Bethany Sloane: For the record, I work in an abortion clinic.
The Metatron: Noah was a drunk, look what he accomplished. And no one's asking you to build an ark. All you got to do is go to New Jersey, and visit a small church on a very important day.
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")note . 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:
- 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.
- 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 broad talking?" The actress for God was changed to Alanis Morissette, but the line stayed in.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Just to show how off Jay is.Jay: I get it! "Holey Bartender!" That's a great one!
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Loki and Bartleby's expulsion from Heaven resulted from them being dumb while drunk: while no longer taking vengeance out on mortals wasn't a bad idea, quitting by telling God off definitely was. This led to angels being forbidden from consuming alcohol.
- The Alcoholic: Metatron. Unfortunately for him, angels are forbidden from imbibing alcohol thanks to the Loki incident, and he's resorted to spitting out the drinks afterward just for the taste.The Metatron: ...so Loki, very inebriated, throws down his flaming sword, tells God he quits, and then gives Him ... the finger.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Invoked on behalf of numerous Biblical concepts; the characters in the film are quite different from how typical depictions go.
- God for example turns out to be One of Us; a big fan of skeeball.
- And God gives all his tickets and winnings to local children. What a deity!
- The Bible is interpreted in a decidedly un-Catholic way. (Specifically, no, indulgences do not work the way the movie says they do, but the Protestant interpretation of Matthew 6:19-21 explains how Dogma's indulgences work. This is lampshaded in the airport scene.)
- Of Hell, instead of being a place of damnation for horrible people, it is for people with huge Heroic Self-Deprecation that God can never forgive them so they opted to take eternal suffering for their guilt. Azrael says it became a place of eternal damnation because humans thought they deserved it. Before that, it was just a place where God had no presence, which sucked, but it wasn't torture.
- God for example turns out to be One of Us; a big fan of skeeball.
- Angels in Overcoats: The movie's nogoodnik angels Bartleby and and Loki (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) are decked out in wool overcoats, worn over hooded sweatshirts to symbolize their halos. Alan Rickman's creation-weary but non-evil Metatron also wears a hoodie, but under a shorter jacket. (Creator Kevin Smith identifies Wings of Desire's use of overcoat-as-angel-uniform as the inspiration for having his angels wear a unifying article — in this case, the hoodie. The overcoat look for Bartleby and Loki undoubtedly originates from the same source.)
- Angelic Transformation: The plot of the film centers around a pair of disgraced angels planning to reenter heaven by entering an arch that has been blessed by a clueless Cardinal to forgive all sins of any who walk through. In order for the blessing to work, they have to become human. Jay accidentally does this for them by shooting off their wings.
- Apocalypse How: Metaphysical annihilation on at least a universal scale, depending on whether or not there's more than one universe, and if a God can be reborn.
- Arm Cannon: The Golgothan briefly makes one to shoot out a poop projectile that splatters the bar in excrement.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
- Loki executes an entire boardroom full of executives for crimes of disowning and raping children, purposely giving elders improper care to save money but he saves the best for last.Loki: But you didn't say "God bless you" when I sneezed...
- Rufus also has a list like this when it comes to his pal Jesus.Rufus: What Jesus doesn't like is all the shit you people do in his name. Wars! Bigotry! Televangelism!
- Loki executes an entire boardroom full of executives for crimes of disowning and raping children, purposely giving elders improper care to save money but he saves the best for last.
- Artistic License: Automotive. You couldn't even start a standard shift car, let alone get out of a parking lot and onto the highway, without stepping on the clutch, and thus realizing it wasn't an automatic transmission.
- Artistic License Religion:
Rufus: Christ's only real beef with mankind is the shit that gets carried out in His name. Wars, bigotry, televangelism. The big one, though, is the fractioning of all of the religions. He said mankind got it all wrong by taking a good idea and building a belief structure on it.
- The concept of Plenary Indulgence is portrayed completely wrong. Multiple characters who should know better (angels and a cardinal) describe it as a clean slate, and the forgiveness and removal of all sins. It is not. Plenary Indulgence is the removal of the need for temporal punishments of sins that have already been forgiven. It does not remove nor wipe out a person's sins. One might argue that Bartleby and Loki failing to understand the concept properly is part of the joke. Also, Metatron calls himself a "seraphim" and reveals two wings. The singular of "seraphim" is "seraph," and they have six wings.
- Interestingly, a lot of the film's plot runs on the fact that Azrael, through Bartleby and Loki, is intentionally exploiting loopholes and using everyone's beliefs against them. The Cardinal is using the concept of Plenary Indulgences wrong, the whole "God is infallible" idea being proved incorrect has no basis in any official teachings, and half the stated rules and consequences happened (in-universe at least) centuries after the Bible began to be written. It's a humongous Batman Gambit running on nobody being 100% in the know about what was and wasn't possible, with the only omnipotent being in existence (God Him-/Herself) being stuck in a coma.
