Written by Jack Ransom
Lega-sequels have been substantially present in blockbuster cinema for some time now. For example: Harrison Ford returning to all three of his most iconic franchises (Blade Runner, Indiana Jones & Star Wars), just within the last year The Matrix Resurrections, Scream & Spider-Man: No Way Home followed up on the pop culture icons of the past and currently Ewan McGregor is back on our screens as Obi-Wan. Soon we'll even get the original gang from 1993 who will take on the dinos again in Jurassic World: Dominion. With all of this heavily nostalgic material in the limelight, now truly is the perfect time for Maverick to take to the skies again.
Maverick returns back to the big screen for the first time in over 35 years. Top Gun: Maverick sees Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) return to where he belongs: pushing the envelope as a test pilot and avoiding an advancement in rank that would cut his wings. He is put in charge of a team of graduates, to train them for a special assignment.
Simultaneously homaging and paying tribute to its iconic pop culture staple predecessor (a sun drenched volleyball scene, a shot for shot recreation of certain sequences and instantly recognisable iconography and sound queues) with a more serious tone due to the overarching theme of time moving forward and Maverick’s place and legacy in this world, due to the rise and efficiency of technology. Top Gun: Maverick is paced well and balances the character drama and relationships (minus the non-mention of Kelly McGillis’ non-appearance) effectively, with a matured Maverick’s approach to life and a sweet, playful romance with Jennifer Connelly’s Penny making for a suitable switch up. However the core of the film’s drama is the fantastic tension between Maverick and Rooster (Miles Teller), who happens to be the son of the late Goose, Maverick’s best friend and wingman. With the former still haunted by the memories of that day and the latter holding Maverick wholly responsible.
The action is staggeringly well put together and presented. The CGI, real practical effects and stunt work are seamlessly integrated. The cockpit POV’s really put you in the zone with the pilots and make you feel the thrashing, twisting and turning of the speed and harsh movements. The dogfights are fierce and the overarching mission objective itself is an immediate tension setter. Though Tony Scott’s instantly visual flair is certainly scattered throughout, the visual style is a much grounded affair with Cruise’s later Mission: Impossible’s & Ford v. Ferrari springing to mind.
Cruise clearly enjoyed returning to the role (despite his initial doubts about ever doing a sequel). His cocky charm and wit is still palpable (though with less snarkier arrogance) and he delivers in the heavier more emotional moments with genuine sincerity. Miles Teller not only looks like Goose, but brings an embittered edge to his performance, though there is also undeniable respect conveyed to Maverick. Jennifer Connelly may not get too much to do here, but her presence lights up the screen whenever she appears. John Hamm delivers a stern and snappy performance. New cadet standout is Glen Powell as the arrogant and overconfident “Hangman” and lastly Val Kilmer’s return as “Iceman” is handled respectfully and will please fans no doubt.
Top Gun: Maverick is pure blockbuster joy that will take your breath away. It is imperative that it be seen on the biggest screen possible. The flight sequences are astonishing, Cruise
wholeheartedly proves his dedication to the craft once again, the new cast members all deliver and the emotional core of the story is a very fitting one.