Top Gun: Maverick – Movie Review!

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

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Mission Impossible – Fallout: Movie Review

Potential spoilers

12A, 2 hours & 27 minutes, 2018, thriller adventure movie. Tom Cruise returns to grace us with his latest mission, teaming up with Henry Cavill (Superman), Ving Rhames (Dawn of the Dead, Mission Impossible) and Simon Pegg (Mission impossible Rogue Nation, Shaun of the Dead).

Grossing $791.1 million and directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

This film in my opinion was not as good as Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. It did not deliver the thrills or as much action. There is a good, speedy and action filled start, but then the story turns to the past, taking previous characters and unnecessarily bringing them back. Henry Cavill was a welcome addition and turning out to be the bad guy made it so much better. The acting overall by all the cast was average. The stunts, of which it appeared there were few, were not as mind blowing as you’d think. A motorbike chase scene and skydiving scene into a giant party were the highlights along with the helicopter chase at the end of the movie.

It would have been better to use a more real threat. Nuclear bombs are at the heart of fallout, and to its detriment. At least in the previous films, they have used biological weapons to good success because they can be release often and more easily, whereas a nuclear bomb can’t simple be thrown around. Tom Cruise is no longer young, he is still doing his own stunts, considering how much he gets paid that’s a good thing, but I can’t help see his huge ego blocking the action because he just happens to be cocky in everything he does. I used to like his mission impossible films, but now, I say end it there.

There is a sequel planned for 2021 and supposedly another movie after that! Let’s hope the next movie is more fulfilling than this. It’s not awful, it’s just boring for long stretches with very stiffly acted scenes that add little to the plot. So, when action scenes takes effect, we are recovering from sleep, at least I was. As a long time fan, I thought the movies got better and better, but the peak is and will be Rogue Nation for me.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

American Made: Review

Tom Cruise is back, and in American Made, a tale supposedly based on the real life story of pilot Barry Seal, who worked as a smuggler for the CIA and Cartel.

I went into the movie with an open mind and a rather optimistic mind set, because to me a Tom Cruise film is bound to be good, isn’t it? I have to say for the quality of the story and the overall acting and character depth, the film falls flat.

At no point in the movie did I feel like the characters cared or had struggles, I didn’t even feel like Barry Seal cared when he was threatened with prison and by the drug lords he double crosses. There just wasn’t enough private time and character building to make them believable. The acting was decent itself, but had the actors been directed a little better or at least tried to portray their roles more realistically, then the film could have made a empathetic impression.

The story, as interesting as the premise is, also hits the mark of boring. It is a pilot, who spends his time flying, things happen for no reason, such as the recruiting of other pilots whom just turn up, and quick shots of situations that could have been slowed down. Comedy is there but not strong enough to bring the movie out of the documentary style film that this is. There was one scene, where Barry Seal is flying and is intercepted by the authorities, he makes an emergency landing on a road and crashes into a house. Appearing from the crash covered in cocaine, he tosses a wad of cash at the child whom stands in shock. This scene, although brief, actually brought some tension to the character and showed how this man was really a ‘fugitive’ and that his decision to break the law was perhaps the wrong one.

There is the wife, the children of Barry, who are neglected throughout and her brother, who ends up bringing more trouble. It feels like a documentary bordering on a reality show.

I want to praise it because there are good mixes of comedy and drama, good acting and a strong potential for an awesome film. I can’t though, because I felt like the film was a brief and not very memorable flashback of someone who ends up dead anyway.

I’m crediting the strengths generously:

Action: 2/5

Drama: 2.5/5

Acting: 4/5

Overall 2.5/5