- The rite of purification to make holy water is a little more involved than making the sign of the cross over some water. Granted, Bethany has that whole divine descendant thing going for her, but still.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: On the train, Bartleby tells Loki that Bethany has just told him about being on a mission to stop a pair of angels.Loki: Do you think she means us?
Bartleby: No, two other fucking angels. Of course she means us!
- 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: Jay empties a clip from an Uzi at full auto at a target. 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.Jay: COUNT THE SHELLS, SUCK-A-DUCK!
- Award-Bait Song: "Still," written and performed by God herself.
- Ax-Crazy: Loki against the board of executives, Crossing the Line Twice. Also, Bartleby when he goes off the deep end.
- Babies Ever After: At the end, God conceives a child within Bethany in order to continue the Scion's line.
- Badass Longcoat: Seems to be standard attire for angels and demons, with angels (Metatron, Bartleby and Loki) getting black and white for Azrael.
- Badass Normal: Silent Bob holds his own against demons, renegade angels and poopmonsters.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: When he first appears to Bethany she thinks the Metatron is a rapist that broke into her apartment. He responds by dropping his trousers and showing her that angels have no genitals. Rickman even lampshades it, saying "he's as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll." Unfortunately, this bit was censored in many versions of the film, cutting out the part with Rickman in a flesh-colored codpiece. Some of Loki and Bartleby's dialogue, as well as the fact that Serendipity flashed Bethany to prove that she's a muse, imply that it holds true for all angels.
- Batman Gambit: Serendipity pretty much relies on Azrael giving Silent Bob a free shot.
- Berserk Button: Better not hit Jay if Silent Bob is around.
- Big Bad: The fallen muse Azrael is the one guiding Bartleby and Loki to disprove the infallibility of God, which threatens to destroy all existence, so he can escape hell.
- Big Damn Heroes: Jay and Silent Bob of all people get one of these.
- Big Good: John Doe Jersey, it was told that after his Skeeball game, he likes to give the prize tickets to the local kids.
- Big Guy Rodeo: Bethany rides on Bartleby's back during the train fight since she can't match his strength.
- Black Comedy:
- The boardroom scene, especially the ending.Loki: You didn't say "God bless you" when I sneezed. [raises gun as woman cowers]
Loki: [hesitates and lowers gun] ....you're getting off light!
- After the angels' massacre at the cathedral, the huge Catholicism Wow! banner has been torn so that it reads Catholicism- Ow!
- Also, Azrael's "holy/holey bartender" joke.
- The boardroom scene, especially the ending.
- Bling of War: Angels have shiny silver breastplates hidden under their street clothes.
- Board to Death: The board of the Mooby corporation is killed by Loki because he felt God would appreciate it. And if he didn't, no harm no foul thanks to their plan.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Averted and lampshaded by Azrael.Azrael: 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 think you are to winning.
- Brick Joke:
- When Bethany takes 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?"
- The best part? Not only does the (real-life) Bible never actually specify Jesus's ethnicity, but the facts that Judas had to single him out with that Kiss, that His family and friends are openly amazed at just how mundane a person he seemed (aside from the sinlessness and Miracles, of course) on several occasions, and the fact that he lived in the Middle-East mean that he was Arabic.He dies at the end, though.
- This isn't true. The Arabian Conquest didn't take place for several centuries after the events of the New Testament and whilst Arabs already resided in the sputhern Levant they were a minority population. In any case, Jesus is explicitly Jewish in the narrative.
- Broken Angel: Bartleby and Loki are fallen angels looking to get back into heaven. They eventually lose their wings to become humans, thus making them literally broken.
- Brown Note: The true voice of God, which explodes the head of any mortal which hears it. They went through five Adams before figuring that one out.Metatron: Anyone who isn't dead or from another plane of existence would do well to cover their ears... right about now.
- Brown Note Being: God, whose true voice caused deaths near end of the movie.
- Call-Back: "No harm; no foul." First used by Loki to justify going after sinners in an attempt to resume his job - either God will be happy that he's fulfilling his purpose again, or the indulgence from passing through the arch will absolve him if God isn't. Used in a much darker sense later by Bartleby, who cites it as justification as to why he and Loki should kill the Last Scion and continue on their plan.
- The Can Kicked Him: A gang member is killed by the Golgothan in a public restroom.
- Casting Gag: George Carlin (who had several stand-up routines about being Raised Catholic and subsequently lapsing) as a Cardinal.
- Celestial Bureaucracy: The whole premise revolves around a loophole in Catholic Dogma.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The inability of humans to withstand hearing God's voice is revealed early on in the plot. It turns out to be how God dispatches Bartleby at the film's climax.
