Crafting a finale to a trilogy almost thirty years after the second film comes out certainly feels like it is either a cash grab or a desperate attempt to be relevant. There was a good chance that Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) would feel like that, but it actually managed to be a blast to watch – especially for fans of the original films. While much of it feels like a refresh of the original, there is enough new content and logical progression in storytelling to make it feel like its own thing. In other words…this movie was most excellent!
Bill S. Preston Esquire (Alex Winter) and Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) were told over thirty years ago that they would write a song that would save the universe. Well, they’ve written many songs at this point, but none of them appear to be the one. The end times are approaching, and if they can’t figure out what to write, the entire universe is in jeopardy. They seek to find the answer they’ve been waiting on all this time, while their daughters Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving) look to help by applying their knowledge of musical history to the problem.
Bill and Ted feel familiar and yet different. They aren’t exactly the same doofuses we originally fell in love with back in Excellent Adventure. However, they still have the charm and unwavering loyalty to one another that makes them easy to root for. They are the epitome of the lovable dopes that pull you in despite knowing they aren’t all there. Winter and Reeves get to do a lot of fun stuff with the roles that helped jump-start their careers at such a young age.
Weaving and Lundy-Paine are fun mirror versions of their fathers. One thing that really stands out in a big way is the writing of the relationship between the kids and their dads. Bill and Ted had odd or troubled relationships with their own fathers in the previous films – especially Ted, and his father Chief Logan (Hal Landon Jr.) – and it would have been easy for the film to write the daughters to despise their fathers and that potentially be the arc of the film. Instead, the guys earn the begrudging respect of their children, as the girls are a chip off the old block who love and respect their fathers and have definitely latched onto the love of music in a big way. It’s wholesome in the best way, and the optimism that was so enthralling in the first film is back, making this one an endearing end to what is one bodacious trilogy.
Something I had never really thought about in the original film was the lack of diversity in the historical figures. When I think about impactful historical figures, Billy the Kid isn’t someone who usually crosses my mind. Yet, he was prominently featured, and to be fair, an excellent component of that first film. However, he and most of the other figures featured are mostly white guys with the exception of Joan of Arc and Genghis Kahn. Without getting into how or who from history shows up in Face the Music, this film does a great job of introducing diversity without it feeling forced or tacked on.
Bill & Ted Face the Music is a tight 78 minutes that is super enjoyable and full of fun. Time travel and music appreciation have definitely meshed into one awesome movie that both new and old fans alike can enjoy. Don’t sleep on this film, as this excellent cast seems to have embraced the characters in a real way. Face the Music earns the Must See rating, and I’ll definitely be adding this to my collection to complete the trilogy.