Bill & Ted Face the Music

Critics Consensus

As wholesomely goofy as its heroes, Bill and Ted Face the Music is a rare long-belated sequel that largely recaptures the franchise's original charm.

82%

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Total Count: 235

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,203

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Movie Info

The ruler of the future tells best friends Bill and Ted they must compose a new song to save life as we know it. But instead of writing it, they decide to travel through time to steal it from their older selves. Meanwhile, their young daughters devise their own musical scheme to help their fathers bring harmony to the universe.

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Critic Reviews for Bill & Ted Face the Music

All Critics (235) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (193) | Rotten (42)

  • We could all do with a little dose of Bill and Ted's optimism - the simple belief that kindness and camaraderie can bring us all together.

    September 25, 2020 | Rating: 4/5
  • Somehow it works. Remarkably, you may party on.

    September 16, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Not excellent maybe, but by no means bogus either, this cheerful Bill & Ted threequel brings the story of our two laidback heroes up to the melancholy autumn of their middle age.

    September 15, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • For fans, the pair's all-round lameness has always been a large part of their charm. The contrast between their slow reaction speeds and the extreme wackiness of their adventures were an essential part of the package but the formula hasn't worn well.

    September 9, 2020 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The movie runs out of steam well before the halfway point and, after that, it seems to be going through the motions, as if everyone involved was having too good a time to put the meandering narrative out of its misery.

    September 2, 2020 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • A winningly silly jam sesh with two lovable lunkheads.

    September 1, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bill & Ted Face the Music

