The finale to the Pitch Perfect trilogy is here and although Pitch Perfect 3 doesn’t recapture the same magic of the first film entirely I feel like it gives the franchise a good sendoff as it provides most of what you expect from a Pitch Perfect entry. In this story we follow the Bellas once again as after some time apart they come together for an overseas reunion tour where they face off against new musical groups that use instruments as well as their aca-awesome voices. Pretty much the entire group of characters are back for this entry aside from the love interests in Pitch Perfect 2 played by Adam DeVine and Skylar Astin which I like as they just wouldn’t fit within this story. It is directed by Trish Sie who is new to the franchise but does a good job at understanding what people want from the franchise and delivering on that, plus it helps that Kay Cannon wrote the screenplay as she did with the previous films.
As far as the story goes it doesn’t try to change up the formula that much and predominantly sticks to the usual formula where you have the Bellas do multiple performances against competing groups and you get the emotional side of things here and there. I feel like that benefits the film greatly as drastically changing the structure isn’t going to do anything to bring in a new audience at this point, so it’s best to play to the intended audience and that’s exactly what it does. It hits many familiar plot points from 1 and 2 but the humour and subtle emotional subplots do enough to where it doesn’t feel like a complete rehash of past material. The comedy is what you’d expect, not all of it hits but there’s some silly stuff in there and some well executed laugh-out-loud moments. I was never bored by this movie (I mean with Hailee Steinfeld on screen how can you be) but there is a subplot in here that appears in a number of comedies and is absolutely not needed. The dramatic elements of the plot I liked and didn’t slow anything down at all. I still don’t know why comedies feel the need to have a “suspenseful” crime-related subplot, all it does is distract the film from its real focus and it really isn’t that interesting at all. So aside from that I like the way the plot progresses.
The Bellas and their group chemistry is what makes this franchise so enjoyable when no-one is singing. There is a large variety of characters and personalities that have a number of great interactions and all of the performers in here understand their characters and play it well. Anna Kendrick is still the lead in here and she still does a good job at being the most level-headed member of the group. Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy gets more screen-time in this one and sometimes it’s good, sometimes not so much but she provides some pretty funny moments. Hailee Steinfeld is also good in here although I’d have liked to have seen her even more in the forefront but you get what you get. Everyone else is somewhat less in the spotlight but they are all there and they have their moments to where you can’t really forget any of them. Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are included in this movie and rightfully so because a Pitch Perfect film without their classic banter just wouldn’t be much of a Pitch Perfect film. Another odd thing they do in this movie is they show a scene from later on as the cold open and then cut back to the present time. It’s jarring and doesn’t add anything to the story, so it’s just a really odd decision.
But people show up to this movie for the music and the musical numbers and they’re just as fantastic as the first film. I like the song choices more-so than the second film and will most definitely be listening to these acapella versions of hit songs a number of times in the coming days. They’re very fun scenes and if you are a fan of the franchise you are going into the film for these sequences and you will not be disappointed because they are very upbeat and by far the most entertaining moments.
So in the end Pitch Perfect 3 I like better than Pitch Perfect 2 but it does fall short of Pitch Perfect which I expected because the first film was so fresh that I doubt it can be entirely recaptured. This gives the Bellas a great sendoff that doesn’t do anything to bring in new fans but will most definitely please existing fans, myself included. If it wasn’t for the questionable inclusion of a not-so-exciting subplot this could have been higher but for the finale to this franchise I like what I got.
Interesting to hear from a reviewer who liked it. Matt and I had the complete opposite reaction, but I can see your points. I also missed Adam Devine.