Nearly 30 years have passed since audiences last embarked on a bogus journey with everyone’s favorite rocker dudes, Bill and Ted. Now, after more than a decade of fan speculation regarding a third film in the beloved series, Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves return to the roles that launched their careers — alongside the first two films’ writing duo, Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson — in Bill & Ted Face the Music. The result is a wonderfully nostalgic and inventive final chapter.
The story focuses on the titular lead members of the rock band Wyld Stallyns as they face their most daunting obstacle yet: middle age. Now in their 50s, Bill and Ted are struggling to keep their marriages afloat, struggling to be strong role models for their daughters and still struggling to write the song that will unite the world as prophesied in the two previous installments. Tensions rise when a message from the future informs them that they have just over an hour to complete the mission, or else humanity will cease to exist. This revelation plunges our main dudes into a fast-paced, 90-minute adventure full of great comedic setpieces and a surprising amount of heart.
Face the Music does, however, get off to a somewhat rocky start. The initial reintroduction of the iconic duo certainly put a smile on my face, but whereas Winter seems to have slipped back into the role of Bill with ease, Reeves appears to be playing Ted much more stoically, as if the actor is still in John Wick mode. Luckily, as the plot kicks into high gear and our characters become less jaded after the first 20 minutes or so, Reeves feels much more comfortable leaning into his classic surfer dude persona, and the iconic comedic chemistry between Bill and Ted comes roaring back.
New to the series are Bill’s and Ted’s daughters, Thea Preston (played by the fantastic Samara Weaving from Ready or Not) and Billie Logan (Brigette Lundy-Paine, The Glass Castle). Both of these characters are welcome additions to the saga, and their subplot recalls the best elements from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure without ripping it off entirely.
The supporting cast is also incredibly fun, with the always hilarious Kristen Schaal (HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords”) playing the daughter of Rufus — the late, great George Carlin’s character from the original films. Alongside her is Anthony Carrigan (HBO’s “Barry”) as a scene-stealing killer robot, musician Kid Cudi as himself, plus a fantastic performance from William Sadler, reprising arguably his best role: Death from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.
The combination of all these elements makes for a silly, brisk comedy adventure that’s undoubtedly full of plot holes and flimsy time travel logic — but, come on … this is a Bill & Ted movie we’re talking about! I wouldn’t want it any other way. And while Face the Music lacks some of the anarchic sensibilities of the first two films (especially compared with Bogus Journey, which is wonderfully bonkers), in its place is a delightfully surprising amount of emotional depth. With the state of the world feeling so uncertain right now, there’s no better time to watch a cheerful, family-friendly movie that reminds us to be excellent to each other.
Available to rent via Amazon Video, iTunes, and other streaming platforms