This review contains movie spoilers.
Top Gun: Maverick is from the start a complete and utter amazement of a movie. This is the man movie of the 21st century and a must see for anyone who likes planes, fighter jets, Tom Cruise, friendship and extremely actionable movie sequences involving life and death situations. Today, I had the pleasure of watching this unexpected gem of an action movie, welcome to the review!
It was rated at 97% by Rotten Tomatoes and at 78 by Metacritic.
The movie was directed by: Joseph Kosinski, and released on the 27th May 2022 in the United Kingdom. It has grossed $817.30 million dollars, and counting. Starring Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer and more! It is an action and drama movie. It runs at around 2 hours and 10 minutes.
“After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete Mitchell (Maverick) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot.”
Ladies and gentlemen I expected a copycat rehash and reboot, what I got was an interesting, action filled and feeling movie that really surprised me. It is not dragged out at all, and is always focused on the mission. Maverick (Cruise) is pulled from his edge of the seat role as aircraft test pilot where he pushes the limit until his superior Cain (Ed Harris) comes to pull him out and send him back to… TOPGUN. Maverick is assigned the task of teaching and training the class graduates of the Top Gun programme for a near impossible mission.
Of course this comes after a rollercoaster of an opening scene, which sees Maverick push an aircraft to mach 10, speeding round the atmosphere until he burns his aircraft up and ends up in the next shot walking into a bar and asking ‘where am I?’ to which a small child at the bar looks to a burned and ash covered face of Maverick and responds ‘earth.’ There are a few funny moments, but I didn’t find all of them funny like a lot of people, but they added humour in a way that diffuses any sad scenes, so the sad scenes don’t drag out too long. This film is positive, and has strong positive themes.
Maverick is now back to the training ground, back with old ‘friends,’ until he realises that one of the Top Gun graduates is Goose’s son, whom Maverick thinks still blames him for his fathers death. Throughout the movie we see that he is still struggling with Goose’s death and a big part of the movie, is forgiveness and acceptance and moving on. Maverick returns to Ice (Val Kilmer) now ailed and unable to speak, which reflects the actors real state, as Kilmer cannot speak anymore. He confesses before the deadly mission he cannot move on from Goose’s death, he doesn’t know how to. Of course, he and Rooster (Goose’s son) do have their differences, and they do get along, but Maverick is still conscious that he won’t ever be truly forgiven, or something like that.
During the training, the action of the movie cranks up, Maverick is shown what the top secret mission is, to target a small couple of feet vent and drop bombs, after navigating a small valley laden with SAMs. Training takes its toll, pushing the aircraft to the limit, pulling many Gs, pushing the Top Gun pilots to the limit. Rooster reminds Maverick of Goose to the point he pulls the young mans application to the navy academy because his mother didn’t want him to do it. I suppose the story has strong father and son tones, so it was fitting to watch it this father day.
It is the constant action in the training and the cool aerial shots and soundtrack that keep this movie at the top of its game. Maverick is not just an excellent fighter pilot, but he knows how to make the others the best too. That was why he was chosen. For this missions, of destroying a small target, it will take the best, and he selects 6 other people to do it, along with 6 on standby. Luckily nobody dies, but the training builds up in such a way to give the impression that someone will not make it out alive. Maverick suspects Rooster is not experienced or ready, yet decides to take him. It was nice to see Tom Cruise showing emotions on screen, shedding tears in his quest to move on, and this was what made me think ‘this is not just good acting, this is great acting,’ and you can really feel the emotions of all the characters.
The team are friends, are more than just pilots, this is a team and we get to feel connected to this group. There is 1 female out of the 12 selected, but I don’t think this detracted because she was in the main mission. But we move on and the mission is ready to begin, after 3 weeks of training, and crashes and near misses and intense dog fights. The main mission begins, and I couldn’t help but feel scared for them, they were extremely brave going into it, and Maverick, Tom Cruise acting is great. I felt like Maverick had the magic and more, years of experience making him the best of the best. It is all Hollywood blockbuster action, dropping bombs, intense dog fights, exploding bases, blowing up planes, losing flares, running low on fuel, being close to dying. This film kept me both entertained and on the edge of my seat.
I honestly believed in Maverick but suspected he would die, and he does get shot down after tackling rockets alone, but, to his aid comes Rooster, not only after he crashed but still as he was trying to retreat. Maverick after being shot down by these nameless enemies (I was unsure why nationality wasn’t disclosed unless it was out of fear of stoking tensions with eastern countries) Maverick is alive but forced to take shelter from a fighter helicopter, and here comes Rooster, who blows the chopper to pieces. It is amazing how good the scenes are, and the use of explosives. But Rooster is shot down, another heart wrenching moment, but of course the positive vibes of the movie meant he was still alive, and Maverick on his trail to show his hate of the youngster risking his life.
As we approach the end of the movie, Maverick and Rooster, on foot manage to penetrate the enemy base, and I had to hold my tongue because they slipped in, stole a jet and managed to take off on like 30 feet of concrete A little unbelievable but then again, the base was in chaos, destroyed and the enemy more concerned about other things. I thought that the action had been good so far with excellent shots of jets swerving the mountains and performing incredible aerial stunts but it didn’t last too long and when they escaped I kind of wanted them to be challenged. They were, as two new generation fighters get on their tail, an awesome dog fight ensues and luckily they are rescued by the standby crew, something that I found emotional. True bravery was demonstrated in this movie, and although fiction is likely not far off what real fighter pilots do.
So the movie comes to an end, we see Maverick back in his hangar fixing his aircraft, back to his place, and we get that happy ending. A film which didn’t drag on the sad things and kept us on our seats, fully immersed. Tom Cruise did well and I mean that, along with everyone else, it had a completely different feel than the first and is the first movie I have seen in a long time where I actually enjoyed every moment. I had my assumptions about a sequel, thinking it would be rubbish, but this movie really does stand alone, and does make references to the first movie, but it is done in such a way that they are merely flashbacks which have been used in movies before which didn’t even have a first movie.
Anyone who goes to the cinema should try this movie. RATING 5/5