Dogma

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The Metatron: I am to charge you with a holy crusade.
Bethany Sloane: For the record, I work in an abortion clinic.
The Metatron: Noah was a drunk, and look what he accomplished--and no one's asking you to build an ark!

Kevin Smith decided to take The View Askewniverse into the realm of religion with Dogma. May God have mercy on our souls.

Late one night, abortion clinic employee Bethany receives a visit from The Metatron, the angel who acts as the voice of God ("Any documented occasion when some yahoo claims God has spoken to them, they're speaking to me"). The Metatron tasks Bethany with a holy mission: she must visit a Catholic church in New Jersey on a specific day to prevent disgraced angels Bartleby and Loki from taking advantage of a special absolution ceremony being held there. The ceremony would grant forgiveness to anyone for any sin, and because the Bible says God must hold true in Heaven what holds true on Earth, this ceremony would allow the angels to return to Heaven.

The angels' potential absolution presents a big problem: God had specifically barred them from ever returning to Heaven, so their dogmatic absolution would disprove God's infallibility -- and bring an end to all existence. Since God cannot directly interfere with the angels' plan, Bethany must do the job herself.

Jay and Silent Bob turn up as "prophets" sent to guide Bethany, and the trio later finds allies in disgruntled apostle Rufus and muse-turned-stripper Serendipity — but even with God's blessing on their side, the group's mission grows more difficult thanks to someone working behind the scenes to ensure the absolution of Bartleby and Loki…

Around the time of the film's release, Kevin Smith heard of a group of people planning to picket Dogma at a theater near his hometown, so he decided to go and help picket his own film. When he arrived, less than two dozen people had actually showed up for the "protest", including the reporter and camera crew for a local TV station who recognized him.


Dogma gives holy blessings to the following tropes:
  • Actor Allusion: In Dogma, Salma Hayek plays Serendipity, a muse from Heaven who works as a stripper on Earth. In From Dusk till Dawn, she plays a stripper from Hell.
    • Also, Loki and Bartleby are Mistaken for Gay on more than one occasion, which mirrored the then-prevalent rumors about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
    • Another one was written into the script, but orphaned by a cast change. The original actress chosen to play God was Holly Hunter. When she appears, Jay angrily asks "What the fuck is this, The Piano? Why ain't this bitch talking?" The actress for God was changed to Alanis Morissette, but the line stayed in.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: "I get it! 'Holey Bartender!' That's a great one!"
  • Ambiguously Gay: Jay.
    • Apparently Word of God has said that Jay is bisexual but closeted (he thinks), mainly for more room for jokes.
  • Apocalypse How: Class X-4, to Class Z threatened, depending on whether or not there's more than one universe, and if a God can be reborn.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "But you didn't say 'God bless you' when I sneezed ..."
    • Also, "What Jesus doesn't like is all the shit you people do in his name. Wars! Bigotry! Televangelism!"
  • Ascended Fanboy: Kevin Smith is a big fan of Alan Rickman's, which is why he wanted him to play Metatron. Rickman is a fan of Chasing Amy, which is why he wanted to work on Dogma. So, they're kind of fanboys of each other.
  • Asshole Victim: Definitely the executives of the corporation, except for one woman. The adulterer on the bus also seemed to be a Jerkass.
  • A-Team Firing: "COUNT THE SHELLS, SUCK-A-DUCK!" Granted, Jay actually did hit the target, but exclusively the parts of Bartleby's body that were detrimental to Jay's plan and beneficial to Bartleby.
  • Ax Crazy: Loki against the board of executives, Crossing the Line Twice. Also, Bartleby when he goes off the deep end.
  • Badass Normal: Silent Bob holds his own against demons, renegade angels and poop-monsters.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: In this clip, somewhere around 1:10 onwards, the Metatron demonstrates that this makes angels ill-equipped to rape.
  • Bluntman Gambit: Serendipity pretty much relies on Azrael giving Silent Bob a free shot.
  • Big Bad: Azrael, in a "The Man Behind the Man" sort of way.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jay and Silent Bob of all people get one of these.
  • Board to Death
  • Bond One-Liner: Loki after destroying the speakerphone in the Mooby boardroom scene.

