After thirty-six years, Tom Cruise’s ace pilot Maverick is back on the big screen in Joseph Kosinski’s long-awaited Top Gun: Maverick, but was the sequel worth the wait? Coming from someone who liked but didn’t love the original Top Gun (I promise I’m not just saying that to sound edgy or cool), I’ve got to say that Top Gun: Maverick is a far superior film in almost every way. I would even go as far as to say that Top Gun: Maverick isn’t just a better movie than the original, it’s one of the most entertaining and undeniably awesome action films that I’ve ever experienced in a cinema.
In Top Gun: Maverick, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. Training a detachment of graduates for a special assignment, Maverick must confront the ghosts of his past and his deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who choose to fly it.
Top Gun: Maverick manages to fly where most films fall. The film gives fans of the original everything they want to see, topless beach scene included, but the film never falls into the trap of relying entirely on nostalgia and cheap throwbacks to tell its story. While Top Gun: Maverick certainly has a few throwbacks to the original, the film still manages to tell an interesting, emotional and exhilarating story. Tom Cruise has said throughout the press tour that he waited thirty-six years and turned down countless pitches waiting for the perfect story to tell, and after watching Top Gun: Maverick, it’s hard not to believe him. What could have been just another nostalgia-filled, forgettable sequel has turned out to be one of the most original and entertaining blockbusters of the decade.
Now let’s talk about the aspect of this film that everyone really wants to talk about…the flying! Honestly, it’s so difficult to put into words how exhilarating the flying scenes are in this movie. Without going into specifics, there are multiple sequences, particularly in the third act, that will have you on the edge of your seat with your jaw planted firmly on the ground. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the flying sequences is the fact that throughout the movie it really feels like you’re sitting in the cockpit with Maverick, watching as he pushes the limits of what these incredible machines are able to do. I’ll never understand how Cruise manages to convince studio execs to let him do these outrageous things, but in this case having Cruise in the cockpit allowed the film to deliver sequences and breathtaking shots that would be impossible to create otherwise.
Filmmaker Joseph Kosinski directs Top Gun: Maverick with the cockiness of Tom Cruise himself, delivering outrageous spectacle and bold storytelling. More impressive than the spectacle, however, is the way in which Kosinski is able to balance the mind-blowing air sequences with the emotional narrative at the centre of the film. Top Gun: Maverick has an extremely emotional core, and Kosinski never seems to sacrifice an emotional beat in exchange for another flashy sequence.
Tom Cruise is in top form here, delivering a shockingly grounded and emotional performance that is unlike anything we’ve seen from the actor in decades. Cruise brings a great deal of humanity to Maverick, putting a character filled with pain and retreat on display. if you walk into this movie hoping to see the same cocky Maverick that you met the first time around you won’t be disappointed, but I expect you’ll walk out more impressed by the emotional and human side of Cruise’s performance. As for the supporting cast, Miles Teller offers a powerful performance as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, who plays into the narrative in a really interesting and exciting way. Jennifer Connelly as Penny, Glenn Powell as “Hangman” and Jon Hamm as “Cyclone” offer memorable performances, although they are given considerably less to do than Cruise and Teller.
In terms of visuals, Top Gun: Maverick is one of the most shocking and breathtaking movies in recent memory. The simple fact that these are actual jets flying in the sky, and not something created on a computer, gave Kosinski and cinematographer Claudio Miranda to opportunity to create some truly phenomenal imagery. The opening sequence alone, which I won’t spoil here, is one of the most beautiful sequences I’ve seen in the cinema in a long time, and it’s just one of countless shots that made me sit back in absolute awe.
Overall, Top Gun: Maverick is a movie that will almost certainly go down as one of cinemas most impressive and entertaining sequels. Director Joseph Kosinski, Tom Cruise and everyone involved with this film have come together to create an unforgettable experience that’s got to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
About Top Gun: Maverick
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm
Synopsis: After more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. Training a detachment of graduates for a special assignment, Maverick must confront the ghosts of his past and his deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who choose to fly it.