Top Gun: Maverick — Movie Review

by KJ Proulx

Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ [Credit: Paramount Pictures]

When I first saw the original Top Gun, I really wasn't all that impressed. I found it to be incredibly cheesy and uninteresting. I continued to think negatively about it throughout the years but recently gave it another shot before the release of Top Gun: Maverick. I’m more than happy to admit when I’m wrong about something or when my mind changes, and I have to do that here. The first Top Gun is actually glorious for all the 80s cheese it has and the aerial scenes still hold up today. I actually had a good time with the original upon rewatching it. I was curious about this sequel, but I recently became very excited about it. After having seen it now, I can very happily say that Top Gun: Maverick is the definition of the word awesome. Here’s why, even with everything working against me enjoying it over the last number of years, I highly recommend seeing it in theatres.

Picking up over three decades after the events of Top Gun, this film once again follows Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise), but this time he is brought back to the Top Gun program to be an instructor for graduates. Training the best of the best for a near-impossible mission, this film is filled with training sequences, all of which are thrilling. You don’t go to a film like Top Gun: Maverick for the story, but it also delivers on that front. With just enough substance, a likeable cast, and some terrific performances in some very key scenes, I was engaged with this film from start to finish. My only issue with the film overall is the fact that it does feel like an updated version of the original (in all of the best ways possible though).

From the same musical queues to very similar scenes involving familiar characters, this film borrows many of the classic moments from the first film. It also has a similar structure to the first film and even some of the cheesy dialogue is present as well. Everything else about this sequel is so well done though that these moments all felt like they were intentional and they worked in the context of the film. Sometimes it’s a little too on the nose, but I forgave that, simply because this cast sold every moment of it. This new crew that Maverick has to work with has charisma for days.

Ever since I saw Glen Powell in Everybody Wants Some!! I knew I was going to seek out anything he did next. He has the capabilities of being a real movie star and I hope he becomes more of a household name in the future. His performance as the cockiest pilot in the group really worked and his banter back and forth with Miles Teller (who portrays the son of ‘Goose,’ Maverick’s old partner) also does a very good job here. There are many scenes between Cruise and Teller that made me tear up. The emotion is real in this film and that’s why I felt so much for these characters. With that said, it’s the aerial scenes that make these films stick with you and wow does this film deliver.

Every moment these planes are in the air felt real and authentic. I never once felt like I was looking at an effect. That’s obviously due to the fact that this cast was in the planes as much as they were allowed to be. From the incredible sound design to the engaging action that has real stakes, my heart was pounding and my eyes were glued to the screen. This is the most thrilling, big screen Blockbuster I’ve seen in a while. If you’re able to see it on the biggest screen possible, I suggest doing so. This movie is great, but the theatrical experience will make it so much better. Top Gun: Maverick is a true thrill ride from start to finish and I can’t wait to see it again.

Rating: 4.5/5

Check out the trailer below:

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Film Lover First. Critic Second.

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