Loki: All lines are currently down.

  • Brick Joke: When Bethany take Jay and Silent Bob to a diner to ask their help, Jay propositions her in response. Bethany turns him down, but Jay persists: "What if there's a bomb about to go off or something and we're all gonna die? Would you fuck me then?" Mostly to shut him up, she agrees. Flash forward all the way to the end of the movie, when Bartleby is close to un-making reality, and Jay drags Bethany behind some overturned equipment to make good on the deal.
    • Early in the movie, Rufus rants about the Bible being edited to say that Jesus was white, when he was, in fact, black. Then much later in the movie, Rufus reveals that Bethany is the great-great-great-etc.-grand niece of Jesus. Then, stoned out of his mind, Jay responds "Wait, does that make Bethany part black?"
      • And again at the end of the credits in the DVD. Jay: "So, Bethany... part black?"
  • Broken Angel
  • The Can Kicked Him: A gang member is killed by the Golgothan in a public restroom.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The whole premise revolves around a loophole in Christian Dogma.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The inability of humans to withstand hearing God's voice is revealed early on in the plot, but it turns out to be how God dispatches Bartleby at the film's climax.
    • Also, the blessed golf clubs.
      • The most important Gun in the film are the facts that God is missing, God loves skee ball, and there's an anonymous old man in a coma who got beaten up in the very first scene and happens to be in a hospital down the street from the church...
  • The Chessmaster: Metatron (and possibly God). Azrael is also one, despite being an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Catholic law is the main reason why the universe is in peril.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Jay is a master of this specific art.
  • Continuity Nod: Jay & Silent Bob have the tickets to Illinois in their pocket during their scene in Chasing Amy.
    • When talking to "Larry" and "Barry", Jay talks about trying to wreck the Dating Game stage in Mallrats.
    • In the end, Jay says they should go to Quick Stop.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: A whole boardroom's worth, less one.
  • Corrupt Church: Cardinal Glick.
  • Council of Angels
  • Crapsack World
  • Creator Cameo: Besides the obvious (Smith as Bob), producer Scott Mosier is the adulterer on the bus.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Loki is the name of the Norse god of mischief and muses come from Greek mythology.
  • Crowd Panic: After Bartleby breaks Officer McGee's neck.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:

Rufus: You [Jay] masturbate more than anyone else on the planet.
Jay: Shit, everyone knows that. Tell me something nobody knows.
Rufus: When you do it, you're thinking about guys.
Jay:: (Off Silent Bob's shocked stare) ... Dude, not all the time!

  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much the entire cast, but most notably Alan Rickman's Metatron.
  • Death Takes a Holiday: God frequently takes human form to play skeeball.
  • Defied Trope: Serendipity tries to goad Azrael into explaining his evil scheme to them, but he says, "Oh, no, you don't; I've seen enough James Bond movies to know that you never reveal all the details of your plan, no matter how close you think you are to winning."
  • Deus Ex Machina: At the end. Justified for the obvious reason.
  • Did You Just Flip Off God?: Loki did in a drunken Rage Quit and it got him and Bartleby banished from Heaven, kicking off the plot.
  • Divine Race Lift: God as a woman, Jesus (and Rufus) being black.
  • Dramatic Irony: The scene on the train where our heroes and the angels meet, yet don't realize who the other group is until well into the scene.
    • Another example is the (presumably) Christian folk protesting pulling the plug on the John Doe who turns out to be God herself. If only someone had told them that pulling that particular plug would save reality as we know it...
  • Drives Like Crazy: Jay burns out the transmission on the heroes' car going around 100 mph.

