This is a wildly entertaining and inventive film; but it's not mindless. It's intelligent, ambitious, but never quite loses sight of what it's doing. It is exceptionally well-acted, the dialogue is funny and engaging, and Smith has once again re-gained my respect. Most films will not challenge a subject like religion, so I guess I have to applaud Smith for being as brave a man as he is. Few religious films, satire or not satire, would- and should- not require the viewer to know anything about the religion(s) they are satirizing. But I'm glad I knew about the one that takes center stage here.