  • Sep 13, 2020
    After a 29 year hiatus, the most bodacious of dudes, Bill & Ted, return to our screens to save us from complete and universal obliteration. It's a continuation that no one really asked for but it's a welcome addition to their airhead travels nonetheless. Whether you find Bill & Ted's adventures excellent or bogus will largely depend on whether you have childhood memories of them in the first place. It's certainly a silly brand of humour and the latest instalment is no different but my memories are fond and it was delightful to see Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter fall back into these characters with ease. It's nothing more than easy-going entertainment but sometimes that's all you need. Party on dudes!
    Mark W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 07, 2020
    Bill & Ted Face the Music is one of those rare belated sequels that actually works. Dumb and Dumber, Anchorman and Zoolander have sequels that just failed the original. The best part of this sequel is the heart of the film. The characters are exactly the same as they were and the film-makers don't attempt to jam unnecessary characteristics down our throat. The film isn't at the same level as the originals and the story-line is interesting if slightly unnecessary. I enjoyed seeing where the characters ended up and this should conclude the series nicely. It was nice to see the story-line adjust to not follow the exact structure of the previous films, even thought the daughters were following in their father's footsteps. The film is fun and pulpy, exactly what the first films were. Bill & Ted Face the Music is a must see for the fans and I only hope the producers can ensure a 4k release for the originals and this film. 06/09/2020
    Brendan O Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2020
    On the one hand, no it's not as good as the first two films. The first film stands as one of the best comedy films of its type, and Bogus Journey is a truly unique sequel. Face the Music just isn't as good for the simple fact it didn't make me laugh as much as those first two did, and when it comes to a comedy, that's really the key factor. Yeah there's a good amount of chuckles, but when it comes to true big laughs there's only a couple. I also don't like a couple of the choices that were made in this decades-later sequel, particularly with the princesses who once again really get sidelined here. That being said, as far as years later sequels go, this is one of the few that actually works. Bill & Ted still feel like Bill & Ted, and this still feels like their universe. Having just binged through the John Wick movies and recently started The Matrix films again, it's pretty interesting to see Keanu seamlessly move back into a character he hasn't played in years. They're definitely older, but they are still the characters we knew back in the day. It also retains the relentless creativity the series has established. There is a fair amount of recycled material, be it time travel or a visit to hell, but seeing new versions of Bill & Ted in visits to the future is a creative idea and the daughters add a fresh spin as well; not to mention a morally conflicted robot. It also maintains the fun positivity of the series. The final sequence in particular where (spoilers I guess?) they literally save the universe through the power of music, is just pure joy to watch. It's not perfect, not by a longshot, but it's way better than it has any right to be, and it's so damn likable that in a clusturf*** year it's kind of what I needed.
    Michael M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 04, 2020
    Bill and Ted might be one of the most inexplicable franchises in Hollywood. It began as a riff on 80s high school movies by writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson, taking the California surfer/stoner goofball supporting character staple and saying, "What if people deeply uninformed about history traveled through time?" 1989's Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure movie was a comic delight, and Bill and Ted became unexpected icons, action figures, and even a Saturday morning cartoon. The 1991 sequel could have easily repackaged another escapade through time but instead it went a completely different, darker, and weirder direction. Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey followed its characters through death, hell, heaven, and back again. It's been almost thirty years since Bill and Ted left the pop-culture spotlight behind. What more challenges could you present? Bill and Ted Face the Music is a sweet sequel that explores the, dare I even utter the word, legacy of these cheery doofuses, and while it's not at the same level as its clever predecessors, I was more than happy to take one last trip with these gents. Most excellent. It's been decades since Bill S. Preston Esquire (Alex Winter) and Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) hit the big time with their band Wyld Stallyns but life hasn't quite worked out how they imagined. They had been told their music would bring peace to the world, but they're in their 50s now, fame now behind them, and they have yet to live up to those heavy expectations. Bill and Ted are struggling to still write that perfect, magical song, the one they were destined for, but both men have growing doubts over whether or not they can make it happen. Their adult daughters (Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine) want to help and take the ole phone booth time machine for a spin, collecting famous great musicians throughout time to help collaborate with their dear old dude dads before all of reality unravels if that fabled song cannot be written. Just as Bogus Journey rejected being a lazy reprise, Face the Music inclines to chart its own path as a sequel rather than replicating the hits of old while also staying reverent to why people loved the originals. This is more a time travel movie, and the daughters even go on their own Excellent Adventure rounding up famous musicians through history as a B-story, but the main story is squarely on Bill and Ted facing off against themselves and their collective insecurities. When challenged, the Bill and Ted of present-day figure that they can skip ahead to the future and simply take the world-saving song from their future selves, who obviously would have written it by then. It's a move the franchise has used before, relying upon future actions to take care of present problems, so it's fitting for the characters but this is the first film to explore this as a negative. Bill and Ted are desperate and looking for an easy solution and skipping to the end will do that. However, their future selves are pathetic has-beens who have yet to write the ultimate song, and they resent their past selves for setting them up for failure. There are many face-to-face meetings between present and further future versions of Bill and Ted and their interactions become an adversarial tit-for-tat. I looked forward to each new pit stop with future Bill and Ted to see how their lives were and if they were still trying to set up the past Bill and Ted for a long-simmering retribution. The fact that this storyline has a genuinely sweet and even poignant reconciliation is a joyous addition. Thankfully, Bill and Ted are still the same lovable, affable, and relentlessly positive dudes we've known and loved since the 1980s. I appreciate over three movies how much these guys legitimately appreciate and love each other. That's one reason why it's so enjoyable to hang out with these guys regardless of what their adventures entail. It would be easy for Bill and Ted to have become jaded in their old age, cynical from not fulfilling their hallowed destiny. They could have some animosity between the two of them that need to be buried in order to work together, rekindle that old magic, and save the world. But the screenwriters know who these characters are. Even when things aren't going their way, they stay who they are, hopeful and supportive. I also appreciated how this translates to their relationships with their daughters, who clearly love their fathers and want to follow in their footsteps. They even refer to them as "dads" rather than "dad." The conclusion rests on the daughters and fathers working together, and the positivity that radiates through their relationships allows the ending to reach a surprisingly emotional high for a family of good-natured goofballs. Face the Music is a bit overstuffed with subplots and characters, and I do wish there could have been some careful pruning to allow more room for the daughters. Bill and Ted's wives, the princesses from Medieval England, have been recast again (Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mayes), and once again they are barely featured. There is an early conflict between the wives and husbands, and the prospect of losing them motivates Bill and Ted to save their marriages, but this conflict is entirely sidelined after the "end of the world" dilemma overtakes the plot. The wives are in their own subplot and also traveling through time or to parallel dimensions, though we never spend any time with them. There must be entirely cut scenes with them. Their perspectives could have been a whole other movie but they're only an afterthought, as these characters have always been. Kristen Schaal (My Spy) appears as the daughter to Rufus (the late George Carlin), and we're introduced to her mother, a deadly robot (Barry's Anthony Carrigan) set to kill Bill and Ted for questionable reasons, the return of the Grim Reaper (William Sadler), plus all the assembled historical figures with the daughters. Also, just about every supporting family character makes an appearance too. It feels like too much, like the movie is constantly racing forward, juggling people and stories, when we didn't need it all. The daughters are more reflections of their fathers than independent characters. Each character, Thea and Billie, is a younger impression of their father and little else. They like the same music their dads like. They have the same goals their dads have. They have the same personalities their dads have. Both actresses are fun and Brigette Lundy-Paine (Netflix's Atypical) does a wicked impression of a young Reeves, including adopting his sway-heavy gait, but I wish they had more to chew over. It seems cliché to make the central conflict of a third Bill and Ted movie an inter-generational one, where the fathers cannot relate to their daughters, and the four of them go on a fantastic journey that helps to bridge their differences and allow each side to better understand and relate. It might sound cliché but it could also have been compelling as well, and it would have elevated the daughters and their relationship into a primal position, rather than using the relationship with the near non-existent wives as the throwaway motivation for their call to action. It's been quite a while since Winter and Reeves have played these parts, and while they both have clear affection for their characters, it's not quite a seamless relaunch. Reeves (John Wick) has been playing hardass action heroes for so long that it feels like he can't easily recapture goofball energy. His line deliveries can feel far more stilted and low-energy. Winter hasn't acted onscreen since 2013 and has transitioned into being a documentary director. He delivers a more spirited performance and hits the comedy notes more effortlessly than Reeves, but the time apart from acting shows. Watching both men imitate their younger selves and going through the same shtick can have a different impact on the viewer. Hearing the same catch-phrases but with deeper, gravely voices isn't quite the same thing and serves as a warning of the enterprise living in its own shadow. My pal Ben Bailey found an old Bill and Ted to be rather sad. I think that's part of what Face the Music leans into (including its knowing title). They haven't succeeded like they wanted. That weighs on them. Neither character is about to contemplate suicide but there is a sense of disappointment about how their careers turned out that they're barely staying ahead of, which adds a melancholy dimension to these characters still falling back on what they know because it's all that they know how to do. It's not overpowering but it's an acknowledgement of the loss of time. Bill and Ted Face the Music is a charming, likable, and sweet-natured sequel that wraps up the franchise well, reminding fans why the Bill and Ted characters were so enjoyable from the start. In our COVID times, I'm finding it easier to shrug away some of the movie's flaws, like its low-budget being noticeable, chintzy CGI special effects, and too many supporting characters on top of not integrating the daughters into the main action in a more significant fashion. It's 90 minutes of laid back, light-hearted fun with actors and filmmakers who clearly love this franchise, and the screenwriters could have merely coasted and did no such thing. We didn't need a third Bill and Ted big screen adventure but I'm happy that it still feels, even thirty years later, remarkably like Bill and Ted. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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