May 23, 2022

CINEMA | Tom Cruise Feels the Need – 'Top Gun: Maverick'

"Let's turn and burn!"
Miles Teller Tom Cruise Joseph Kosinski | Top Gun: Maverick
Paramount Pictures / Skydance
Superstar Tom Cruise revisits his first big mainstream action leading role thirty-six years later in the naval aviator blockbuster legacy sequel, Top Gun: Maverick. Taking over for the late Tony Scott, director Joseph Kosinski brings so much contemporary reverence to the rather silly yet still iconic and unabashedly patriotic 1986 original Top Gun.

Co-starring Miles Teller and Glen Powell as two young hotshot Navy fighter pilots, callsigns "Rooster" and "Hangman" not totally unlike Maverick and Goose, the first film was a fairly hokey but testosterone-filled 1980s fun action spectacle. Maverick is a much superior effort that reckons with the casualties and consequences of aerial combat. Cruise's aged Maverick struggles with his sense of legacy and identity beyond just being the best pilot there is.

Somehow coaxing all-stars like Jennifer Connelly and Jon Hamm among others to round out the supporting cast as Mav's single mom former flame and no-nonsense, humourless commander, Kosinski makes sure to give the film serious stakes while leaving room for plenty of amusement and wry humour to be had. An elevated ensemble in small but key roles lets the audience invest in the simmering character relationships full of history and echoes of the past.

Tom Cruise Miles Teller Joseph Kosinski | Top Gun: Maverick

Produced once again by '80s action franchise stalwart Jerry Bruckheimer, Maverick feels at times like an extended tribute to the original film's sense of mindless fun and adventure with tons of loving callbacks. Kosinski's aerial direction and how the practical stuntwork is stitched together make the film feel so kinetically fluid. This sequel dares to even straight-up redo certain scenes while improving on them.

Scripted by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Mission: Impossible helmer Christopher McQuarrie, the extremely difficult mission to combat an unnamed rogue threat is simple and thoroughly explained yet remains thrilling. It's no coincidence we never see the faceless enemies or much of the American flag despite the inherent patriotism of the subject matter.

Top Gun: Maverick is a rapturous crowd-pleaser of a good time heightened by its thrilling blockbuster action. Far superior to its dated predecessor, Cruise's commitment to taking the material seriously in order for the real fun to be earned unlocks all the adventure seen on the screen. See it on the biggest screen you can find.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Polygon / ScreenCrush

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