Top Gun: Maverick

Just a few years ago, I watched, for the first time, Tom Cruise’s iconic film Top Gun, and I did not like it at all. I know it is a beloved film by many, but it was just not my thing. So I approached the sequel Top Gun: Maverick with less excitement than many people may have.

Still, there was a ton of positive word of mouth floating around about this movie, so my interest level had improved.

After seeing the IMAX version of Top Gun: Maverick, I can say without any doubt that this movie is worlds better than the original, in my opinion.

After years, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) gets called back to train a group of young fighter pilots, the best fighter pilots in the world, in an attempt to carry out an improbable mission to bomb an uranium enrichment facility of an unnamed enemy country. Maverick was not wanted by Admiral “Cyclone” Simpson (Jon Hamm), but Maverick’s old friend Iceman (Val Kilmer), another admiral, overrules him. Maverick’s brand of rebellious behavior conflicts with everyone.

There is a great cast. The new pilots included Miles Teller (who played the son of Goose), Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Glen Powell, Greg Tarzan Davis, Jay Ellis and Danny Ramirez. Yes, most of these were fairly typical type characters, but you do grow to like them. Miles Teller is the character that really gets some time as his relationship with Maverick came to the front.

Top Gun: Maverick has much more depth and more emotional moments that connect with me than the first film. Tom Cruise is excellent throughout the film, carrying a lot of powerful angst on his shoulders, dealing with loss and his own doubts about his past. The scene between Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer was just outstanding.

The action scenes with the jets were totally compelling and put you on the edge of your seat the entire movie. There were so many stakes involved because you were never 100% sure who might be killed. The stunt work was amazing and the choreography is gorgeous. Some times it was hard to follow with who was who, but it never looked anything but spectacular.

It was not a perfect movie. The third act had not one, but two Deus ex Machinas involved, and both were pretty predictable. The events in the third act were really hard to believe as well. The thing is, by the third act, you are so into the movie that you cannot help but be swept up by what happened and the weakness of the story/plot does not jump out at you.

This was a lot of fun and was a complete exciting joy of a film that, if you look too close at the story, it may not hold up. However, if you just engage with the spectacular, you will have all kinds of fun. If you can see it in IMAX, do it. You will appreciate it all the more.

4.5 stars

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