'Top Gun: Maverick' Review: Tom Cruise delivers an exhilarating sequel filled with nostalgia
In 2017, Tom Cruise stunned the world when he publicly announced that ‘Top Gun 2’ is officially happening. Since that very day, people just could not wait to see Cruise flying a fighter jet once again. But it hasn’t been an easy ride for the sequel and it faced a lot of obstacles before its release. However, the time has come to “feel the need for speed” because the sequel titled ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ has finally been released on the big screen and it’s going to definitely blow your mind.
After seeing it on the biggest screen possible, I realized why Cruise never wanted to hurry with another ‘Top Gun’ movie. The original 1986 movie opened to mixed responses. However, it was a huge commercial success and gained prominence as time went by. It was known for its amazing aerial sequences, classic one-liners, and extraordinary music. So, it doesn’t come as a shock that the ‘Mission: Impossible’ star wanted the sequel to be perfect as well and when you leave the theatre after watching the film, you’ll realize that you just had the most thrilling movie-watching experience in a long, long time.
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So, the movie starts 33 years after the events of the original movie and Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is now a naval test pilot. He has purposely dodged advancement in rank to continue flying and doesn't want to retire. However, his life is changed when his long-time friend and now Commander of the US Pacific Fleet Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), orders him to train an elite group of ‘Top Gun’ graduates for a special mission. Among them is Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s late best friend Nick “Goose” Bradshaw.
The premise mainly focuses on the unique training methods that Maverick uses to train the graduates, but it also beautifully touches upon the bittersweet relationship between Maverick and Rooster. Rooster still hasn’t forgiven Maverick for his father’s death and pulling his papers from the Navy when he first applied for admission. The conflict between Maverick and Rooster has been explored magnificently in the film.
Meanwhile, the most remarkable part of the movie is undoubtedly the aerial sequences. This time, every aerial sequence seems much more immersive than the original. Every time the actors sit inside those extraordinary machines, you feel like you are really in the cockpit with these pilots. The cast went through rigorous training and flew actual planes before they started filming. All the footage that has been shot inside these planes will blow your mind and it’s so amazing that most of this footage was actually shot by the actors who were flying those jets. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
Maverick’s training with Rooster, Hangman (Glen Powell), Phoenix (Monica Barbaro), Bob (Lewis Pullman), Payback (Jay Ellis), Fanboy (Danny Ramirez), and Coyote (Greg Tarzan Davis) is visually exciting and nerve-wracking. However, the film’s last act takes the movie to a whole new level, a level that won’t be matched in the near future.
Tom Cruise has given another phenomenal performance as Maverick. He is a fierce leader and does all the work in his own unique ways. The superstar has nothing left to prove after working in the industry for more than three decades, but he continues to be a force to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, Jennifer Connelly as Penny is a treat to watch. She is as elegant as she was in her younger years and her acting skills are unmatched. Her chemistry with Cruise is pure bliss.
However, my heart stopped when I saw Val Kilmer finally making an appearance in the movie. It was emotional and even though, he just speaks three lines in the movie, those three lines turn out to be the most decisive ones for Maverick. Cruise’s decision to not make ‘Top Gun’ sequel without Kilmer was extraordinary and the scene where these two characters meet will leave some tears in your eyes.
The other cast members – Teller, Barbaro, Powell, Pullman, Ellis, Ramirez, and Davis – are brilliant in this movie. After ‘Whiplash’, this is Teller’s best work on screen. On the other hand, Jon Hamm (Cyclone), Charles Parnell (Warlock), and Bashir Salahuddin (Hondo) are amazing as well.
All in all, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is that action blockbuster that comes once in ten or twenty years. It is a marvel of a film that will take your breath away from the very first frame. Filled with nostalgia, the latest Tom Cruise-starrer takes you on a mind-blowing ride that will be remembered for many years.
See it on the biggest screen possible because movies like this don’t get made very often.