- In the ending, Cardinal Glick's blessed golf clubs are used against Azrael.Serendipity: You hit a demon with an instrument of God, the pure side's always going to do the most damage.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Catholic law is the main reason why the universe is in peril.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Cardinal Glick is "the kind of asshole who would bless his own clubs for a better golf game." Azrael found that out the hard way.
- Cloudcuckoolander: God, played by Alanis Morissette, is revealed to be a young and very quirky female.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Jay is a master of this specific art; one standout example is his Daffy-Duck-working-blue rant at the end, delivered in front of God Herself no less.
- Continuity Nod:
- Jay & Silent Bob have the tickets to Illinois in their pocket during their scene in Chasing Amy.
- When Bethany tells Jay and Silent Bob that she didn't take them out for sex, Jay says he's okay with head.
- When talking to "Larry" and "Barry", Jay talks about trying to wreck the Dating Game stage in Mallrats. Another reference to that film is one of the news vans at the church has "KREL 6 News" on it; they were the station that produced Truth or Date (or at least broadcast it).
- In the end, Jay says they should go to the Quick Stop.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive:
- The whole Mooby boardroom, minus the woman, are involved in various disturbing activities. Surprisingly, only a few are actually indicated to be corrupt in the actual corporate sense. The others are just perverts, pedophiles, or generally terrible people.
- While the CEO has done something so terrible, the audience never even learns what it was, all that is said:Loki: You're his father, you sick fuck!
- Corrupt Church: Cardinal Glick isn't seen doing much that is corrupt but is certainly more interested in branding the Catholic church in New Jersey to raise revenues and his own golf game than he is about the consequences of his actions. His blessed golf clubs become important later.
- Cosmic Flaw: Reality as we know it hinges on God being infallible. In short, you can't prove God wrong because doing so would end the world. Which becomes a driving force in the plot when fallen angels plan to use a loophole in Catholic dogma to overturn their banishment.Metatron: If they get in, they will have reversed God's decree. Now, listen closely, because this bit's very important. Existence, in all its form and splendor, functions solely on one principle: God is infallible. To prove Him wrong would undo reality and everything that is. Up would become down, black would become white, existence would become nothingness. In essence, if they're allowed to enter that church, they'll unmake the world.
- Creator Cameo: Besides the obvious (Smith as Bob), producer Scott Mosier is the adulterer on the bus.
- Crisis of Faith: One interpretation of Bethany's Raised Catholic status. She goes to church and prays and otherwise mechanically goes through the motions of her faith without any actual faith behind it, with her jadedness helped not at all by her working in an abortion clinic. So naturally, she is rather surprised when an angel appears before her with a Mission from God well, not quite.
- Crossover Cosmology: Loki is the name of the Norse god of mischief and muses come from Greek mythology.
- Crowd Panic: The watching crowd panics and bolts after Bartleby breaks Officer McGee's neck.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Jay gets more than he bargains for when he tries to get Rufus to prove that he can see into Jay's mind.Rufus: You masturbate more than anyone 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!
- Loki near the ending laments the lack of ability for angels to jerk off.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much the entire cast, but most notably the Metatron and Liz. Type-casting anyone?
- Deal with the Devil: Conversed Trope Serendipity tells Bethany someone did this to get the grosses up on Home Alone.
- Death Glare: Silent Bob deploys this frequently, usually on Jay. Given Jay's cluelessness, it has no effect on him most of the time.
- Death Takes a Holiday:
- God frequently takes human form to play skeeball.
- Also, Bartleby says that no one has taken over Loki's job as Angel of Death. While this doesn't mean no one can die, it does mean God will no longer smite those who anger Him.
- Deus ex Machina: When the heroes need a break, God literally comes back, fixes everything and cleans up all of the messes.
- Dictionary Opening: The film opens with "Disclaimer: 1) a renunciation of any claim to or connection with; 2) disavowal; 3) a statement made to save one's own ass."
- Didn't See That Coming: Among Azrael's shortcomings is that he never predicted that Jay and Silent Bob would have stolen a golf club that was blessed by Glick, which would make it a perfect weapon to use against Azrael. The Oh, Crap! face that he has after Bob's blow with it blows a hole right through his chest shows that he still can't grasp it.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Jay and Bob make their entrance by beating up three demons, for crying out loud. Badass Normal indeed.
- Dirty Coward: Azrael is considered this for not taking part in the conflict between God and Lucifer because he was a Muse despite other Muses fighting, causing him to be cast from Heaven along with the actual traitors. Even Jay is disgusted by the reveal.
- Dissonant Serenity: Bartlebys response to Loki slaughtering the Mooby the Golden Calf executives is to sit in the corner and read a comic.
- Divine Race Lift: God as a woman, Jesus (and Rufus) being black. Since it's God in disguise, that's pretty much adding more to the niceness.
- 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 100mph.Bethany: What gear are you in?
