‘Son of God’ Review: Bless Me, Surfer Jesus

'Son of God' Review: Bless Me, Surfer Jesus

Not unlike “Game of Thrones,” this big-screen condensation of History's “The Bible” miniseries plays far more interestingly when it focuses on political machinations rather than on the supernatural

What would Jesus think of entertainment producers who translated his life story to the big screen in the hopes of a multimillion dollar payout? Does it make a difference if the film intends to bolster the faith of believers through shock and awe? What if it fails entirely at convincing doubters and skeptics of his worldview — or even at explaining why they should share his values?

All of the above applies to “Son of God,” a lavish hunk of sermon-tainment with all the gravitas of a Communion wafer. Married producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey had director Christopher Spencer and editor Robert Hall slice and dice their ten-hour History Channel miniseries “The Bible” (2013) — the one that supposedly cast a President Obama look-alike as Satan — into a 138-minute feature. (Perhaps to avoid further controversy, Satan does not appear in this film.)

Watch video: Jesus Is Back on the Big Screen in ‘Son of God’ Trailer (Video)

“Son of God” boasts impressive costumes, convincing violence, location shooting (in Morocco), and a largely white cast with British accents — all of which make it a visually ambitious show on par with TV's “Game of Thrones.” Also like the HBO show, it's most compelling as a parable about realpolitik and least interesting whenever magic enters the equation.

son-of-god-Graded_TB_Day07B_040312_CC_MG_2840_rgbAfter a quick montage through the Old Testament's greatest hits and the nativity scene, the biopic finds thirtysomething Jesus (Portuguese model-turned-actor Diogo Morgado) on the precipice of sooth-saying stardom. As the first century's premier ad man, he says nothing but promises everything by speaking entirely in metaphors (“I am the Way and the Truth and the Life”) with pauses between phrases as if to accommodate bursts of applause.

Also read: ‘Son of God': Jewish Leader Hopes Bible Film Will Be ‘Antidote’ to ‘Passion of the Christ’

What's it like to be a demi-god? That's not a question “Son of God” cares to ask. Though Jesus was also a son of man, this messiah is a church shrine made flesh – he's only as expressive as his wavy, surfer-dude hair. Morgado isn't given much to do other than smiling beatifically at dirt-faced extras and occasionally pointing his face toward a holy light shining from above.  The few times he's offered the chance to prove his chops, he squints rather than emote.

But Jesus needn't be human; his right-hand man Peter (Darwin Shaw) provides the requisite reaction shots for audience identification.

“Son of God” dutifully dramatizes Jesus’ most iconic miracles, like the resurrection of Lazarus, the multiplication of the fish and bread loaves, and the stroll on a stormy sea. The earnestness of these scenes sometimes veers into camp. When Peter's conviction that he can walk on water like his teacher momentarily falters, for instance, his glance downward results in a Wile E. Coyote-like plummet. And with no narrative or logical transition between Jesus’ supernatural deeds, they have all the impact of a video scrapbook.

But the film gains in thematic complexity (and moral murkiness) as Jesus multiplies his followers. His apparent powers and assurances of a better life lead many to believe he'll lead a Jewish uprising against the despotic Pontius Pilate (Greg Hicks). It's clear his popularity as a inspirational preacher stems from his early (Jewish) converts’ political dissatisfaction — a fascinating wrinkle to Jesus’ career as a spiritual leader. But the Prince of Peace lives up to his name; he even seems to encourage the Jews to continue paying burdensome taxes to their Roman colonialists.

Also read: ‘Son of God’ Cuts Satan Scenes Featuring Obama Lookalike

While Jesus inadvertently stirs up ethnic pride and unrest in outlying Nazareth, Pilate and the Jewish high priest Caiaphas (Adrian Schiller) plot jointly and independently to launch a public relations campaign that discredits the prophet as a blasphemer and neutralizes the threat of political revolt. These scenes of governmental intrigue are the film's highlight because they're the most scripted and conventionally constructed. (Writing credits go to Spencer, Richard Bedser, Colin Swash, and Nic Young.)

