REVIEW – “Top Gun: Maverick”

Tom Cruise Hive Rise Up

We’re going right into the danger zone… again? Tom Cruise is America’s last movie star and a crazy one at that. There is close to nothing this man won’t do to entertain an audience. The rare action filmmaker (yes I said filmmaker) who actively contributes to the canon of cinema. You can’t tell the story of film without Tom Cruise. His latest entry is that of “Top Gun: Maverick”, a sequel to the beloved “Top Gun”. Maverick picks up 30 years after the first where we find Pete “Maverick” Mitchell still riding high, now as a test pilot. An insubordinate Maverick is reassigned to now teach at the Top Gun school, only this time it’s for an impossibly real and deadly mission. “Top Gun: Maverick” is an incredibly faithful and reverent sequel, keeping the thrill and heart of the first while grounding it in the present.

Joseph Kosinski directs this with a fury. “Top Gun: Maverick” is religious in scope. With sweeping shots, beautifully choreographed sequences, and light that appears to be sent from God, Maverick explodes onto the screen. Kosinksi is able to keep the spirit of the first film alive while adding a great deal of depth and genuine heart to the continuation. He clearly holds a great deal of respect for the original but is able to do his own thing here. The original is quite a goofy and dated film, but a classic nonetheless. Kosinksi keeps the scale and tone of the first but makes it feel all the more real. It’s a classic “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again”

Cruise shines as Maverick once again. The stunts are real and the heroics even more so. He’s a movie star, even if his personal life is a bit… odd. Miles Teller does a great job here too and the pair have amazing chemistry. Several classic players return this time around. Ed Harris is a great presence as always and a very loving sequence featuring Val Kilmer brought a tear to my eye. Jon Hamm is a great addition, as well as the ever-so-charming Glen Powell. This film gives me “Booksmart” vibes, featuring an incredible ensemble we’re sure to see more of in the coming years. Lewis Pullman, Monica Barbaro, Jay Ellism, Manny Jacinto, and Danny Ramirez… I’ll be seeing you around.

On a technical level, “Top Gun: Maverick” is a triumph. Dazzling and frankly mind-boggling set pieces fill the screen and deliver a thrill only a Tom Cruise film can. The score is very fitting the cinematography is gorgeous. While it might not have the same pizzazz as the first, Cruise and company deliver a more than worthy sequel. 4/5

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