Top Gun: Maverick
The opening sequence is a callback to the original Top Gun with planes flying off aircraft carriers while the sun sets to the classic Kenny Loggins “Danger Zone.” At this moment you know you’re in for a special treat of cinema. Joseph Kosinski directs Top Gun: Maverick, with Tom Cruise reprising his role as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who is now a Navy test pilot working in the Mojave Desert. Maverick still has the “need for speed” as he attempts to push the limits by reaching Mach 10 for the first time.
Once this stunt has been pulled off, Rear Admiral Kane (Ed Harris) sarcastically reminds Maverick how he never obeys the rules and should be fired. However, they need him to go back to the Top Gun program since Mav’s former rival turned best friend Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer) – now an admiral and commander of the Pacific Fleet, reassigns Maverick to train the incoming class of elite Top Gun graduates at Fighter Weapons School in San Diego. In a complicated, almost impossible mission that involves blowing up a uranium enrichment plant. The mission will require not one but “two consecutive miracles.” Of course, if anyone can train this elite class of fighters, it’s Tom Cruises’ Maverick.
The situation becomes complicated when Maverick learns that the class includes Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s late best friend Goose. Maverick has always blamed himself for Goose’s death which puts him in a dilemma when Rooster finds out Maverick has prevented Rooster from furthering his career. Maverick promised Rooster’s mother before she passed that he’d keep him safe and not let history repeat itself. Even though this is a massive action blockbuster, the film’s highlight is how their complicated relationship unfolds. The relationship felt authentic as they go through several ups and downs; as the story progresses, Mav must find a way to resolve the past for the sake of Roosters’ future.
The flight sequences are jaw-dropping. The fact they use practical effects of actual flying rather than a green screen makes this film special. The aerial combat is way more breathtaking this time around. The action sequences are stunning. They are edited to make them look believable while being more physical and choreographed as the sound design meshes perfectly, creating some of the most exhilarating scenes. The actors in the cock pits convince you they’re going through the ropes.
The script hits all the emotional beats I wasn’t prepared for; this is a Top Gun movie, after all. I laughed, I gripped my seat and teared up during the emotional scenes watching two fantastic actors chew the scenery. Top Gun: Maverick blows out the original by miles but does a great job respecting Tony Scott’s original version.
I loved Maverick’s arch in this. He’s more responsible, but he still can’t help defying authority. Instead of being too cool and cocky this time around, Mav teaches his students that knowledge and preparation are the key traits for success. The film has a nice message about growth and the change of perspective that comes with life experiences.
I shouldn’t be the one to tell you to watch this on the biggest screen possible with the loudest sound and with a packed audience because this is such an exhilarating film you must see in IMAX. Top Gun: Maverick is made by Top Gun fans for Top Gun fans. It’s a spectacle that fires on all cylinders while also being 70% Less sweaty than the original one…