Though executing Jesus would weigh on neither politician's conscience, both Pilate and Caiaphas are adamant they not take the blame for the death sentence. Compared to careerist strongman Pilate, who wants to stamp out rebellion to prove his managerial abilities, Caiaphas fears that a Jewish riot could lead to even harsher restrictions on his people, even genocide. The high priest should therefore be a somewhat sympathetic figure, but “Son of God” isn't really concerned with the fate of the Jews.

Rather, it squarely lays the blame for Jesus’ death at Caiaphas’ feet, thus reviving the pre-Vatican II stance that the Jewish people are responsible for condemning Christ to the cross. (Caiaphas gets the opportunity to offer Jesus amnesty, but opts to free a murderer instead.) It doesn't help that, like Disney's “Aladdin,” a character's goodness can be seen discerned from his Northern European features (including Morgado's), while a villain's wickedness corresponds to a more Semitic visage (like Joe Wredden's Judas Iscariot and Paul Marc Davis’ pharisee).

(For the record, the Anti-Defamation League has given its stamp of approval to Burnett and Downey's film.)

Like Mel Gibson‘s “The Passion of the Christ,” “Son of God” devotes what feels like eons to Jesus’ multistage mortification. But the film never explains the purpose of his extended suffering: that his gory spectacle of a death accentuates the mortal sacrifice he undertakes so that his followers may follow him to a blissful afterlife. Without that religious context, the whippings and stabbings resonate only as a gratuitously sadistic show of Roman might.

(Or so says this atheist; the religious woman next to me at the press screening wept her eyes out during these scenes of torture.)

Also read: CBS Orders Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Miniseries ‘Dovekeepers’

Given its high production values and adherence to Church orthodoxy, “Son of God” is the kind of film that'll be seen in Sunday school class for years, maybe decades, to come. Other than its suggestion that a Jewish leader attempting to save his people from annihilation deserves to be blamed for Jesus’ brutal death, though, Burnett and Downey's vision of Christ has little to say on its own.

  • Jus Plaindogg

    Interesting review and observation. Makes one wonder why Foxman and the ADL would approve of this film.

  • johnnyglock

    Weird that they didn't hire a black person to play Jesus.

  • Ivan

    That's a petty ‘white’ case for a group of people supposedly from the Middle East.

  • Bea from Riverside, CA

    To writer Inkoo Kang re “Bless Me, Surfer Jesus”….the reason you don't get the dialogue is that you apparently don't read the Bible. In John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There is no adding or taking away from the Word of God. Jesus is the Word….His dialogue is the Word of God, His Word. He loves all His creation and He loves you.

  • UAWildcatx2

    “What’s it like to be a demi-god? That’s not a question “Son of God” cares to ask.”
    Because to Christians, Jesus Christ is God made flesh. So no, I don't think the film would equate Christ with Hercules.

    “he even seems to encourage the Jews to continue paying burdensome taxes to their Roman colonialists.” Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Pretty straightforward.

    “Or so says this atheist” See? There it is. I get that you don't like the movie. Your sophomoric attempts at sarcasm in this review makes that abundantly clear. And you don't have to like it. BUT, you're reviewing a film entitled, “Son of God,” and in doing so, you attempted to show how “intellectually superior” you are toward Christians. Thing is, your arrogance toward Christians is tiresome.

    • Andrew Cybulska

      Heaven forbid a film critic reviews the film on it's merits rather than it's general appeal to fundies.

      • UAWildcatx2

        I like the instant jump to name calling. But seriously, this review wasn't based on the film's merits. It was based on the reviewer's disdain for Christianity. That's pretty clear from her “witty” comments throughout.

        • Andrew Cybulska

          “But seriously, this review wasn't based on the film's merits. It was based on the reviewer's disdain for Christianity”

          And you're making that statement based on… Nothing in the review?

          • WoodyTanaka

            I think the author's disdain was pretty clear. I'm not a Christian, but it was pretty clear.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            Where?