[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. Since Jay and Silent Bob are along for the ride specifically as "prophets", this was probably intentional.Metatron: Good lord, the little stoner has a point.
- Dynamic Entry: Jay and Silent Bob jump in out of nowhere during their Big Damn Heroes moment.
- The End of the World as We Know It: The total cessation of existence that would occur if Bartelby and Loki complete their plan.
- Enfant Terrible: The Stygian Triplets. In the original script, Rufus explained that they're three teenagers who, while alive, beat a toddler to death. The actors who played them were only fifteen or sixteen at the time the film was made.
- Eureka Moment: While Silent Bob, Rufus and Serendipity tackle Bartleby, Jay drags Bethany away, wanting to have sex with her before all reality is undone. Bethany is disgusted at this and Jay complains that "either we can lay comatose like that 'John Doe Jersey' guy over there or we can get making with the love." Thanks to Jay, she realizes that 'John Doe Jersey' is God once he confirms that the nearby boardwalk has skeeball.
- 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. Subverted, though, when it turns out that Loki doesn't really believe his little explanation. He's just screwing with her for kicks. He also says it's a scathing attack on Buddhism and Hinduism, and by relation, the very concept of religion.
- Everyone Knew Already: Rufus knows a lot about the main characters due to being able to watch them from Heaven. One of the things he knows is that Jay masturbates more than anyone on the planet...which everyone knows, according to Jay.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Implied by Azrael that Lucifer doesn't like the loophole plan, because it makes him look bad.
- 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.
- Face Palm: Bethany's reaction to Rufus trying and completely failing to terrify Cardinal Glick into acquiescing to his request to close the church.
- Famous Last Words: Azrael still has something to say while dying.Azrael: But... I'm a fucking demon...
- Fanservice: Serendipity has a very compelling striptease scene. Compelling in-universe, too, as she uses this to bilk all of the viewers to give her huge tips.
- Fate Worse than Death: Bartleby and Loki were forced to stay on Earth (Wisconsin, to be more precise) until the Rapture—and then, they have to stay outside Heaven for all eternity. 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.Azrael: Human, have you ever been to Hell? I think not. I'd rather not exist than go back to that.
- Faux Symbolism: Invoked and Played for Laughs, the angels' see religious parallels throughout popular culture, but it's at least partially them just screwing with humanity. Take Loki's "interpretation" of "The Walrus and the Carpenter" from Through the Looking-Glass:Nun: Let me get this straight: you don't believe in God because of Alice in Wonderland?
Loki: No, "Through the Looking-Glass". That poem, "The Walrus and the Carpenter," that's an indictment of organized religion. The walrus, with his girth and his good nature, he obviously represents either Buddha, or, or with his tusks, the Hindu elephant god, Lord Ganesha. That takes care of your Eastern religions. Now the carpenter, which is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ, who was raised a carpenter's son, he represents the Western religions. Now in the poem, what do they do? What do they do? They, they dupe all these oysters into following them and then proceed to shuck and devour the helpless creatures en masse. I don't know what that says to you, but to me it says that following: these faiths based on mythological figures ensures the destruction of one's inner being. Organized religion destroys who we are by inhibiting our actions, by inhibiting our decisions out of, out of fear of some, some intangible parent figure who, who shakes a finger at us from thousands of years ago and says, and says, "Do it... do it and I'll fuckin' spank you."
- Flat-Earth Atheist: Parodied.Bartleby: Y'know, were's what I don't get about you. You know for a fact that there is a God. You've been in His presence, He's spoken to you personally— yet I just heard you claim to be an atheist.
Loki: I just like to fuck with the clergy, man. I just love it, I love to keep those guys on their toes.
- Foreshadowing: In the airport at the beginning of the film, Loki and Bartleby are introduced with their subtitled names on screen; later on, the demon Azrael gets the same intro. The only other character who gets a subtitle intro is Bethany, who seems to be an ordinary human, but turns out to be the Last Scion; another supernatural being.
- 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: Azrael — as a muse, he'd know his tropes. He turns out just smart enough to 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.Serendipity: How? That's the only thing I couldn't figure out.
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.
- 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; each unaware that the other is one of the people they're trying to track down.
- God Is Good: God loves their creation and comes in to save existence at the last second.
- God Is Inept: Played With. The plot is based on a contradiction between God's actual laws of Creation and what the Catholic Church say the laws are.Bethany: What the FUCK kind of deity gets kidnapped?!
- Godly Sidestep: After the heroes save God, the day, and the universe, the main character asks to be told the meaning of life. But since God can't speak without somebody's head exploding, She simply giggles, honks Bethany's nose 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.
- Gory Discretion Shot: When Loki slaughters the Mooby executives, there's a shot of some blood spatter on the door handle.
- Gratuitous German: When Bob is throwing Loki from the train, he yells "I'll get you, Schülernote Bob!".
