Bill & Ted Face The Music – The UnPopular Opinion

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

action, Drama, thriller, Christopher Nolan, Christopher Nolan, John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Robert Pattinson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kenneth Branagh, Clémence Poésy, Tenet, 2020, The UnPopular Opinion

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

I love the Bill and Ted movies. I will debate endlessly with fellow fans about which movie is better and it is absolutely okay for those who think Excellent Adventure is superior to be secure in the fact that they are completely wrong. Bogus Journey is far and away the better movie even though both films are brilliant and wholesome tales wrapped up in idiotic comedies. For decades, I was let down by rumors and news of a third film in the franchise that would reunite Alex Winter with Keanu Reeves. Once Reeves had a resurgence in celebrity thanks to the John Wick franchise, it seemed like we would get that long-awaited third film. Even a global pandemic didn't stop the world from finally seeing Bill & Ted Face the Music only to discover that it still retained that wholesome message at its core but gone was any semblance of comedy. Bill & Ted Face the Music ended up being an utter disappointment in every way.

Often misidentified as stoner comedies, the Bill and Ted movies have always been about lovable musicians Bill S. Preston, Esq and Ted Theodore Logan played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. Destined to save the planet and humankind from inevitable destruction, the pair traveled through time in Excellent Adventure and then the afterlife in Bogus Journey. With Face The Music, decades have passed and the titular heroes have not lived up to their destiny. So, what do they do? They travel through time and the afterlife…again. While I had no doubt that this movie was going to revisit some of the same threads as the first two movies, I expected there to be a new wrinkle to set this movie apart. That wrinkle is the introduction of Theadora "Thea" Preston (Samara Weaving) and Wilhelmina "Billie" Logan (Brigette Lundy-Paine). Then, the next generation…travels through time and the afterlife. Do you see where I am going?

Adventure, comedy, Dean Parisot, Ed Solomon, Chris Matheson, Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Jayma Mays, Samara Weaving, Beck Bennett, Anthony Carrigan, Bill & Ted Face the Music, 2020, The UnPopular Opinion

Many critics lauded Bill & Ted Face the Music as one of, if not the, best long-gestating sequels of all time. That isn't exactly a tough group to beat as Dumb and Dumber To and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot failed to remotely live up to expectations. A big part of that is fan culture tends to build up over time and inevitably will not get what they wanted. Many fans enjoyed BIll & Ted Face the Music and there are certain moments in the film that worked for me. But, taken as a whole film, Bill & Ted Face the Music is lacking the energy and originality that the franchise deserved. Because of how closely the first two films were released, they naturally flow from one story to the next. After 29 years, there needed to be more to make this movie a worthy addition to the series. Three decades after saving the world twice, Bill and Ted are sadly the exact same characters with minimal growth.

Three decades between sequels forces Bill & Ted Face the Music to feel somewhat desperate. Like anything nostalgiac, seeing these characters once again is always nice. The Super Bowl commercial featuring Alex Winter playing his older and younger character from these films was a nice moment. Stretching that two a feature-length movie feels strained. Keanu Reeves has always looked younger than his true age but he has never looked older than he does in this movie. Both Winter and Reeves clearly love their characters, but their performances are wooden and restricted by playing characters in their fifties still acting like teenagers. This movie should have been titled Billie & Thea Face The Music with supporting roles by Winter and Reeves. Both Lundy-Paine and Weaving do a nice job emulating their on-screen fathers but it still is more caricature than performance.

Bill and Ted as lovable losers worked when they were young but feels sad in 2020. When I was a teenager, seeing these guys slightly older than me going on adventures and being sweet but dumb avatars was enjoyable. Now, it doesn't feel nearly as natural as the original Star Wars cast in the recent sequel trilogy or even Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys For Life. That could also be because Bill & Ted Face the Music was never meant to be a massive blockbuster. This is a modest film made on a modest budget that fans were expecting to be on par with the biggest sequels coming out of Hollywood. Director Dean Parisot makes excellent use of the very low $25 million budget and the brisk 90-minute running time. This should have just been a fun romp and could have been if it were released even ten years ago. It also came with the burden of being one of only a few significant films released at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was inevitable that it would disappoint.

In the absence of the late George Carlin, we get the triumphant return of William Sadler as Death along with the inclusion of Kristen Schaal as Rufus' daughter as well as the film's breakout star Anthony Carrigan as Dennis Caleb McCoy. Dennis is the most memorable addition to the series since Station in Bogus Journey. Beck Bennet plays the adult Deacon and Kid Cudi makes a fun cameo as himself. Seeing Amy Stoch reprise her role as Missy as well as Hal Landon as Bill's dad connect back to the original films. The inclusion of famous musicians Jimi Hendrix, Louis Armostrong, Mozart and Ling Lun seem forced compared to Socrates and Billy the Kid in the first movie. In hindsight, maybe Excellent Adventure was just as goofy, silly, and dumb, but at least it was original. Face the Music never feels original and constantly reeks of redundancy.

Adventure, comedy, Dean Parisot, Ed Solomon, Chris Matheson, Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Jayma Mays, Samara Weaving, Beck Bennett, Anthony Carrigan, Bill & Ted Face the Music, 2020, The UnPopular Opinion

Bill & Ted Face the Music was a nice diversion when no one was able to go to the movies. I am glad that I got to see these characters one more time but I also wish I hadn't. There was a third movie that deserved to be made and it should have been produced before 1999. Blame Keanu Reeves' skyrocket to celebrity thanks to Speed and The Matrix or blame the rise of cinematic universes. Whatever the cause, Bill & Ted Face the Music has its heart in the right place and a message that is full of positivity. Unfortunately, this movie never works the way that the first two did. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter have said they would do a fourth film if fans demanded it but I think we can agree it is time to let this series go. If another movie were to be made, either a sequel or a Billie and Thea spin-off, I will not be anticipating much at all. This excellent adventure has ended with a bogus journey.

But hey, that's just my UnPopular Opinion. Tell us your take on Bill & Ted Face The Music in the comments below.

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Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

5916 Articles Published

Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.