          • WoodyTanaka

            Start with the title and work down. (If you're going to mock the religion's messiah, doing it for such a hack, lame joke is pathetic.)

          • Andrew Cybulska

            So you don't really have an example? Still need a citation for the whole ‘disdain’ and ‘mocking.’

          • WoodyTanaka

            So you can't read? Here, I'll put it in caps, “START WITH THE TITLE AND WORK DOWN.”

          • Andrew Cybulska

            Sorry Woody but a specific example of disdain or mocking of Jesus would work better. If you're referencing “Surfer Jesus” then that's a reference the actor looking like a surfer dude.

            No need for the snark, Woody. I'm just asking you to back up your argument with some facts.

          • WoodyTanaka

            I gave you both a specific example and explained why it's an example. And given the fact that this is the way that Jesus has been depicted for hundreds of years in religious art, the “reference” is either an exceeding hack joke or another example of the kind of basic cultural literacy that this author is ignorant of. Take your pick.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            You haven't given me one example. You said to read the review.

            As for Jesus… The review clearly states “he’s only as expressive as his wavy, surfer-dude hair. Morgado isn’t given much to do other than smiling beatifically at dirt-faced extras and occasionally pointing his face toward a holy light shining from above. The few times he’s offered the chance to prove his chops, he squints rather than emote.”

            That's pretty much the definition of Surfer Dude. I wouldn't call Jim Caviezel's depiction, or Willem Defoe's depiction ‘Surfer dude-esque.’

        • Andrew Cybulska

          Except your statements aren't supported by the text. Where's the disdain? All I see is criticism of the cruddy acting, poor thematic operation, and lack of vision.

      • WoodyTanaka

        And when the reviewer does such a bad job understanding the basic, elementary-school-level facts about that which he's reviewing, he's not much of a critic.

        • Andrew Cybulska

          Facts about… the poor acting, the themes of the film (or lack thereof), and the general lack anything special?

          • WoodyTanaka

            Those are opinions. When he believes that Jesus is a “demi-god” and doesn't understand the point of the mortification, those are the facts I'm talking about. (It's like a critic reviewing “Inglorious Basterds” but not knowing anything about the Nazis and wondering why Shosanna would want to kill Hitler.)

          • Andrew Cybulska

            “It's like a critic reviewing “Inglorious Basterds” but not knowing anything about the Nazis and wondering why Shosanna would want to kill Hitler”

            Except that's all in the text of the BASTERDS. One doesn't need a lesson in world history to understand the context of Shoshanna's hate towards the Nazi's because it's operational theme of the entire film.

            If Kang doesn't understand something about the context of Son of God in biblical history, that's on the film for not creating the thematic context.

          • WoodyTanaka

            Fine. Then change the analogy to the beginning of the film. The tension in the opening scene is there ONLY because the viewer walks in with some basic, elementary knowledge of who the Nazis were. If you read a criticism of the start of the film and the critic was dumbfounded as to why Tarantino thought he was creating tension and didn't understand the reaction of the French farmer and his daughters to the very nice, friendly and charming Hans Landa of the SS, you would (or should) have grave misgivings as to the validity of anything else he said in the review.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            The fear and apprehension is built through cues laced throughout the scene beyond our historical understanding. Re-watch the scene, there's never any doubt this Hans is a bad man, regardless of what you may know of the Nazis. All the knowledge of Nazi's does is add weight to the scene, not an operational theme.

          • WoodyTanaka

            nope i just watched it. He's charming, nice, polite and absolutely undeserving of the reception he gets from the farmer and his daughters if you don't know why the SS are bad.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            The reception and reaction of the sweet family are the beginnings of the context you need to understand something is rotten with this visitor.

          • WoodyTanaka

            You're wrong, but whatever.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            If I recall correctly, it further cements that before the opening scene with a few moments of text explaining where we are and what is happening in the country. Don't have access to the Blu right now but the script online states the opening titles:

            “Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France… One year into the German occupation of France.”

            Again, films exist in a relative bubble. You can call me wrong all you want, but I've been providing you with examples and context and all you have been giving me is snark.