Bethany: What gear are you in?
Jay: GEAR?!?!
(cut to hood open, smoke pouring out) Jay: Well what do I know about shifting?

  • Dumbass Has a Point: It is Jay who recommends the idea of trying to get Glick to close the church. Even the Metatron is surprised. No one seems to notice that it's Silent Bob's idea.

Metatron: "Good lord, the little stoner has a point."

  • Dynamic Entry: Jay and Silent Bob during their Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • What, no love for Rufus falling from the sky?
      • Or for the Metatron? It's offscreen, but he actually trips over in Bethany's apartment - you can hear it on the soundtrack. That's before the whole BEHOLD THE METATRON, HERALD OF THE ALMIGHTY, VOICE OF THE ONE TRUE GOD thing.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: the events depicted are an attempt to show what is at stake when the consequence of a 'design flaw in Creation' (according to Catholic dogma) is exploited.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: In-universe example—Loki explains to a nun at the beginning that the Walrus and the Carpenter scene from Through the Looking Glass is a scathing attack on Christianity, which she finds so compelling that she abandons the cloth.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Various conversations between characters evoke this. Bartleby and Loki idly discussing the tiring nature of raining fire and brimstone at Sodom and Gomorrah whilst purchasing handguns and their later argument about Bartleby reminding Loki of Lucifer.
  • Famous Last Words

Azrael: "But... I'm a fucking demon..."

  • Fan Service: "Candy Girl! You Are my World!" Indeed.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Bartleby and Loki were forced to stay on Earth (Wisconsin, to be more precise) until the Rapture — and even then, they have to stay outside Heaven for all eternity.

Azrael: Have you ever been to Hell, human? I'd rather not exist than go back there.

    • This was fully explained in a deleted scene where it was revealed that Hell was originally "just" the absence of God; because humans believe that God would never forgive them for their sins and (subconsciously) beg to be punished, Hell gradually transformed into a "suffering pit" where horrible things happen—things so horrible, even the fallen angels can't stand the howling of the damned.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Parodied.

Bartleby: Here's what I don't get. You know for a fact that there is a God. You have stood in His presence, He has spoken to you personally -- and yet I just heard you claim to be an atheist.
Loki: I just love fucking with the clergy, man. I love it, I love it. Gotta keep those fuckers on their toes.

  • Funny Background Event: While Loki and Bartleby are on the moving sidewalk in the airport, the nun from Loki's earlier conversation is apparently drunk and running away with a big mug of beer.
  • Genre Savvy: Subverted in that Azrael is Genre Savvy enough not tell the heroes his plan before it completes, but not quite savvy enough to realize that he shouldn't brag about this before killing them all or allow someone to take a free swing at him.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Bethany and Bartleby have a heart to heart talk on religion, while Loki and Jay bond over smoking joints on the train, unaware the other is the people they are trying to track down.
  • God Is Inept: The plot is based on the existence of a design loophole in Creation and—by some cynical interpretations—poor judgment on God's part. On the other hand, the loophole is purely the fault of humans and their silly dogma.
  • Godly Sidestep: After the heroes save God, the day, and the universe, the main character asks to be told the meaning of life. God simply giggles and runs away.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: While God, Angels, and Demons apparently exist independently of Humans, they're definitely affected by the way Humans believe in them.
  • Gratuitous German: Ben Affleck apparently decided that German was the language of angels. When Bob is throwing him from the train, he yells "I'll get you, Schüler[1] Bob!", apparently assuming it meant "Silent." Or possibly because they sound somewhat alike and he thought Bartleby would have misheard Silent Bob's name or something.
  • Have You Seen My God?: The main plot driver (aside from the cardinal's driver).
  • Deadly Change-of-Heart: At the climax of the film, Loki has a change of heart and tries to stop Bartleby. Bartleby promptly and unrepentantly murders him.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Bethany, but she slowly regains her faith during the movie.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Glick's blessed golf club.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Bartleby and Loki, so very much subtext, which is mentioned and played with throughout the movie.

