On paper, Dean Parisot Bill & Ted Face the Music should have all the elements that suggest a box office flop: the third installment in a series being released nineteen years after the last film, the title characters have aged out of their original teenage years, and it sets the stage for a gender-swapped reboot (which isn’t an inherently bad thing but has been shown to upset fans from other franchises). And yet this third film is anything but terrible.
It’s actually quite excellent.
Bill & Ted Face the Music is set roughly twenty years after the events in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, which culminates in them find global success as the band The Wyld Stallyns. Now, the two BFFs are considered to be washed-up musicians with only a handful of successful songs to their name. As the film explains, the more Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) tried to craft the song that would reunite the world, the more people began disliking their music and turning away from The Wyld Stallyns. Now, both men are married to the princesses they rescued in the first film, have twenty-something daughters, and looming appointments for couple’s therapy. If their day couldn’t get any worse, they have less than a day to finish the song they’ve been trying to write for two decades of time and space will collapse around them. Most heinous. Thankfully, they have a plan to steal the song from their future selves, while their daughters travel back in time to assemble a historically badass band.
Although the ending of the film is predictable (you should be able to call the big twist by the ten-minute mark), it’s a fun journey there and does an amazing job of marrying the classic films with a breath of fresh air. The movie blends the best elements of the first Bill & Ted (aka their adventure through time) with some of the better elements of the second one (aka them travelling to hell) to make a fresh adventure for our two favourite heroes and their two hilarious daughters Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine). While we still get to enjoy the antics of the classic cast made up of Bill, Ted, and even Death (William Sadler), we also get some wonderful performances from Weaving and Lundy-Paine, along with Kristen Schaal who plays Kelly, the daughter of Rufus (formerly portrayed by the late George Carlin).
Bill & Ted Face the Music is exactly as funny as you’d hope it would be!
Bill & Ted Face the Music is exactly as funny as you’d hope it would be. Their forays through time, and interactions with themselves, are side-splittingly good. One particularly great scene comes around the halfway mark and includes a break-in at Dave Grohl’s home, a robot named Dennis (Anthony Carrigan), and the line “it’s most alarming.” Another great scene, as shown in the trailer, includes the Wyld Stallyns in jail and a question about what constitutes a song.
Cast aside, one of the best parts about the newest installment in the franchise is Bill and Ted’s interactions with future Bill and Ted. The movie does a great job of exploring how the only real villain in their lives is the creative pressure that’s been thrust upon them and their expectations for their music. The pressure to create a song that will unite the world is such an immense ask that neither Wyld Stallyn member has been able to live up to the task for the last twenty years. It’s caused tension in their marriages, destroyed their musical careers, and the film forces the two bandmates to reconcile this impossible responsibility with their immediate obligations to their families.
Their interactions with their future selves provide an eerie look into their soon-to-be lives, and a glimpse at what happens to them when—not if—things don’t go as planned. It’s interesting to watch our heroes struggle to prevent the erosion of everything they love, only to push themselves closer to the edge of destruction with every choice they make. It’s sad, poignant, and strangely full of hope.
If you’re a fan of the previous Bill & Ted movies, be sure to catch this latest addition to the franchise. It’s packed full of the classic antics and fun you’d expect from one of these movies, but with a fresh take and new faces that will leave you with a most bodacious experience.