Over the years, “Bill & Ted” has been a franchise that has had a massive growth in popularity. For me, I must admit that I had never seen these films until COVID-19 sent “Bill & Ted: Face The Music” down the VOD rabbit hole. In watching these first two films to coincide with the release “Face The Music,” I can proudly say I fell in love with this franchise. There is a comfort for me in these characters' obliviousness and earnestness as they navigate the scientific world of time travel. “Face The Music” follows our titular characters Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) still on a quest to unite the world through song (like the previous films). Doing this leads them on another time-traveling adventure that guides them towards some old friends and new faces. While they’re traveling through time, their daughters are hot on their trail to try and save their dads.
Clocking in at 88 minutes (with credits), a movie like this packs a lot into its narrative. We get call backs to the first two films and still give room for these characters to really mature. Some may consider that to be a bit pointless since we’re on the third film, but it really works. While it is a consistently funny film, there is a dark humor that comes from these characters trying to change. One of the plot points being their struggling marriages with the princesses they brought to the real world in the first film— there’s a level of tension in keeping the marriages afloat. This idea certainly doesn’t detract from the films more humorous moments, and shows the quality of both Winter and Reeves. By having our two leads back in top form, they’ve got a great supporting cast surrounding them.
From the return of William Sadler’s character Death from the second film, to Kristin Schaal’s new character Kelly, they each get a memorable moment. Who I really want to highlight is the performances of Bill & Ted’s daughters Wilhelmina "Billie" Logan and Theodora "Thea" Preston. Actors Samara Weaving (“Ready or Not”) and Brigette Lundy-Paine (Netflix’s “Atypical”) pay homage in their performances that is hard to pull off. Not only do they pull off the believability of being Bill & Ted’s children, but they act just like Reeves and Winter in their younger years. It can be tough to emulate such over-the-top characters like Bill & Ted, so it’s an absolute pleasure to see four distinct versions. By the third film in a franchise, it’s nice to see such a fresh idea like that pay off and be as humorous as these four leads make it.
While there is a hearty dose of nostalgia I have for these films, I had such a pleasant experience watching this from start to finish. A movie like "Bill & Ted: Face The Music" is something that isn’t going to win awards. It’s a film from a franchise that was designed to make audiences laugh and smile. Almost 20 years after it’s predecessor, “Face The Music” does just that by creating a film for the fans. I have a feeling some may call this fan service, but I like to think of it as ending an era. Director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), clearly understands that this is a franchise built on its fans. Not only do we laugh, but we also are able to sympathize with the issues of aging that both Bill & Ted are facing. Tonally the balance pulled off here is hard to accomplish, I’m just so happy to report that everyone involved sticks the landing.
Watch the trailer here.