Review: Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Directed by: Joseph Kosinski | 131 minutes | action, drama | Actors: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Bashir Salahuddin, Jon Hamm, Charles Parnell, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Glen Powell, Jack Schumacher, Manny Jacinto, Kara Wang, Greg Tarzan Davis

Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell tests supersonic planes against the will of a cranky admiral who wants to deploy on unmanned flights. If Mitchell goes against direct orders, he expects to be fired. To his surprise, he ends up back at his old employer: the so-called “TOP GUN” training school. It turns out not without reason, because there is a very secret and dangerous mission waiting for him. Maverick’s assignment is to get a group of young pilots ready to fly the mission. Of the twelve flyers, he must choose six. In the meantime, he also tries to win over his old flame Penny again.

Tom Cruise returns after 36 years in one of his most recognizable roles as the unconventional Maverick. No trace of beloved Charlie (Kelly McGillis) from the earlier film, but instead Jennifer Connelly is roped in to play Penny. Maverick continues to be haunted by the death of his best friend “Goose” (Anthony Edwards, who appears in flashbacks). He still hasn’t come to terms with his tragic death. Goose has left a son, who has followed in his father’s footsteps and is one of the selected candidates for the secret mission. This “Rooster” (Miles Teller) resembles his father in many ways and has never forgiven Maverick for trying to sabotage his fledgling career.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ gets something quite rare in the movie industry: a sequel that’s much better than the original. In 1986, ‘Top Gun’ is the highest grossing film of the year in the United States. despite poor reviews. Rising stars Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer are fierce rivals in a film overdosed on narcissism, testosterone – and scenes described by many as ‘homorotic’. It is in many ways a feature film commercial for the United States armed forces. The film score is also very successful: the song “Take my breath away” by Berlin is high in the charts all over the world. For this film, the makers have also attracted Lady Gaga to make new songs. It remains to be seen whether the song ‘Hold my hand’ also sticks.

Where ‘Top Gun’ already had spectacular flying scenes, which provided a big rush of adrenaline for the viewers, with ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ the superlative is found. The characters spend quite a bit of time in the air and it all looks fantastic. Visually, the film is overwhelming, as a viewer you are taken into the cockpit and you sometimes get the feeling that you are sitting in the pilot’s seat. Cruise is completely in his element. In his private life, he is a trained pilot and he is visibly enjoying himself as soon as he lowers himself into his seat and throws himself into the air from the runway.

The story is fairly straightforward, but manages to captivate from start to finish in the hands of director Joseph Kosinski, who strikes a fine balance between the acrobatics with the F-14s and how Maverick tries to take his own life take a dive. Maverick’s longtime rival Tom Kazansky, nicknamed “Iceman” is now Admiral of the Pacific Fleet and actor Val Kilmer also returns in this old role. Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer before shooting, which the makers also incorporated into the story. It leads to a beautiful and emotional scene between Cruise and Kilmer.

The sequel has a long lead time. There was already talk of a sequel around 2012, but director Tony Scott took his own life and the ideas were shelved again. The recordings were finished in 2019, but the premiere was postponed a number of times due to the corona pandemic. However, the long wait is rewarded with a hugely entertaining film full of breathtaking battle scenes. There are no grand plot twists or inventive filmmaking, but the film packs you in and takes you on a ride of just over two hours that will keep you entertained through and through. See the film on the largest screen possible with the latest techniques for the ultimate viewing experience.

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