          • WoodyTanaka

            And such titles are meaningless unless one knows who the Nazis are, where France is, whether the occupation was a good or bad thing, etc., etc., but please go about believing whatever you want. I'm not giving you snark, but there comes a point where there's no point in my trying to convince you of relatively self-evident things.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            They aren't meaningless. They give you a location. They give you an idea of the state of things. They give you an antagonist. In less than twenty words. Without knowing anything else you can easily and reasonably assume Hans is a nazi based on those few words. That his people are occupying a place called France. And that occupying is bad.

          • WoodyTanaka

            Nonsense.
            “They give you a location.”

            And if you have no prior knowledge, “France” is as meaningless as “Planet Zorkon VII”

            “They give you an idea of the state of things.”

            No, they don't. They read: “Chapter One. Once upon a time… In Nazi-occupied France” “1941” Unless you know who the Nazis are, what France is, what the number “1941” signifies and why it's important, this is meaningless.

            “They give you an antagonist.”

            No they don't, unless you already know the Nazis are bad guys. Would it “give you an antagonist” if a film was set in “US-occupied Japan”??

            “Without knowing
            anything else you can easily and reasonably assume Hans is a nazi based
            on those few words.”

            No, you can't. If you didn't know that the SS was part of the Nazis, nothing would clue you in. Maybe Hans and the SS are French. After all, he speaks French. Oh, wait, we only know that he's speaking French because we have prior knowledge of what “French” sounds like.

            “That his people are occupying a place called France.”

            Again, unless we come in knowing that the SS are part of the Nazis, we don't.

            “And that occupying is bad.”

            How? The mere fact that there is an occupation isn't necessarily bad. Again, we know THIS occupation is bad because we come in with that knowledge..

          • Andrew Cybulska

            “And if you have no prior knowledge, “France” is as meaningless as “Planet Zorkon VII”"

            And that changes things how?

            “Unless you know who the Nazis are, what France is, what the number “1941” signifies and why it's important, this is meaningless.”

            Again, you don't need to know the historical context. When countries are occupied, it's generally considered a pretty bad thing.

            “No they don't, unless you already know the Nazis are bad guys. Would it “give you an antagonist” if a film was set in “US-occupied Japan”??”

            See last comment. If a film stated it was set in “US-occupied Japan” it's a pretty good assumption that it has something to say about the US's occupation OF Japan.

            “If you didn't know that the SS was part of the Nazis, nothing would clue you in.” Except for how the family reacts, the dialogue, the cinematic language, and the previous cue cards.

            “Oh, wait, we only know that he's speaking French because we have prior knowledge of what “French” sounds like.”

            Now you're just being facetious. Not to mention it doesn't take long before the acknowledge the languages they are speaking.

            “Again, unless we come in knowing that the SS are part of the Nazis, we don't.”

            See prior comments.

            “How? The mere fact that there is an occupation isn't necessarily bad. Again, we know THIS occupation is bad because we come in with that knowledge..”

            In what world is occupation good? Like I said, films work in a relative bubble. Not a complete bubble. Knowledge of the world around you obviously gives weight to what is happening on screen, but this is same reason why films like Star Wars that take place in a world completely outside of our own lives work, because they exist in this relative bubble.

          • WoodyTanaka

            This conversation is pointless and I've reached the conclusion that you simply are arguing in order to argue. I should have left it at “whatever.”

          • Andrew Cybulska

            I'm not arguing. I'm trying to point out that the entire idea behind cinema is creating a world.

            Basterds could've taken place on Planet Zorkon VII and still have worked. Having it take place in Nazi occupied Frace gives the story more weight and thematic resonance.

            The reason Son of God was given a poor review was because it didn't succeed in creating that world effectively. It seemingly panders to those who already are familiar with the basics. And it's absurd that people are trying to say “this review sucks” because the critic got some general biblical facts wrong, They (and you) are missing the entire point… The film should stand on its own. It's not “Son of God: The Compendium to The Bible.” It's “Son of God.”