- Greater-Scope Villain: Lucifer is busy ruling Hell during the events of the film, and is of course mentioned as having led a rebellion in Heaven; but he isn't behind this plot, as Bartleby and Loki's plan would wipe him out of existence too, so when Rufus brings him up Metatron dismisses him as a candidate. Azrael was actually the Big Bad, and even after he's defeated Lucifer's still down there.
- Guns Do Not Work That Way: Loki's single-action Desert Eagle somehow manages to fire without having the hammer cocked. The behind-the-scenes reason for this is that the gun is a non-functioning prop. Also, all the shooting happens offscreen, so it never has to actually work.
- Hand Cannon: Loki uses a nickel-plated Desert Eagle pistol for the first half of the film.
- Have You Seen My God?: The main plot driver (aside from the cardinal's driver).
- HeelFace Door-Slam: At the climax of the film, Loki has a change of heart and tries to stop Bartleby. Bartleby promptly and unrepentantly murders him. Before this, Bartleby lampshades Loki's change of heart by explaining since his wings were cut off and he became human, he now has a conscience.
- Heel Realization:
- Loki has this with the simultaneous realizations that what they're trying to do would cause a Reality-Breaking Paradox if successful and Bartleby's acting like Lucifer did right before he rebelled against God. Bartleby responds by Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and bullying Loki into staying the course.
- Bartleby breaks down in tears when he comes face to face with God for the first time in thousands of years, apologizing for what he's done and thanking God for killing him, putting him out of his misery.
- Heroic BSoD: Bethany eventually cracks under the sheer burden she's been put under, though is persuaded to resume her mission.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Invoked and lampshaded: "I'm Jay, and this is my hetero lifemate, Silent Bob." Bartleby and Loki would count, except that neither of them have dicks, making them asexual life partners.
- Holiday Pardon: The plot revolves around a special absolution ceremony happening in a Catholic (at least the film's version of it) cathedral in Redbank, New Jersey. Two Fallen Angels set off on a journey to exploit this because 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. However, 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. The protagonist is given the call to prevent this from happening.
- Holy Burns Evil: The triplets are killed when Bethany blesses the sink at the bar and their heads are dunked in, while Glick's blessed golf club does in Azazel.
- Holy Water: Bethany has the power to consecrate things, and during the fight with Azrael and his minions blesses some nearby sinks, causing them to give out holy water.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Silent Bob is highly capable and right most of the time in comparison to frontman Jay who makes a lot of big mistakes but still has the occasional insight.
- "I Am" Song: The end credits song "Still" by Alanis Morrisette is about God seeing Herself manifest in all human virtues and vices.
- I Have No Son!: Bartleby mentions that one of the Mooby the Golden Calf executives disowned his son for being gay.
- I Know Madden Kombat: The Hockey Demons - their style of attack appears more or less to be that of a hockey goon.
- I Resemble That Remark!: When Loki accuses Bartleby of being anal-retentive (i.e, pedantic), Bartleby's response is "you can't be anal-retentive if you don't have an anus".
- Ironic Echo: After Silent Bob offs Azrael with Cardinal Glick's stolen (blessed) driver:Serendipity: He said it himself; [in Azrael's voice] "I'm a fucking demon."
- Insistent Terminology: Rufus corrects Jay's characterization of him as "undead" by saying "not the undead, the dead."
- In the Back: The long-haired Stygian triplet kills a woman by stabbing her in the back with a hockey stick.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Metatron. When he first talks to Bethany, he's rather rude and snarky, and refuses to give her questions any straightforward answers. Later, though, it's revealed that he has nothing but sympathy for her.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Bartleby and Loki's quest is ultimately using a loophole to take advantage of the very same forgiveness and patience God already bestows openly on humans that is denied to angels. Bethany even commends the two on finding the work-around to spit in God's eye ... only to be forced to stop them since said loophole would end the universe.
- Jesus: The Early Years: The Metatron told Jesus who He was at the age of 12; the gap is the result of one enormous Heroic BSoD as He tries to come to terms with that fact.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Bartleby absolutely flips after he finds out about what will happen if his quest for absolution is complete.Bartleby: 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 it's time we went home? And to do that, I think we have to dispatch 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.
- Just Between You and Me: Defied and lampshaded, when the Big Bad begins talking about his plan, he only reveals the details of what they already know about, he pointedly doesn't give them any hints about what he did to incapacitate God.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.
- Kick the Dog: Bartleby massacring dozens of innocents at the church to draw the police, followed by telling Bethany that, unlike him, she doesn't know the man that abandoned her is perfectly happy without her—and by the way, he is. Plus, when he ran out of people to kill from the congregation, he started picking up random folk off the road and dropping them to their deaths.
- King of All Cosmos: God is best expressed as a wide-eyed, giggling, beautiful young woman, played by Alanis Morissette. Alternately, as a cheerful, fat old man who likes playing skeeball.
