Well, Leigh-Anne and I saw it last night, so here are my thoughts (obligatory spoiler space):
I thought it was really, really good. I was afraid Kevin Smith was going to fall into an every-other-movie pattern, but he allayed my fears.
First off, I don’t see how any personal of reasonable intelligence could possibly perceive this movie as anti-religious or anti-Catholic. It does contain a great deal of violence and vulgarity; but in spite of that, it’s the only movie I’ve ever seen–aside from The Rapture–that absolutely accepts religion, and a particular sect’s theology, as 100% true and deals with it on its own terms.
The characters are interesting, the writing is top-notch. Smith still has a ways to go in the directing department; I get the idea that (probably because of budget) he doesn’t shoot a lot of coverage, giving his editor little to work with at times.
And the actors love their roles, and it shows. There is one scene between characters played by Linda Fiorentino and Alan Rickman midway through the movie that blew me away; it is genuinely moving, thoughtful, and had something important to say.
It isn’t without flaws, and some scenes could’ve been done away with, but overall, this movie provided me with a lot of laughs, a good story, and even with things to think about. It doesn’t provide easy answers or choices for any of its characters, and it deals with some serious issues in sublime ways (sometimes too sublime, but not every movie can be perfect).
Highlights include Jay and Silent Bob (as usual), Jason Lee’s scenery-chewing performance as Azrael (he gets maybe three scenes, but he owns every one of them), and Damon and Affleck’s complete inhabitance of their roles.
“Come on, Phonics Monkey–drum!”