            Do you seriously think Basterds ONLY works because it takes place during WWII?

            Hans could easily be a cat hunter, tasked by the doge regime to hunt down bundles of kitties.

            Brad Pitt and his crew could easily be on Planet X hunting down these evil Doge alien bastards.

            Do you see what I'm getting at? The story is the world. Our world is the weight, it's the gravity.

          • Cory

            ok, I'm sure you are way over this, but lets say it does take place on zarkon vii. Hans is now named snarkle. regardless of what organization he is with, you know, based on that convo he is a bad dude. yes, historical context is needed for the Nazi info, but the badness isn't dependant on being a Nazi. there can be compassionate Nazis in a movie. Hans is not one of them. Also, please give an example where Occupation was not bad…

          • Andrew Cybulska

            And again, more evidence in the text… “Thank you darling, now go inside and take care of your mother. Don't run.”

            You can say I'm wrong when I say “The reception and reaction of the sweet family are the beginnings of the context you need to understand something is rotten with this visitor.”

            But it's clear as crystal that all is not right with this visitor.

          • WoodyTanaka

            Or the family is subject to unmotivated unreasonable reactions. But we don't reach that conclusion because we go in knowing that Landa is a bad guy because he's a Nazi SS officer and we already know that they are bad news.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            You're not separating your knowledge of historical events from the language of cinema employed by Tarantino. Anyone can watch the film, without any knowledge of who the Nazis are, and get that Hans is not a good guy. If you could only get that by knowing who the SS are and who the Nazi's are, then he failed as a filmmaker.

  • Lynn

    To be fair to your readers, you should have started your review out with “Or so says this atheist”. You wasted my precious time.

  • skamu

    all jewish to blame? no, a few Jewish religious leaders to blame. don't deny history because you think someone will get the backlash.

  • True Patriot

    An American Prayer:
    Oh blond haired euro-centric jesus. Ye of high nordic cheekbones and six pack abs.
    We thank you for the 2nd amendment which you wrote in perfect AMERICAN English……just as you spoke it 2000 yrs ago.
    We rejoice in your many splendid works. We see your mighty hand in the pre-ordained outcome of super bowl games and music awards bestowed to only the most god-fearing of country singers.
    We thank thee for choosing sides and naming America your most favorite country. And thus we accept and even revel in the pestilence, hunger and suffering you have allowed in those godless areas like Asia with their ‘buddha’ and India with their satanic 6 armed monkey god. Let them suffer dear Lord, let them suffer for the vile sin of being born in the wrong place to the wrong parents.

    In the name of Nascar, Assault Rifles and trickle-down economics we pray,
    Amen.

    • Luke Jolly

      I guess tolerance is only one way huh?

  • David

    Count on The Wrap to pay an atheist to review a film about Christ. You certainly wouldn't want a reviewer who, say, knows the first thing about Christ. And the ADL approved it since it isn't anti-Semitic, despite suggestions to the contrary. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to visit Northern Europe. You know, Portugal.

  • Dave

    Any criticisms of this review by Christians are going to be ignored by the writer and his fellow atheists, because their intellectual superiority to Christians (as well as Jews, Muslims, and others, although, in the interest of political correctness, those faith groups typically are spared the atheist's acerbic pen) puts them so far above the rest of us that for them it's like adults talking to children. They can explain things to us, try to show us the way, and then sigh and shake their heads when we insist on doing things our own way, even though we may be respectful of their opinions. But if we really get out of line, then they will turn to their great allies, the courts, to put us in our place.

  • Let's get serious

    Let me begin by saying I saw the movie.

    It lumbered along and the statement that it was like scrapbook is spot on. I seemed like they, due to lack of content or something, relied exclusively on music to try to move the story along far too many times. Perhaps it was the scrapbook approach and the disjointed scenes, music became the tool they tried to use (too often and for to long) to connect things.

    If you want a quick snap shot of Biblical highlights, this might meet your needs (might). But if you really want a good story. This won't do it.

    Just my opinion….

