Top Gun Maverick (2022)
PG-13 ‧ Action ‧ 2 Hours 17 Minutes
Written by Peter Craig; Justin Marks
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
(In their own words) After more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. Training a detachment of graduates for a special assignment, Maverick must confront the ghosts of his past and his deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who choose to fly it.
Top Gun Maverick is a film gushing with nostalgia of the first film while providing just enough new story to drive a new tale. Fans of the original will enjoy the many call backs including bars songs sung, Cruise cruising around on a motorcycle, beach sports scenes, and wise cracking arrogance.
The film succeeds on many levels, especially as a sequel. It takes the established character we know, shows us how things have been going since we last left off 30 years ago, and then furthers that character’s journey while reminding us of the ghosts of his past. As a sequel it is nearly perfect. This will likely go down as one of the top sequels ever done.
As an actor, Tom Cruise does a fine job playing the charismatic and rule-pushing Maverick. A man who is haunted by the loss of his best friend in the first film. Someone who seems two of not allowed himself to advance in his career, a sort of atonement or perhaps simply to make the loss worth it. If he can’t be the best, there was no reason for him ever to have pushed the limits that caused the accident.
There’s also an element of the film that is both a good choice and a weakness in the film. The “enemy” in the film is named as “Nato adversary” but they never name a country or allude to what it might be. Which works well in the sense that the film can now play anywhere and will work in any time period, but also kills the stakes for the film. Keeping the enemy faceless doesn’t give depth to the villain, and you need a good villain to make a great hero.
While I liked the film, I am struggling with all the glowing reviews of the film that I’ve read. I thought it was okay, not the best action film in years. The fighter aerials are truly outstanding, it’s not like this film is moving the genre forward in any way. I don’t see other filmmakers using this as a blueprint going forward. If anything, it just used the standard action film formulas that we are used to. The film was somewhat predictable, which I think adds to the comfort feelings we all have with it. It’s very familiar, because we’ve seen this film outline before. Maybe I simply lack the Top Gun DNA that seems to be embedded in most of film lovers. I really, really wish I could like this film as much as everyone else seems to, but I just don’t. I don’t dislike it, but I doubt I’d watch it again on my own.
Overall, Top Gun: Maverick works as a film and is well worth the viewing in IMAX. You need the optimal film quality to really appreciate Tom Cruise’s hair.
BEST things about the film
- Action flight sequences.
- Perfect blend of nostalgia of the first film while moving the film forward
- Loved that we dropped into the middle of his love interest’s story and didn’t play the exposition game with us. They just let it unfold to us and allowed us to discover their past as the scenes unfold.
- Tom Cruise’s hair.
The three WORST things about the Film
- Are there no Motorcycle helmet laws in this Top Gun world?
- While I think they made a smart move by not identifying an enemy country, it really killed the stakes with them fighting a faceless anonymous enemy. Why should I care.
- Pretty predictable.
It doesn’t matter how fast you go, you can’t outrun the ghosts of your past.
THE FINAL WORD
Probably one of the top film sequels made. While I did really enjoy it, I’m a bit surprised at how extreme the praise the film has been. If you were a fan of the original, I think you are in for a real treat. If you haven’t seen the original, go see it first so you can experience the joy others are getting.
My 3L system gives me the choice to Love It, Like It, or Lose It.
Top Gun Maverick gets a Like It.
When he’s not reviewing films or interviewing people for the Black & A Half podcast, Silas Lindenstein can be found in the greater metro Seattle, WA working as a real estate agent helping people buy and sell homes, or performing stand up comedy to fellow nerds. He has a wife and three children and desperately wants to learn to make the perfect homemade pizza.