Bartleby: And quit leering at me. People are gonna think I just broke up with you.

The humans have besmirched everything bestowed on them. They were given Paradise, they threw it away. They were given this planet, they destroyed it. They were favored best among all His endeavors, and some of them don't even believe He exists. And in spite of it all, He's shown them infinite fucking patience at every turn. What about us? I asked you... once to lay down the sword because I felt sorry for them. What was the result? Our expulsion from Paradise. Where was His infinite fucking patience then? It's not right! It's not fair! We've paid our debt! Don't you think it's time? Don't you think its time we went home? And to do that, I think we have to dispatch of our would-be dispatchers. (...) Don't let your sympathies get the best of you. They did me once. Scion or not, she's still just a human, and by passing through that arch, our sins are forgiven. No harm, no foul.

Azrael: Oh no. I've seen way too many Bond movies to know that you never reveal all the details of your plan, no matter how close you may think you are to winning.

Jay: (to the sky) Beautiful, naked, big-titted bitches don't just fall out of the sky, you know! *Beat* *Shrug Take*

  • Nay Theist: Bethany, who by now has seen the Metatron and thus is pretty sure God exists:

Bethany: When some quiet little infection destroyed my uterus - where was God? When my husband decided he couldn't be with a wife that couldn't bear his children - where was God? ... To Hell with Him.

  • Neck Snap
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A deleted scene had Azrael describe that Hell was originally just Nothingness, they suffered by being completely removed from God's gaze until Humans made it worse by believing that they deserved to be punished for the smallest sins, which then turned Hell into an infernal suffering pit filled with the screams of the damned.

Azrael I'd rather not exist than go back to that.

    • Also when Jay shoots off Bartleby's wings; by destroying them, he had become human, and by crossing the arch as a human, he can be absolved from his sins, thereby bypassing God's judgment. He doesn't get to actually do it, though.
  • No More for Me: Toyed with. The characters, including Jay and Silent Bob get teleported by an angel from the middle of the woods to a fancy restaurant. Jay looks at the joint he had been smoking and says, "Damn, I think this shit just kicked in!" and continues puffing away.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever deeds the CEO of the corporation did; Bartleby claims "I cannot even mention them aloud".

Loki: You're his father, you sick fuck!

  • Not So Invincible After All: Azrael's talk of being "a fucking demon" meant nothing when Silent Bob smashed his chest (literally) with a blessed golf club.
  • Office Golf: The cardinal in New Jersey does this.
  • Oh Crap: Two of them. Azrael and Bartleby both discover their plans have Gone Horribly Wrong in the worst way.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Azrael.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Very much so.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Pretty much the opening minute of the film.
  • Pals with Jesus
  • Panty Shot: At one point, Bethany rolls out of bed wearing nothing but a shirt and panties.
    • Also you have Stripper!Salma Hayek dressed down to her skivvies.
  • Pet the Dog: Metatron comforts Bethany when she breaks down at whats being asked on her, that Christ reacted the very same way when Metatron told him of his own destiny and that he'd one day have to die to save the world. Metatron then softly tells her that he's never told anyone, but even he questioned God's decision, feeling it wasn't fair to deliver this cruel news to a poor, scared child.
  • Physical God
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Bartleby finally loses it close to the end.

Loki: I've heard a rant like this before.
Bartleby: What did you say?
Loki: I've heard a rant like this before.
Bartleby: Don't you fuckin' do that to me.
Loki: You sound like The Morning Star.
Bartleby: You shut your fucking mouth!!!
Loki: You do! You sound like Lucifer, man! You've fuckin' lost it!... You're not talking about going home, Bartleby, you're talking about fucking war on God! ... Well, fuck that! I have seen what happens to the proud when they take on the Throne! *Bartleby just stares at him with a quiet glare* I'm goin' back to Wisconsin.
Bartleby: (grabs Loki and pushes him to a wall) WE'RE GOING HOME, LOKI. And no one, not you, not EVEN THE ALMIGHTY HIMSELF...is going to make that otherwise.!!