    (PS: People walked out of the theater I was in. The movie was only about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Some where leaving half way through. There was a slight applause at the end but I think some people involved in production were at the theater as there were bursts of applause as the credits ran.)

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/bitenuker,53018/ Bitenuker

    Yo guys, let's all just group-watch Jesus Christ Superstar on Netflix and hug it out, ok?

  • CPA3

    As a Christian I am face palming my face into oblivion at the ‘Christian’ responses to this review. I saw a trailer and the film looks terribly cheesy. The story of Jesus is filled with depth and complex characters alongside the greatest message in human history and yet this looks like a single day school play with a big budget. The Gospel is weakend by cartoon character style representations of Biblical characters and focusing only on the physical pain of his death. Sorry to the reviewer for the backlash, review seemed good to me.

  • CPA3

    And often Atheists have some of the best views on Christianity and apparently Christian movie reviews

    • WoodyTanaka

      Well, you wouldn't know it from this one. This review simply demonstrates that Kang has no idea what he's talking about, so why would anyone give his review any credence?

      • Andrew Cybulska

        Because Kang is talking primarily about the movie. This isn't a Sunday school lesson. It's a critique of a a pretty poor film (keep an eye on Rotten Tomatoes as the reviews pile in and I'm sure you'll see that sentiment reflected there as well.)

        • WoodyTanaka

          Oh, I have no doubt that it's a bad film. I've no problem with that opinion, and based on the TV show it's taken from, I'm not surprised. What I'm saying is that if Kang is going to get basic facts wrong, especially about things that are outside of the film, it puts the value of his entire criticism into question.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            How does understanding (or not understanding) the minutiae of biblical history change the validity of the critique of the film? It's a bad film and the review has said as much. If there's a problem with Kang's lack of understanding of the context, that's on Son of God for not placing it's value of historical understanding at the forefront.

          • WoodyTanaka

            This isn't the minutiae of biblical history; this is basic cultural literacy. And if I haven't seen the film, I have nothing to go on in evaluating the critique except that which the author demonstrates. And when I see his laughable errors of basic, elementary-school level stuff, I have to question the validity of his review. Now that doesn't mean that his opinion on it being good or bad is wrong; he very well may be right that's it's a bad film. But in reading it, any reasonably intelligent reader can't discount the possibility that he doesn't like it because he doesn't understand what the movie is about and that someone who is not so ignorant would understand the points and themes of the film and rate it differently.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            Except films exist in a relative bubble. The film should deliver the context for the viewer, at least enough to understand the themes it's trying to tell. If someone needs to understand key biblical history outside of the films world, then the film itself has failed at bridging that gap between intention and final output.

            The film is what is given to you. No more no less.

          • WoodyTanaka

            Nonsense. Every movie assumes its audience has some basic cultural literacy and basic knowledge, and spends zero time setting up and explaining thing we already bring with us. Otherwise every political thriller would spend a half hour explaining who the President is and that the CIA is the spy agency.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            You're setting up a logical fallacy. You'll be hard pressed to find many people who don't know what a president is or what the CIA is but I think expecting people to know the history of Caiaphas, roman colonialism, and biblical history is asking a bit much.

            Despite that, having the knowledge of what a president is, what the CIA is, doesn't affect the world a vast majority of thrillers. I don't need to understand anything about British politics to get the idea that when they say “The prime minister is in trouble!”, if done well, cinematic language does the work of creating that context. Don't need to know what a prime minister does to understand the gravity if done well.

            Son of God apparently didn't do any of that well.

          • WoodyTanaka

            I'm setting up no logical fallacy. I'm simply arguing that filmmakers can and should assume that their audience has some basic knowledge. And if someone attains adulthood in the US without understanding the very basics of the Christian passion story, that person has a deficient education. I see nothing wrong with a filmmaker assuming his audience is not made up of the ill-educated.

          • Andrew Cybulska

            “That person has a deficient education.” Where in your US education did teachings of the passion happen? Certainly not in public schools… though if they did you might want to talk to the ACLU.

