Edgar Wright's movies are known for upending their supposed genres. Shaun of the Dead was a romantic zombie horror comedy, The World's End was an apocalyptic sci-fi slice of life comedy, Hot Fuzz was an over-the-top violent buddy cop action comedy, and his newest film, Baby Driver, is a shoot 'em up action comedy heist film that's filled with songs. The movie is basically overflowing with musical numbers, but is Baby Driver a musical?
Kind of, but not in the traditional sense. Generally, in a musical, the characters on screen sing the songs as a way to propel the narrative (like in La La Land or Beauty and the Beast). The characters don't sing in Baby Driver, so it's definitely not a musical if you're going by the strict definition. However, even if the characters themselves are not actually breaking out into song, the film's music still drives the plot. The movie's protagonist, getaway driver Baby, suffers from tinnitus and listens to music constantly to drown out the noise. These songs function as more than the mere soundtrack to the movie — they help tell the story. Many times throughout the film, the songs describe what's happening on screen, or the film's action is choreographed to go along with the music (the movie was actually written around the music). Think Guardians of the Galaxy, but on a much larger scale as the film includes a whopping 35 songs.
And although the characters don't sing, they do lots of other stuff you might see in a musical. There's a bit of dancing, some lip syncing, air piano playing, and the occasional lyric tossed about here and there. There are also a number of noises made by the characters that are meant to coincide with the music, like gun shots and doors slamming, that create a chorus of sound within the action itself that would make the film sound melodious even without the background music playing.
Baby Driver is not a musical in the traditional sense, but it's definitely a musical film, and anyone who enjoys movies that are filled with songs will no doubt have a ball watching this one.