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'Bill & Ted' Redux Doesn't Wallow In Nostalgia... And It Works

I was 10 years old when Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure came out, so, naturally, I loved it. But nostalgia is blinding, and when I heard about Bill & Ted Face the Music, the first time we’ve seen these characters in 30 years, I just hoped they wouldn’t screw anything up, knowing that I’d like it to some degree just because it’s Bill and Ted.


I didn’t expect to like it this much.


It succeeds precisely because it doesn’t wallow in nostalgia. It pays homage to the earlier movies and is full of their goofy charm and humor, but it’s not just a replay of “Bill and Ted’s greatest hits.” This new film shows us the logical progression of where these guys would actually be three decades later—this sounds a little crazy, but it’s kind of… believable.


Bill and Ted, of course, were supposed to unite humanity through their most triumphant music, but now they’re in their mid-40s, they haven’t saved the world, and the world is getting worse. We shouldn’t be surprised, they were terrible musicians, but we were supposed to believe that would change. It hasn’t. And let’s be honest, they never had it in them. They’ve spent decades struggling to figure it out, and at this point, their saving grace is that they each have a wonderful daughter who is far more intelligent and capable than either man could ever be.


But whatever their flaws, Bill and Ted are genuinely decent dudes who just want to do their best. That they don’t know how to do that isn’t really their fault. And so we see the frustration and bewilderment that these two men, specifically, would experience at not fulfilling what they thought was their destiny. But, as we know, their core tenet has always been, “Be excellent to each other,” and from this, they don’t waver.


Bill & Ted Face the Music respects who Bill and Ted really are—and also that, deep down, it’s all just a ton of fun. This obviously won’t be the best movie of 2020, but it’s pretty sure to be the one that makes me feel the best.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.