            That's a pretty broad and egotistical assumption that everyone has that education. Some people are muslim, some people are raised atheist, or hindu… Not everyone is familiar with the story of the passion.

            If the films goal is to only cater to christians who are familiar with that story, fine, but that's not good filmmaking, that's just pandering.

          • cory

            I think the film was made for beliebers, oops, believers, who already love the surfer dude. so Im fine with letting them have it. since as a conversion technique, I don't think there is a whole lot to worry about…

          • Texas mom

            I would assume that atheists won't be going to see this movie, seeing as how they don't believe in God, Jesus or anything else related to the Bible. So your argument is totally irrelevant. I saw the whole miniseries of The Bible, and whether you were raised under the teachings or the book or not, following this movie wouldn't be hard to do.

          • cory

            I gotta call you on this one man, I, and most people in America I'm sure are well aware the context of the story. the extended brutality of the torture stuff is still lost on me. It's not a question of understanding context, it's the validity of the acts, and whether or not it had anything to do with our sins that loses me.
            That a god would condemn us for sins of essentially ignorant children, for eternity, until he sent himself to earth, to save us, from his condemnation, by sacrificing himself to himself, is the leap that is too large for me to make, and what makes the story, context or not, leave me behind.

  • WoodyTanaka

    “Rather, it squarely lays the blame for Jesus’ death at Caiaphas’
    feet, thus reviving the pre-Vatican II stance that the Jewish people are
    responsible for condemning Christ to the cross. (Caiaphas gets the
    opportunity to offer Jesus amnesty, but opts to free a murderer
    instead.)”

    Kang, please go learn something before writing nonsense like this; you
    clearly are out of your element as you have no idea what you're talking
    about. Vatican II simply said that not all Jews for all time are responsible for Jesus's death. It said nothing about Caiaphas and the others who were responsible in the bible for Jesus's death, except to say, you know, that they were responsible. So blaming Caiaphas isn't “reviving” anything; it's simply following what is set out in the bible. You might want them to change 2,000 years of their religion, but I doubt that they're going to listen to some random atheist on that point.

  • Lulu Grandiron

    I'm confused. Wasn't “Man of Steel” about the son of God?

  • jackie

    First of all I think this lady needs to take a class on film-critiquing. Secondly it is apparent she belongs to the enemy camp and does not know anything about spiritual life but knows much about sensational journalism and stirring up controversies. Third, if the lady cannot stomach the so called “violence” in the movie, she needs to avoid watching such movies and watch cartoon movies for children instead. Age does not necessarily bring maturity. Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ was seen by almost every Christian family(including children) in India in churches even before the movie released in American theatres and everyone loved it. Basically in India, even children are well versed with the Lord Jesus’ life so the persecution shown does not come as a surprise to us. Come out of the bubble and live a real life lady.

  • Earlyorl

    Obviously the truth about Jesus in this movie fails to convert you. Too bad – for you.

  • Lisa Smith

    This reviewer is more concerned with mocking Jesus than in reviewing the movie. I was so repulsed by the anti-Christian tone that I didn't even finish reading it. Please hire someone more professional to write your reviews.

  • pinky

    All the producers have missed the point to make Jesus films. It was never mentioned that Jesus's here to stop animal killing….by teaching human how to “LOVE”. With Hes unconditional “LOVE”, Hes died for us.

  • Grumpy Viking

    This article was less movie review and more anti-Christian bigotry. Very disappointed in your poor writing Ikoo Kang. Shame on you The Wrap for publishing such vitriol and calling it a “review” – editors should be more professional. Doubtful that I will come here for movie reviews again or recommend the site to anyone.

  • Hannah

    Good review. (Or so says this Christian).

  • jonnybquick

    In other entertainment news, the editor just sent an old white guy into classical to review the weekend hip-hop concert. In a country w/a couple hundred million Christians this atheist is the best one to review this new movie? Brilliant move!

  • Deby Flores

    I knew from the moment I began reading this obvious atheist rant that you don't possess the professionalism required to review Son of God without tainting it with your personal hang-ups. I choose to read this article because I truly wanted to read an unbiased review, which you were not capable of providing. Maybe consider finding another career that would better suit your “so says this atheist” garbage.