- Late to the Punchline: Jay's reaction to Azrael's "Holey Bartender" routine, a good minute or two after the fact (combined with Dude, Not Funny! looks from his companions, as said joke was a Bond One-Liner towards an innocent victim).
- Like an Old Married Couple:
Loki: All lines... are currently down.
- Very clear between Bartleby and Loki in the boardroom scene, in which the former is visibly both annoyed and confounded by the latter's tendency to drop slightly ridiculous one-liners.
Bartleby: Okay, I'm gonna have to—
Loki: Would you just knock it off!
Bartleby: Hey, you're doing it again, now stop—
Bartleby: —what did we talk about?
- There is a bizarre subtext between God and Metatron that implies this, despite Her being The Voiceless. Particularly the look that crosses God's face when Metatron complains about Her voice causing him to be covered in Ludicrous Gibs again, making him spit-polish it off with Her dress for a moment, before realising what he's done.
- Literal-Minded: Silent Bob knocking out the Golgothan with a spray. "Knocks strong odors out!" Could also be interpreted as Exact Words.
- Manipulative Bastard: Azrael leaks hints to Bartleby to give him the inspiration he needs to seek the indulgence. He also aids the two of them along the way. He does this without telling them that this will end existence if they succeed.
- Marijuana Is LSD: After being teleported from the woods to a ritzy hotel, Jay tells Silent Bob that the weed has kicked in. Strangely enough, this trope is also subverted from an earlier scene where Loki gets high with Jay and Silent Bob but he exhibits normal symptoms, that being confusion and slow thinking.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Bartleby says all Loki did at Sodom and Gomorrah was light a few fires. Loki's defense of his work at the famous disaster is decidedly more supernatural in response.Loki: I rained down sulfur, man. There's a subtle difference.
- The Meaning of Life: Bethany asks the question when she meets God at the end. God responds by tweaking her nose. This can be interpreted as either a polite snub or an answer to the effect that the point of life is to be silly and enjoy yourself. Bear in mind that God's voice would cause any mortal's head to explode, so there's a limited range of responses in this case.
- Mistaken for Gay: Bartleby and Loki, who appear to be a random gay couple who met in the military to Bethany when they first run into each other.
- Molotov Cocktail: Serendipity starts to make one when they are being attacked by the Golgothan.
- Must Make Amends: Loki leading to his Redemption Equals Death moment.
- Nailed to the Wagon: As a consequence of Loki mouthing off to God when the former was blind stinking drunk, angels are not allowed to drink alcohol (even if in exile, like Loki and Bartleby). Metatron gets around it by spitting it out after tasting it, and Bartleby fakes drinking it when with Bethany on the train. The rule seems to apply to any substances that impair judgment; watch Loki closely during the scene where he shares a joint with Jay and Silent Bob, and it's clear that he isn't actually smoking it at all, simply making a show of doing so by copying Jay's actions.
- Naked on Arrival: Rufus' entrance based on Jay's jab of "guys like us just don't fall out of the fucking sky, you know."Jay: [to the sky] Beautiful, naked, big-titted women just don't 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: The unlucky security guard who gets his head torqued 180 degrees by Bartleby. With one hand.
- Neutrality Backlash: Azrael stayed neutral during the war in Heaven, but was lumped in along Lucifer's side afterwards.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- Bethany has a drunken conversation with a stranger on a train, via which said stranger, Bartleby, learns that she is the Last Scion and is on a mission to stop him from completing his quest- potentially by killing him. The revelation that Bethany has been set to oppose him pushes Bartleby over the edge, and he eventually stages a violent rampage.
- 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 Biological Sex: God. Most characters say "He" (including Bartleby and Loki's Jumping Off the Slippery Slope argument), but Serendipity insists on "She", and Bethany follows suit. At the climax, God chooses to look like Alanis Morissette. Also applies to all divine beings, as Metatron explictly shows with Barbie Doll Anatomy (Bartleby, Loki, and Serendipity all imply that they too qualify).
- No Dead Body Poops: The aversion of this trope is the reason why the Golgothan exists, as he's made up of the accumulated excrement of any criminal who was crucified on Golgotha.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Stygian Triplets are introduced ambushing and beating an old man with their hockey sticks.
- 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.
- Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Jay's rather disturbing line when he wakes up on the train. This is the drug-induced version of the trope.Jay: I swear I didn't come on you, Pete...
- 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.
- The Nothing After Death: Hell was cold and solitude before humanity started showing up, their collective corruption turning it into Fire and Brimstone Hell.
- Office Golf: Cardinal Glick does this which foreshadows that he blesses his golf clubs.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Azrael absolutely cannot believe that Silent Bob was actually able to kill him when given a free shot.
- Loki has the biggest one in the movie when he realizes that Bartleby hasn't just decided to say Screw Destiny, but has actually become a Fallen Angel and is planning to declare war on God.
