Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Top Gun: Maverick Movie Review

Tom Cruise stars in Top Gun: Maverick

Mighty Wings

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose”. Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it. Directed by Joseph Kosinski.

Starring: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer.

What's Good: It's been almost four decades in the making, and Top Gun: Maverick doesn't disappoint. In fact, it might be the best movie I've seen in a few years. Cruise returns, cool (and super fit) as ever, with all the trappings that turned him into a Hollywood superstar. Less than two months away from turning 60, Cruise adds a generous array of one-liners and quips to his repertoire that makes his character even more endearing. Maverick checks all the boxes of a super sequel, paying homage to familiar characters, places and songs, while introducing lots of fresh faces to a (dare I say) sacred film franchise. 

The players are engaging to the last man and woman, although there are way more of the former, which seems like a missed opportunity to win over new fans. Tops amongst them, Monica Barbaro as plucky aviator Phoenix, and Glen Powell as Ice Man 2.0 (Hangman.) Even Val Kilmer makes an appearance, which might solicit a tear or two from even the roughest/toughest fans (it was a sniffle, I promise.) Add a rousing soundtrack and some of the most exhilarating aerial combat sequences ever shown on the big screen, and you have this year's quintessential action film.

What's Not: It's a little bit too nostalgic at times, but I can (easily) live with it.

Budget: $152 million

Runtime: 131 minutes (It literally flies by.)

Target Audience: Anyone with a pulse. I'm curious to see how younger audiences respond to it, but my generation should lap it up.

Bottom Line: I came in with high expectations, and Cruise & co. managed to surpass them. The original Top Gun shaped an entire generation, and the sequel looks poised to do the same. See it on an IMAX screen (I recommend Regal Majestic in Silver Spring) and prepare to be blown away. The sound alone is guaranteed to send chills up and down your spine. I can't wait to see it again.

GradeA+ (The perfect summer blockbuster.)