The nostalgic sequel is something that has been sweeping the box office for the past couple of years. These often branch off into different categories, with soft reboots like ‘Halloween’, reuniting the original cast like ‘Jackass Forever’ and ‘Bad Boys for Life’, or even films like ‘Scream’ (2022) and ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ that continue the original story but also act as the start of a new series. ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is the new definitive nostalgic sequel - and one of the best action films in decades.
After over 30 years since the original ‘Top Gun’, Pete ‘Maverick’ (Tom Cruise, ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise, ‘Rock of Ages’) has been dodging advancing in the naval aviation team. He is instructed by Admiral Tom 'Iceman' (Val Kilmer, 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang', 'Heat') to train a group of Top Gun graduates who are going to go into battle on a high-stakes mission. This becomes daunting for Maverick as one of the students, Bradley 'Rooster' (Miles Teller, ‘Only the Brave’, 'War Dogs', 'Whiplash') is Nick 'Goose's' son, which causes Maverick’s emotions over his friend's death years prior to resurface.
From its opening scene the film soars, and consistently escalates further and further. While I enjoy the original ‘Top Gun’ I don’t have a huge emotional connection to it, but I was instantly swept up by the scope of the sequel. It’s so overwhelmingly spectacular in its action scenes and story.
The film works perfectly for those who know the original inside and out and those who have never seen it. It’s both a perfect stand-alone and follow up, which seems nearly impossible to achieve but magically achieves it.
As with most Cruise projects, the stunt work is absolutely jaw-dropping. You can feel how much work was put into every beat of action. I highly recommend seeing this is any premium format you can - V-Max or Xtremescreen are a must - not just for the jaw dropping visuals, but the fantastic sound design. Every time a plane takes off you can literally feel it; seek out Dolby Atmos if you can, it's thrilling.
As with most Cruise projects, the stunt work is absolutely jaw-dropping. You can feel how much work was put into every beat of action.
While the action scenes were expected to be exceptional, the story being as beautiful as it was was a surprise. Cruise in a lead role automatically brings a charm to the film, but the absolute heart of this story is gigantic. The emotional weight given to the characters - especially Goose and Iceman - quite frankly moved me by how beautifully handled it was.
All the new characters perfectly fit into the ‘Top Gun’ world. Teller is a knockout as Goose’s son, while Jon Hamm as the Vice Admiral is perfect casting. I also loved the way they handled the new love interest Penny played by Jennifer Connelly - she's mentioned by name only in the original film, so it's a nice throwback. The new ‘Top Gun’ team is also perfectly assembled; they are all really unique and loveable.
A film like ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ feels one in a million. To be as epic and emotionally satisfying as it is is a tough feat, and you just simply have to experience it for yourself on the biggest screen possible with the best sound. It’s one of the best sequels of all time, one of the best action films, one of the best Tom Cruise films - it’s the ultimate cinematic package.