- God himself does one when he is attacked on the boardwalk and finds himself face to face with the Stygian Triplets, who proceed to beat him into a coma.
- Omnicidal Maniac:
- Azrael. He'd rather see all of existence snuffed out then have to return to Hell.
- Bartleby by the end. His original goal of returning home becomes secondary to making all of humanity suffer.
- Overt Operative: The Golgothan is supposed to be Hell's top assassin. Since he's a giant walking pile of excrement that inevitably carries a horrible smell wherever he goes, he's not exactly inconspicuous.
- Pass the Popcorn: When Loki talks a nun into becoming an Atheist (using an analysis of Alice in Wonderland, of all things) Bartleby watches with box of popcorn in hand, very obviously amused.
- Pet the Dog:
- Metatron comforts Bethany when she breaks down over what's being asked of 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, and admitting that he regrets not being able to take away Christ's destiny and give him a normal life.
- Bartleby's sole non-jerkass moment in the film is stopping Loki from gunning down the woman in the boardroom whose only fault was not saying "God bless you" after Loki sneezed.
- Place Worse Than Death: Loki and Bartleby were banished to the one place worse than Hell: Wisconsin.
- Physical God: God shows up in person in a couple of different forms.
- Post-Kiss Catatonia: In the middle of a rant over what's just happened, Jay receives a kiss on the cheek from God and passes out.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Loki gives a ham fisted one before blowing away a lobby full of evil corporate executives.Loki: But I do believe in this.
Bartleby: [incredulous while sitting outside the room] "I do believe in this"? What does that mean?
- Psychopathic Manchild: Azrael, whose plan is one big Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum because of a "disagreement" with God. Serendipity even calls him a child.Azrael: I'd rather not exist than go back to that. And if I have to drag everyone else down with me, SO BE IT!
Serendipity: Still thinking only about yourself, you fucking child!
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Loki does this during his dressing down of the Mooby director's board.Loki: ...flew to Thailand on the company account to have sex with an eleven. Year. Old. BOY!
- Puzzling Platypus: The opening disclaimer tries establishing that God has a sense of humor by citing the existence of the platypus. They then go on to place a disclaimer that they in no way possess any ill-intentions or harsh opinions towards platypuses (even though they call them "stupid creatures" in the apology) and platypus enthusiasts.
- Rage Against the Heavens:
- Bartleby finally loses it close to the end.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!!
- Bethany has a much quieter and more subdued one that borders on Tear Jerker territory: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.
- Bartleby finally loses it close to the end.
- 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 (and apparently keep taking the clergy's parking space). This follows Serendipity's discussion of how people treat religion as a burden.
- Reality-Breaking Paradox: Azrael's whole plan hinges on this occurring if Loki and Bartleby manage to receive plenary indulgence (which would, in theory, prove God wrong; since one of the underpinnings of reality is that God is supposed to be infallible, reality would collapse).
- Reality Is Unrealistic: In-Universe - Jay is disappointed that the town of Shermer, Illinois only exists in John Hughes movies.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:Serendipity: Elvis was an artist. But that didn't stop him from joining the service in time of war. And that's why he's The King, and you're a schmuck.
- Redemption Equals Death:
- Loki finally stands up to Bartleby and gets stabbed for his trouble.
- Hinted at for Bartleby, who breaks down in tears and tells God he's sorry before he dies.
- 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 refuses to do what the Metatron asks of her, but The Call Knows Where You Live and attacks her with demonic hockey players. Thankfully Jay and Silent Bob act as the Big Damn Heroes.
- Resurrection Teleportation: Because God was in a human body, she was able to be knocked into a coma. Because she was in a coma, she had to be killed to return to Heaven and come back to Earth to stop Bartleby and Loki.
- Retroactive Wish: Jay gets a little too hopeful when Rufus falls from the sky after saying that men don't just fall from the sky.Jay: Beautiful, naked, big titted women don't just fall outta the sky, y'know!
- 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.
- Sanity Slippage: For most of the movie, Bartleby is Loki's reasonable, levelheaded straight man, often shaking his head in exasperation at his more impulsive and violent partner's detrimental antics. Once Bartleby snaps, his change in attitude terrifies Loki into quiet submission.
- Screaming Warrior: Jay enters a fight with his usual subtlety.Jay: SNOOTCH TO THE MOTHERFUCKIN' NOOOOOOOTCH!
- Self-Inflicted Hell: A deleted scene had Azrael describe that Hell was originally just "Nothingness", with its inhabitants completely removed from God's gaze "punishment enough" for anyone who'd actually been in His presence. 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.
- The common View Askewniverse shout outs to John Hughes films, here made simple and explicit by just talking about a John Hughes film.
