The Danger Zone Lives: A review of Top Gun:Maverick by William Gensburger
First, sequels usually disappoint. Second, Top Gun was originally released in 1986 with a twenty-fourish Tom Cruise, before he yielded much star power. While it was great back then, rewatching it now made it seem a bit campy and outdated.
Flash forward 36 years and we have a rarity; a sequel that is excellent and vastly superior to the original.
Where to start. Tom Cruise was 59 when he made this film–produced and starring in. Cruise does not look 59; far younger, not just in facial appearance but in his endless physicality. Every Tom Cruise film is an exhausting physical experience leaving the viewer with wonder at whatever regimen he uses. And honestly, send it my way.
Jennifer Connelly dazzles in this film as an old flame abandoned by Cruise’s Lt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, mentioned in the original as one line that refers her by name. Now, a single mother of a teen, she’s runs the bar at TopGun.
I don’t want to give you a synopsis of the film because frankly, it’s an experience you want untainted. Go and be surprised. Remember when you’d go to a movie and just be delighted? This one will delight you. There are many scenes that touch back to the original story and you’ll thank me for not mentioning any of them.
I will say that the cast had to learn the F18 for authentic flight scenes and that included high-G moves after launching off an aircraft carrier. Cruise insists on authenticity and wherever possible does his own stunts to the degree that he often is injured—broken foot while filming the last Mission Impossible movie jumping across rooftops. Again, I’d like his list of vitamins and supplements, and whatever magic juice they might add to it because I’m a few years older than him and his movies make me want to take a nap.
Val Kilmer (Iceman) from the original is in this movie in a way that is fitting for the actor reprising his role, and the scenes are both poignant and even with some brevity.
Ed Harris, an actor I enjoy, who could also use some Tom juice, plays Cain, cranky, stubborn, but allows Maverick to step up on what is considered a suicide mission.
The dogfights are superb. Shot in a way that draws you in as a participant more than an observer. The story rich with twists and turns that keep you on the edge until it’s over and you find yourself wanting more.
I do suggest seeing it on a big screen theatre-which means checking your online seat booking for the auditorium with a large screen as many have smaller sized screens. It’s worth it. Or see it in IMAX.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski