Top Gun: Maverick
review by Bobby Blakey
While Tom Cruise has been a major box office star for years with his biggest franchise being Mission Impossible. Before he took on the role of Ethan Hunt he was best known as Maverick from the 1986 film Top Gun. For years they have been talking about a sequel but for the longest time it appeared it was never going to happen, but that all changed when it was announced that filming had begun. The follow up film titled Top Gun: Maverick features a great supporting cast including Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Val Kilmer, Miles Teller, and Ed Harris. Could this next chapter fly high enough to deliver or will it fail to take flight?
Top Gun: Maverick follows Pete “Maverick” Mitchell who after more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw, call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose”. Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.
I admit that I have never been a fan of the original Top Fun, but have come to appreciate it more over the years. Outside of the in-flight action not much really happens in that film and the love story is so forced it just never worked for me. That being said heading into this one I wasn’t overly excited, but thought the trailers looked great. I must say that not only did
I love this flick, I think it actually makes the original better and gives it more depth getting to see more of Maverick’s career.
This film takes the similar formula of Creed connecting it to the original, but make no mistake this is still very much Cruise’s movie. He isn’t sidelined to make room for the younger cast, they are here to enhance his journey. The connection and conflicts between Maverick and Rooster are a nice touch even though some might not feel the reasoning behind their issues isn’t overly powerful. Cruise and Teller are great together and bring a deep connection that just works to make it all come together. The same can be said for the relationship building between Cruise and Connelly that is a much more believable relationship than the first movie.
Cruise steps right back into the role with the same cocky attitude, but with a sense of growth and struggle from the events of not only the first movie, but life since. He is not as one dimensional as he is in the original movie due to those events and in turn has made the character something more. The other return to the franchise is Iceman himself Val Kilmer that was teased in the trailer and while I will not say how he is used to the story I will say it might be some of the best sequences of the film outside of the action.
Of course you can’t have Top Gun without the jet fighter action and there is plenty. They did some crazy stuff using mostly all practical effects to step up the game of aerial action and it paid off. It is intense and a blast to watch with you often times right inside the cockpit and feeling what it’s like to get in on the action. There are a ton of elements that are direct nods to the original and sometimes copycats, but it mirrors what fans no doubt loved. To me it didn’t feel like just a cash grab sequel which is often the case, but instead a love letter to the original and action packed new direction to make it all worthy of its legacy.
Even if you have watched the original numerous times or never I highly recommend watching the original film as close to screening this new one to make it work even better and help you catch all the little things that bring them together.
In addition to the film this release is offering up bonus content including trailer, featurettes and so much more. Feel the need for speed once again with Top Gun: Maverick available now on digital and on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on November 1st from Paramount Home Entertainment.