Rating: 12a Cast: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer and Glen Powell. Directed by Joseph Kosinski. Written by Peter Craig, Justin Marks, Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie. Length: 130mins.
Thirty-six years after Top Gun was released and became a smash hit, Tom Cruise is back doing what he does best – flashing his superstar smile and jumping into an aircraft for this brand new blockbuster that doesn’t fail to take your breath away. Top Gun: Maverick re-joins our hero – Naval captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, not quite where we left him at the end of the first movie. He’s still flying, he’s still fast and he’s still unapologetically himself. He’s recalled to Top Gun, to train the Navy’s best young aviators for an almost impossible, dangerous and time sensitive mission. While the mission is a challenge in itself, Maverick has to face (and train) the son of his ex-wingman and best friend ‘Goose’ as well as reuniting with an old flame…
What is so wonderful about this film is that the original was a perfect standalone – it didn’t need a sequel, it was so well rounded just as it was and was released in a time where it was much more common to release a film on its own. BUT, come 2022…delayed ever so slightly due to Covid:19 the sequel lands and it is almost perfect. It embodies just the right amount of nostalgia and reference to the original, the plot is interesting and exciting – different to ‘Top Gun’ but is so well thought out and fitting with the first film. I just think it’s so difficult to create a really great sequel full stop, but to manage to create a sequel over 30 years later and for a film that no one expected a sequel for seems like an impossible task and the creative team nailed it.
I don’t know enough about how much Tom Cruise was involved, other than I expect him to have been the driving force and quite frankly he deserves a pat on the back. This film released at the perfect time, bringing audiences of all ages back into cinemas and reminding folk what watching motion pictures on the big screen, as they were designed, is all about.
Tom Cruise doesn’t drop a beat with his Maverick; I expect the initial role was so important to him and he seems to pick the character straight back up with ease. The casting was perfect. Particularly in the selection of Miles Teller as ‘Rooster’. Not only does Teller look like his fictional father but he brings really authentic emotion. This character ‘feels’ so much in this film and is really going through all sorts while still competing to be selected for this mission and Teller nails it. It’s really quite wonderful to watch the character develop and grow in confidence throughout the movie and see his relationships change with him. Jennifer Connelly plays the beautiful, confident bar owner Penny who, of course, captures the eye (and heart) of Maverick. My only slight comment here was that the romantic element wasn’t really necessary. It’s nice – it’s well performed, it breaks up the story a bit and of course the romantics are there for it but it didn’t progress the plot. Maybe I’m scraping the barrel for criticism, but that’s all I’ve got!
Top Gun: Maverick is simply, a brilliant piece of cinema. Everyone should watch it, at least once, on the big screen. It has a relatively short running time but it holds its audiences from the first moment and doesn’t drop them.