  • Raised Catholic: At the beginning of the film, Bethany doesn't believe in God anymore and works at an abortion clinic, but still goes to Mass on every Sunday.
    • In a deleted scene she's the only one who pays attention to the clergy while everyone in Mass are either uninterested, indifferent, or apathetic. This follows Serendipity's discussion of how people treat religion as a burden.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Loki, and possibly Bartleby.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Well, that's a bit of a stretch using the term, but while Loki starts off as Red and Bartleby as Blue, their roles end up being reversed once they realize the implications of their quest.
  • Refusal of the Call: Bethany, initially, but of course the Call knows where she lives and attacks with demonic hockey players. Thankfully Jay and Silent Bob act as the Big Damn Heroes.
  • Retroactive Wish: "Beautiful, naked, big-titted women don't just fall outta the sky, y'know!"
  • Revive Kills Zombie: 'Air freshener defeats Golgathan' fits the pattern quite nicely.
  • Rollerblade Good: The Stygian Triplets
  • Rule of Sean Connery: Alan Rickman.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Mooby's mascot is a mix between the Golden Calf and Mickey Mouse.
    • The hoodies the angels wear under their suit jackets represent their halos.
  • Screaming Warrior: "SNOOTCH TO THE MOTHERFUCKIN' NOOOOOOOTCH!"
    • Doubles as Continuity Nod, as Jay complains to Holden in Chasing Amy that their Bluntman and Chronic alter egos use "baby talk" like "snootchie bootchies!"
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Loki and Bartleby have had enough of dwelling on Earth and want to go home, no matter the consequences for existence.
  • Shout-Out: The common Viewaskewverse shout outs to John Hughes films, here made simple and explicit by just talking about John Hughes film.
    • A fairly obscure one: The Golgothan's first line -- "Not born, shit into existence."—is taken verbatim from Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. It pertains to a very disgusting-looking Clayface in that, if you're wondering. The next line -- "No man of woman born"—is an odd shout out to Macbeth.
    • Silent Bob throws the angels off the train, then points and says "No ticket!".
    • Bartleby gives a shout out to the Incredible Hulk before he kills a police officer.

Bartleby: Mister McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

    • Immediately after Rufus falls to Earth, Jay speaks up standing over the body.

Jay: You think someone threw him out of a plane with a message written on him like in Con Air? Did you ever see that flick?

    • After God revives Bethany at the end:

Loki: "Our last four days on Earth; if I had a dick, I'd go get laid. But we can do that next best thing."
Bartleby: "What's that?"
Loki: "Kill people."
[cue Spit Take from lady in between them]
Loki: "Oh, not you."

  • The Voiceless: Silent Bob (subverted, of course) and God (who speaks through the Metatron because her own voice is fatal to humans).
  • Walking on Water: Metatron.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Metatron says to Jay "She can rebuild you, she has the technology."
    • The trope is subverted (supernatural not science), downplayed (God is mute, uses hands), exaggerated (God heals and impregnates Bethany), justified (last scion) and ultimately parodied.
  • Winged Humanoid: The angels have the traditional white, feathered wings...which they have to rip off in order to become human.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Azrael, who would rather not exist (and take the universe down with him) than stay in Hell any longer. Later, Bartleby becomes one as well, because of the unfairness of God loving humans more than angels.
  • The Wonka: God
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Salma Hayek as Serendipity. Yes.
  • You Need to Get Laid: People on both sides tell this to each other. When Bartleby goes really nuts at the end, Loki notes that it's just eons of repression being purged. "If only they'd let us jerk off..."
  • Your Head Asplode: This occurs if a living human hears God's true voice.

Metatron: Human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode inside your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that one out.

  1. "student"