Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

top gun maverick poster 2022 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great stunts and visuals

Slow start too heavy in nostalgia

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Top Gun:  Maverick

Studio:  Paramount Pictures/Skydance Media/Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  May 18, 2022 (Cannes)/May 27, 2022 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

top gun maverick mission tom cruise

A new team is born!

Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is at the end of the road in the Navy, and his favoritism with Admiral Tom Kazansky (Val Kilmer) can no longer keep him out of trouble.  When Maverick finds himself back to Top Gun to help plan a nearly impossible mission on a strict deadline, he discovers his biggest challenge might be facing Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of his former wingman.  The clock is ticking and the dangers of the mission are growing…Maverick might have to enter the fray and coming out alive might be impossible.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun:  Maverick is an action-adventure movie.  A sequel to Top Gun from 1986, the film was planned for release in 2019 but delayed due to COVID-19 and shooting problems until 2022.  The film received positive reviews and became one of the top grossing films of all time.  The film received an Academy Award for Best Sound with nominations for Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song (“Hold My Hand”), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Visual Effects.

top gun maverick beach football

Can’t have Top Gun without some weird sweaty beach sport

I wasn’t a huge fan of Top Gun.  It was big and loud, but I always felt it was kind of boring in the long run.  I wasn’t planning to see Top Gun:  Maverick anytime soon when it was announced, but good word of mouth wooed me.  I’m glad to have seen it in the theater because it is the type of movie made for the big screen with big, booming sound…and though I liked it, it did have some of the same issues that faced the first film (along with some new problems).

The movie has a basic pacing problem.  Once Top Gun:  Maverick gets going in the second act, it is fast and furious, but getting there take a while.  There is an underdeveloped lackluster romance with Jennifer Connelly, and a lot of fan service and nostalgia (I don’t see these recruits gathering around a piano to sing “Great Balls of Fire”…regardless of the situation).  These problems are eradicated in the second half of the film which features some great, tense action that carries the front of the film.

top gun mavererick trench run jets star wars

The X-Wings make their bombing run on the Death Star!

The odd thing is that the plot is essentially Star Wars out of order.  The evil “Death Star” is lurking, and the Top Gun pilots must strike by running a trench, bombing a tiny vent hole, and escaping the Tie-Fighters and cannons that threaten to shoot them down.  Maverick has vowed to protect his best friend’s child by hiding the truth from him and as he becomes his own pilot-Jedi.  The story puts the Death Star sequence after the Death Star’s destruction with the characters escaping the base, but fortunately Han Solo aka Jake “Hangman” Seresin (Glen Powell) is there to help.  It feels a bit blatant at points.

Tom Cruise is good as Maverick, but probably because he feels a lot like the Maverick character who can’t hang it up and realize he’s aging.  I never though Miles Teller looked like Anthony Edwards until seeing the movie and noticing the uncanny resemblance at points.  John Hamm and Ed Harris get to be the curmudgeon-y members of the Navy, and Val Kilmer’s appearance is touching and sad (but at least he didn’t get written out like Meg Ryan).  Glen Powell is a little too much as Hangman…who is the substitute Iceman.

top gun maverick dogfight jets

Boom goes the plane!

The real pull of the movie is the visuals.  The film looks good because it is real and most of the stunts and actions were shot with real planes.  The movie went to great lengths to make the actors look like they are flying and that added to thrills.  The tech of the mission surveillance seems a bit unreal, but the jetfighting and battles get the cool factor.

Top Gun was a movie that helped define the 1980s, and Top Gun:  Maverick might pave a path for movies post-COVID and in the age of streaming.  The movie is nostalgia (right down to replacing beach volleyball with beach football) and predictablee, but also tries to set-up a potential future for the Top Gun series.  The first Top Gun was a boon for the Navy and recruitment and though this film doesn’t feel as much as propaganda, I’m sure numbers will be up.

Related Links:

Top Gun (1986)

The 95th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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