Bill & Ted Face the Music First Reviews: The Excellent Adventure We All Need Right Now

Critics say Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter don't miss a beat, and Face the Music is a welcome dose of heartfelt optimism in trying times.

by | August 28, 2020 | Comments

Almost 30 years after the release of the second Bill & Ted movie, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter return as the goofily endearing titular duo in Bill & Ted Face the Music. And now they’ve also got grown-up daughters — played by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving — to aid in their excellent adventures and save the universe from a most bogus fate.

Does the long-awaited third installment live up to expectations? The first reviews of the movie indicate that most fans will be pleased to see that the new movie does the franchise, and particularly its main characters, justice with the right amount of laughs and heart.

Here’s what critics are saying about Bill & Ted Face the Music:

Is it worth the wait for Bill & Ted fans?

Bill & Ted Face the Music not only found a way to defy the odds to exist, but it also ended up working as an entry totally in line with the spirit of those older time travel tales.
– Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

Bill & Ted Face the Music… not only gets it right, but makes it look easy. It pushes the franchise into new territory while recapturing the goofy magic of the first two films.
– Angie Han, Mashable

This is not the kind of late sequel that’s a cash grab. It’s clearly a labor of love.
– Brian Tallerico,

Bill & Ted Face the Music plays out like a madcap mash-up of Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey while avoiding all the pitfalls of simple fan service.
– Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation

A perfect mix of both Excellent Adventure and Bogus JourneyBill & Ted Face the Music is the perfect conclusion.
– Rachel Leishman, The Mary Sue

In execution, it’s sloppy, never finding a toehold on a decent comedic rhythm or creative lyricism to make a cohesive, wholly satisfying sequel.
– Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

How does it compare to the previous two films?

Bill & Ted Face the Music surprisingly arises as the most enjoyable entry in the series.
Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

Bill & Ted Face the Music is almost exactly as good as its two big-screen predecessors.
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Like its predecessors [it] is winningly modest and harmlessly silly.
A.O. Scott, New York Times

I happened to rewatch Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure just a few days before Bill & Ted Face the Music and they feel a lot like the same movie.
Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Bill & Ted Face the Music is by far the worst of the three movies.
Carla Hay, Culture Mix

Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted Face the Music

(Photo by ©Orion Pictures)

Do you need to have seen the first two, though?

Absolutely, but less to understand the plot than to familiarize yourself with the Bill & Ted vib.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe

The film’s opening recaps the first two films…[so] you don’t necessarily need to watch the previous films.
Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Are Reeves and Winter still excellent?

[They] don’t miss a step when it comes to falling back into the surfer rhythms and signature head nods. [And] when they reunite onscreen with Sadler, it’s electric.
Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

Their dynamic hasn’t missed a step… It’s wonderful to see Reeves and Winter reunited and in particular, it’s lovely to see Reeves back in a comedy.
Matt Goldberg, Collider

The two actors haven’t missed a beat…it’s wonderful to see [Reeves] return to humor… and it’s especially enjoyable to see Mr. Winter back in a leading role.
Jimmy O, JoBlo

Reeves in particular never makes a comic misstep; he’s funny less for the lines he speaks than for his thoroughgoing physical incarnation of a character who’s at least 50 percent Golden Retriever.
Dana Stevens, Slate

Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine in Bill & Ted Face the Music

(Photo by Patti Perret/©Orion Pictures)

How are Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving?

Weaving and Lundy-Paine perfectly capture mannerisms of Bill and Ted but in their own way.
Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

The two have an appealing energy between them, nicely mirroring the harmless goofiness that made the original films more successful than they probably deserved to be.
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

[They] did a fantastic job of mimicking the behaviors of their dads, resulting in a believable and heartfelt performance… they were one of my favorite parts about the movie.
Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish Conjurings

Thea and Billie are essentially personality-free, and, for the most part, exist to service their fathers’ arc. They have no memorable lines and nothing to distinguish one from the other.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Billie and Thea aren’t particularly developed as characters… with such a perfect quartet of casting of Bills and Teds, something more could have been wrung from this concept.
Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

Does the script make enough sense?

The goal is once again to save the world with a song, for reasons about as important and easy to explain as Star Trek technobabble.
Luke Y. Thompson, Superhero Hype

Bill and Ted may not fully understand it. The screenwriters, Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, might not either. But it doesn’t really matter.
A.O. Scott, New York Times

Bill & Ted Face The Music doesn’t find its rhythm until [its] two storylines converge an hour in, which means that this 88-minute movie is basically over before it really begins.
Katie Rife, AV Club

The movie is overstuffed with too many bad ideas that are sloppily executed. And the end result is an uninspired mess.
Carla Hay, Culture Mix

Considering the writers had decades to tinker with the screenplay, the story is surprisingly labored.
Mara Reinstein, Us Weekly

Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted Face the Music

(Photo by ©Orion Pictures)

Is it heartwarming?

The secret ingredient, as in all these films, is the open-heartedness with which it embraces the journey.
Angie Han, Mashable

There’s not a mean bone in all of this series, and the sense of sweetness that continues to carry through means more to these films than people may realize.
Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

For a movie in which the world could end at any moment, Bill & Ted Face the Music is awfully sweet and cheery.
Steve Pond, The Wrap

Bill & Ted Face The Music has more heart than the previous two movies… this sequel [reaches] a tender spot that wouldn’t have been expected at the end of Bogus Journey.
Sean O’Connell, CinemaBlend

But is it funny?

Face the Music does know how to be funny. Perhaps not a film full of huge laugh moments, but there’s a charm here I was happy to pick up on.
Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

Time spent with Bill and Ted now may not always be gut-bustingly hilarious, but it’s comfy and familiar.
Luke Y. Thompson, Superhero Hype

The movie’s so intent on rushing along that the barrage of jokes grow fuzzy and indistinct in the third act.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire

Anthony Carrigan is just exceptionally funny.
Jimmy O, JoBlo

How’s the music?

The high point of the movie is a harpsichord and Stratocaster duet played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Jimi Hendrix, a nicely conceived and executed demonstration of how genius recognizes genius.
A.O. Scott, New York Times

The universe-saving song has a bouncy hook I’ve been humming throughout the writing of this review.
Dana Stevens, Slate

The movie has painted itself into a corner, because they’ve gotta play the song but no song can be so bodacious that it instantly unites the world.
Steve Pond, The Wrap

Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted Face the Music

(Photo by Patti Perret/©Orion Pictures)

Should they make more Bill & Ted movies?

Face the Music is probably the last Bill & Ted movie we’ll get, and it makes the trilogy most triumphant.
Matt Goldberg, Collider

I’m not sure if this will kick off a new franchise with the daughters but if so, I’m all in.
Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish Conjurings

Is this the best movie for the moment?

Bill & Ted Face the Music is the movie that 2020 needs.
Rachel Leishman, The Mary Sue

Bill & Ted Face The Music is the movie we need right now.
Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto

Face the Music has a good message about the healing power of music and the comforting simplicity of friendship, and comes at a time when the world could use some good vibes.
Adam Graham, The Detroit News

In its way, this closing chapter of the Bill & Ted trilogy is an allegory for the status of Gen Xers in the dystopic landscape of 2020.
Dana Stevens, Slate

This is the movie we really can use right now.
Jimmy O, JoBlo

Bill & Ted Face the Music opens in select theaters on August 28.

Thumbnail image by ©Orion Pictures

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