  • Jo Laine

    I have been wondering for a long time who God's mother was, as we are made in his image and so he had to have had a mother. And Jesus and God are in heaven together, so we have 2 Gods to worship. Is Jesus a demi-God? BTW, Jesus would have had darker skin and black hair….look at Middle Easterners and you can see what his appearance would be.

  • Eva

    I am sadden by the harsh comments that have gone back and forth about the movie Son of God. Yes, it is simply a movie, but it means and represents different things to different people. We should respect that. There will be those who will watch it with no understanding (or interest) of God's purpose for all the events that are depicted in the movie and, likewise, there will be those who will have a complete knowledge and understanding. Has the spiritual battle between good and evil continues on this earth, Satan will draw many to disregard and criticize the story of Jesus’ life but also, God will use this movie (and the discussion about it) to His glory. I pray many will come to know the price our loving God paid so that we may ask Him to forgive us of our sins and come into our lives as our personal Savior. The reality is not what you think about the movie, it is what you believe about Jesus Christ.

  • swede53

    Like the mini series the acting is awful. The production quality is pretty good. That's what a review should focus on. It's rare that a movie does justice to the life of Jesus. This movie doesn't come close. Save your money and rent ‘Passion of the Christ’ or ‘King of Kings'.

  • Tim Delaney

    The reviewer knows nothing about the authenticity of the Bible Account.
    is it a great movie..no ..the word by word Matthew and John accounts are much better. The films fatal flaws are the “Catholic” moments added ( inaccuracies about birth of Jesus, villa de la Rosa stuff and more) most glaringly changing the story of Lazarus and painting the High Priest as a sympathetic character. ( The High priest and his family were essentially the Mafia of the day and Jesus threatened their money train). It was OK but The PASSION much more accurate….

  • stopkidding

    This movie will continue to get slammed because it does not promote the gay agenda, and it is not a vehicle that promotes blacks and hispanics, and what they view as disparities. Anything having to do with God, Jesus, or the Bible is constantly panned, slammed and dismissed, yet anything black or gay must automatically be promoted, lauded, accepted and acclaimed.

  • HCWIII

    Why in the he** would an atheist review a film about Jesus? Stick to reviewing Stephen King movies or how about Nymphomaniac?

  • thoughtful reader

    One of the fundamental problems the world continues to have, particularly when it comes to issues of religion, is that people find themselves unable to accept multiple truths. I read this entire conversation and found that most of it has to do with either pro or anti christian people ranting at each other to protect their camp's honour. If the christians in this audience could remove their understanding of the story of Jesus Christ, and review the film based on its narrative merit, I am sure the fact that the film is not that well made would become clear.
    This has nothing to do with the story not being worth learning about. And on that note I would like to mention that the church in the USA has broadcast a picture of Jesus that is so filled with iconography that I really doubt anyone would recognise Jesus if he showed up and said hello.
    There was also talk of a good American education containing the knowledge of the Passion of Christ. The fact is that the USA was founded in part on religious freedom. This does not equate to the freedom to choose your form of christianity, it means your freedom to choose a religion, be that to choose none at all. In fact the separation of church and state make it effectively impossible to gain a full understanding of any religion from within the US Educational system. That was sort of the point.
    Ok, enough about the issue of religion, education, or that Jesus was north in Hale County. I will return to the job of reviewing a film, and our responsibility as readers to read a review based on the context in which it was written.
    I think the review was a bit tainted, but generally well written and to the point. It called references to other films from the same genre and/or topic and also developed an opinion. That is what film critics are paid to do. This is not a religious forum, it i s a film review page. Take it as such.
    And to the christians who feel they need to protect Jesus Christ's honour at every juncture: please remember that the bible itself says that if no one praised god, then the rocks and the trees would stand up and do so. The story is strong enough on its own, as history has shown. Cholaric christians tend to detriment that more than help in the exact same way radical islamists detriment islam. Stay on topic and in context, please.