Top Gun: Maverick Review – The Need for Speed Never Felt So Good

Top Gun: Maverick

Each of us has a film that became a window into our cinematic childhood. Recently, Hollywood has been cashing in on “requels” based on beloved films. However, when a long-gestating sequel to a popular movie has been in development hell for decades, things typically end up never happening. Enter Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun that has been pushed multiple times due to COVID-19. 

By all accounts, the film shouldn’t work. It relies heavily on nostalgia, especially its connections to the original Tony Scott film (characters and their relationships). Thankfully, it isn’t as in-your-face with it as other requel flicks. The story that Peter Craig and Justin Marks developed not only serves as a compelling and poignant continuation but retains the fun and action that made the original a classic. 

While it would’ve been easy to retread Top Gun for a new generation, they decided to go in the opposite direction. Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie give us a new, original story set within the Top Gun school. Bringing in the new blood not only kickstarts the torch passing but makes them characters that we root for. While new characters in a fan-favorite franchise are hit or miss, the cast of Maverick are excellent across the board.

Top Gun: Maverick is an emotionally satisfying flick that closes storylines from the first film. At the same time, Maverick finds fresh ways to pass the torch to a new generation of hotshot pilots.

Miles Teller is capable and exceptional and brings so much to the film. As “Rooster,” he’s engaging, likable, and charming. Not to mention, his journey of joining the team transforms into a unique story about family, legacy, and understanding. The latter is the most consistent theme as Kosinski explores the sense of coming to terms with the idea of sacrifice and understanding how heroes can be imperfect. The respective supporting cast also holds up excellently, with Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Jon Hamm, and Jennifer Connelly contributing heartfelt and lively performances.

Yet, it wouldn’t be Top Gun without the electrifying aerial battles. The original changed the game when it came to aerial sequences, and Maverick is no exception. Kosinski and Cruise’s decision to place the actors in the jets to get their facial expressions has paid dividends. These sequences add a sense of realism and anxiety during the various dogfights.

Overall, Top Gun: Maverick is an emotionally satisfying flick that closes storylines from the first film. At the same time, Maverick finds fresh ways to pass the torch to a new generation of hotshot pilots. Whether you love Top Gun or hate it, Top Gun: Maverick should be the blueprint for any and all requels moving forward. It has the right amount of nostalgia that perfectly complements the fresh, new storyline. Top Gun: Maverick will get you yearning for more of Maverick and his band of misfits. Dare I say that Maverick might even be better than the 1986 classic? Yes, I dare. 

Top Gun: Maverick hits theaters on May 27th.
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