Christian films risk being torn to shreds by the secular Hollywood media.
While the critics were dismayed at the surprisingly popular I Can Only Imagine last week, this week they find themselves being put to sleep by the “boring” Paul, Apostle of Christ film, released on March 23. While Christian critics are willing to give the film its chance, critics at Variety are disappointed that the film isn’t a Marvel movie.
Peter Debruge at Variety wrote, “In a world that idolizes DC and Marvel superheroes...Paul’s power is of a less spectacular sort.” The film apparently also felt like “just a notch above a community Christmas pageant,” but only because it had Jim Caviezel in it, an actor the critic recognized.
In fact, the film could have been construed as offensive, if one chooses to believe Variety, since it does not “suggest tolerance of religions other than Christianity.” Debruge seemed to also be perturbed by the fact that the film didn’t focus on the “sensationalistic” persecutions of the Christians in Nero’s time.
Inkoo Kang yawned at The Wrap, “It’s difficult to make compelling cinema out of saintliness,” and “it’s boring to watch one-dimensional piety stay static over two hours.” Kam Williams called the film a “depressing biopic” in the Baret News Wire, with “little appeal beyond the Bible-thumping demographic.”
Critics hated the film so much that it received a 29% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, contrasted with it’s positive audience rating of 95% (as of March 23). Something doesn’t quite seem to add up here.
Steven Greydanus at the National Catholic Register gave the film a positive review, saying that while “It’s not the unmade epic about the life of Paul of Tarsus many would like to see, but what it is worthwhile in its own right.”