- The origins of the Mooby franchise, as related by Loki, include allusions to Mickey Mouse (the bi-coastal theme parks), McDonald's (the fast food restaurants), Barney And Friends (created by a school teacher) and various doll lines for little girls like Barbie and My Little Pony (whose creators are mostly known only to fans of the respective franchises).
- 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 and explains his actions to a concerned couple who witnessed the event.Silent Bob: 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:
- A poster for Darkstalkers 3 can be seen.
- Shown Their Work: That throwaway line about the five Adams is a legitimate piece of Kabbalistic lore.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: God gives Jay one on his cheek to calm him down after he gets fed up with the proceedings and goes ballistic.
- Sibling Rivalry: Azrael and Serendipity, technically. Serendipity berates him for refusing to pick a side in the war between God and Lucifer, believes Azrael deserved his banishment to Hell, and hates his "life isn't fair" speech.
- Smug Snake:
- Azrael is completely convinced of his invincibility.
- Glick is very dismissive of the heroes when they plead to interfere in the villain's plan and is more concerned with his golf game.
- So Was X: Metatron tells Bethany she doesn't have to be perfect to perform her quest. The same went for Noah.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Jay, discussing women's rights.Jay: What a woman does with her body is her own fuckin' business!
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The cheery "Mooby the Golden Calf" theme plays while Loki slaughters the executives.
- Stating the Simple Solution: When brainstorming on how to stop Loki's plan, Silent Bob's (as relayed by Jay) is to just convince Cardinal Glick to not go through the ceremony that would grant plenary indulgence to whoever passes through the church doors. Metatron even notes that "the little stoner's got a point" and they go with the plan. It doesn't work, but it at least was sensible.
- Stealth Pun: The Stygian Triplets first appear on roller blades, carrying hockey sticks, in New Jersey. They're the New Jersey Devils.
- The Stoner: Jay and Silent Bob smoke during the movie and are implied to be stoned on several occasions.
- Stopped Reading Too Soon: Loki demonstrates his impatience when Bartleby is introducing his plan.Loki: "Cardinal Glick cuts ribbon on Catholicism, Wow! campaign." And?
Bartleby: [sighing] You have to keep reading.
- Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum:
- Azrael is willing to condemn the entire universe to non-existence in order to escape Hell. Serendipity lampshades that this is incredibly selfish and childish of him.
- Bartleby decides to declare war on God in hopes of ensuring his return to Heaven.
- Suicide by Cop: Bartleby's plan once he passes through the arches, since actual suicide is a sin and he knows he has to die with a pure soul.
- Symbolic Baptism: Bethany, upon learning that she is the descendant of Jesus Christ, takes off in a blind panic, falling into a creek and flailing helplessly in the water as she screams impotently at the heavens for putting this burden on her. Cue the Metatron to talk her through it.
- Take That!:
- Serendipity the Muse is adamant that she had nothing to do with Home Alone. She claims that someone involved with that film made a Deal with the Devil in order to get the grosses up (and who wrote it? John Hughes again!).
- Wisconsin: Worse than Hell.
- In a deleted scene, Bartleby asks Azrael how bad Hell is. Azrael answers "They have been showing Mrs. Doubtfire continuously for five years." Kevin Smith sure has it in for Chris Columbus.
- Tempting Fate: Officer McGee when he tries to stand up to Bartleby.Bartleby: Mr. McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
McGee: Is that so?
Bartleby: [grabs McGee's forehead and performs a one-handed Neck Snap]
- That Was Not a Dream: Bethany wakes up as if from a dream after her first conversation with the Metatron in the Mexican restaurant... then finds the maracas the Metatron had under her pillow.
- Those Two Guys: Jay and Silent Bob in spite of their conflicting personalities are still peas in a pod and chum about throughout the movie.
- Toxic Friend Influence: At first Loki is looking forward to killing with Bartleby along for the ride. Bartleby eventually turns the tables and drags Loki toward the dark side.
- Translator Buddy:
- The Metatron translates for God since mortal beings can't withstand the power of God's voice.
- Jay will often speak for the mostly silent Silent Bob.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Loki is pretty cavalier about revealing his plans in public.Loki: Last four days on Earth? Mmm! If I had a dick, I'd go get laid. We can do the next best thing.
Bartleby: What's that?
Loki: Let's kill people.
[cue Spit Take from the lady in between them]
Loki: No, not you.
- Visual Pun: Since hes constructed from the human excrement from Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified, the Golgothan is the closest anyone can get to holy shit.
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
- Bartleby and Loki constantly bicker like an old married couple. Makes sense considering the millennia they spend together.
- Jay and Silent Bob are as vitriolic as they can get when one doesn't say anything.
- The Voiceless: Silent Bob (subverted, of course) and God (who speaks through the Metatron because her own voice is fatal to humans).
- 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.
- 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.Loki: If only they'd let us jerk off...
- Your Head A-Splode: This occurs if a living human hears God's true voice. Finally shown in the climax.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.