Growing up I was the prime audience for Bill & Ted; in fact, I spent most of my pre-teen years dressing just like Bill. Even though Bill & Ted was never as big as some of my other franchises of the time; it was still extremely influential on my sense of humor and outlook on life.
The first two films are beloved by fans, were financially successful, spawned an animated and live-action series and even some critics hail the sweet-natured comedy and clever premise of the first film, and the gonzo nature of the second film.
The pair of films have been a mainstay in my life since they were released, and I kept up with the various TV shows and comics over the years but of course the farther and farther we’ve moved away from them, the franchise moved to the background, although it didn’t fade from culture.
Over the years talks of a sequel came and went with no solid story until about 10 years ago. Famously since then, the main crew, co-creators, and writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson; along with original stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves had been championing the third outing since they broke a solid story idea.
The movie begins roughly 25 years after Bogus Journey (which took place in 93 but came out in 91). The duo have fallen off the map after having a flash of success (as seen in the previous film’s credits). Their destiny doesn’t seem to have quite lined up; even though they have had a falling out with death, and the princess’ have moved on to regular jobs. Bill & Ted (Alex Winter & Keanu Reeves) still hold the dream of Wyld Stallyons alive.
Their two daughters, Ted’s progeny, little Bill aka Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine), and Bill’s daughter, Little Ted or Thea (Samara Weaving) spend their days listening to music with no real direction.
An imminent separation from their wives threatens their destiny resulting in a visit from the daughter of Rufus, Kelly (Kristen Schaal), warning them that time and space are out of wack due to this and they have mere hours to present the song at a specific place that will align all time and space bringing harmony and preventing everything from being destroyed.
The pair get the idea to use the old phone booth to go to the future when they have written the song.
In the future Kelly’s mother, who happens to be The Great Leader, is questioning her father’s prophecy about the two great ones and instead believes that the only way to save space and time is to kill Bill & Ted, so she sends a killer robot back to destroy them.
In the meantime, Billie and Thea assuming their fathers will need a back-up band, use Kelly’s time machine to collect great musicians throughout time.
The movie itself is a love letter to Bill & Ted fans, George Carlin, and daughters to fathers and vice-versa. It has the same sweet-natured tone that the first two films have along with the cleverness and some of the gonzo nature. If you aren’t a fan of Bogus Journey you may not like Face the Music, but over-all I don’t think too many fans will be disappointed.
The humor is solid, the story, as loosey-goosey as it is, isn’t out of line with the franchise and Face the Music is a good time; which is a rarity.
Not too often does a sequel picking up years after the last manage to retain the tone and feeling, but Face the Music I can happily say alongside the Creed films and Cobra Kai series is a welcome addition. Unlike those two examples though this is still a Bill & Ted film though, despite the next generation being involved.
Some moments feel like they could go into “woke” territory, but they get pulled back or paid off very well.
Technically, the film isn’t a $200 million dollar Marvel movie and the effects are a bit cheap. That isn’t a detriment because the first two movies are like Monty Python movies and cheap visual effects are part of the charm.
Overall, Dean Parisot’s direction isn’t flawless but on par with the previous films and Parisot’s history with films like Galaxy Quest make him a very good fit for his comedic timing.
Across the board the performances are great, Alex and Keanu seem to slide right back into their roles.
Weaving didn’t do nearly as well as her counterpart as Little Bill. Lundy-Paine knocks it out the park. Clearly showing off that she not only studied, but is convincing as the next generation of the Logan family.
Sadler as always chews up every scene masterfully as the Grim Reaper, along with other serviceable and welcome returns of actors Hal Landon Jr. as Ted’s Dad, and Amy Stoch as Missy.
As far as the other new characters, Kristen Schaal isn’t the best choice to represent Carlin, but the film over-all does such a great job of paying homage and making Rufus such a huge part of the plot that I can forgive that.
Holland Taylor as the leader in the future and Kelly’s mother and wife of Rufus and quasi villain also is well-conceived and helps break a lot of the Hollywood agenda. Anthony Carrigan steals the show as far as new characters go as the killer robot Dennis Caleb McCoy.
Bill & Ted Face the Music wasn’t as good as Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey which I hold in very high regard, but it’s still a very good follow up after all these years, something you can’t say for a lot of franchises these days.
- Decent cast
- Excellent story
- Kelly's character should have been someone else like Janeane Garofalo
- Could have had a better soundtrack