Not like a review for Top Gun: Maverick but would say the strategy works. The creators of Top Gun: Maverick aim high and fly low. It ensures they don’t miss the goal that they, and lead actor Tom Cruise, back in the cockpit after a 36-year hiatus, have set for themselves.
A lot has happened since 1986’s Top Gun gave Tom Cruise one of the first big hits in his acting career. This one also has signs of success, given the actor’s charm, especially because the film ends two difficult years for the entire world.
The film, directed by Joseph Kosinski and written by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie, may not exactly twist and burn as they urged the trainee pilots in the film, but it does manage to move quite a bit stylish, efficient and, most importantly, entertaining.
Cruise, who is in his 60s in real life, is constantly focused on the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a naval aviator. He has refused promotion not to be removed from active air action. Top Gun – Maverick absorbs some of that spirit from the protagonist. He stays the course and avoids unwarranted deviations, though the emotional stakes at the heart of the story add some depth to the plot for whatever it’s worth.
The drama unfolds on multiple fronts. The main one is, of course, about Maverick’s choppy relationship with the elite pilots. They are summoned from their squadrons to be trained for a mission to take them to the breaking point. His admiration, if any, for his reluctant teacher is grudging at best.
How will Pete Mitchell break them out of their scabby shells? Furthermore how he leads them as they launch an attack on a rogue mountain nation that is secretly enriching uranium at a plant hidden in a hard-to-reach canyon. The mission is full of risks. Maverick is aware that it could be the last.
Another plot thread, injecting doses of emotion into the proceedings, involves Maverick’s awkward equations with Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), who is the son of Goose, the fighter pilot. She tragically met his end in Top Gun. Tensions between the two men reach a fever pitch all too often, threatening to end a mission that Maverick is extremely under pressure from his bosses to carry out.
A less crucial but eminently noteworthy thread revolves around Maverick’s attempts to revive his relationship with Penelope “Penny” Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly), with whom the latter’s teenage daughter Amelia (Lyliana Wray) is perfectly well.
So even though Top Gun – Maverick is mostly about the ruthless men and one woman, Lt. Natasha “Phoenix” Trace (Monica Barbaro), and flying machines of them. The movie doesn’t stray too far from the emotional and mental struggles they’re dealing with the leader has to deal while fighting. He prepares his protégés and sets aside his superior for the mission. Sparks fly as Maverick has to strain every sinew for the pilots-in-training to trust him under his wing.
Kosinski, who directed Tom Cruise in Oblivion, takes the legacy top gun seriously and puts the star at the center of it all, not so much concerned with plotting. The aerial action he unleashes is consistently spectacular.
With the show’s star, he is no longer the energetic young man he was in the mid-1980s. He is acutely aware of the years that have passed and incorporates the passage of time and its effect on the personality of the man he plays, as in the physical dimensions of performance.
They mentioned the word “time” several times. In one, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), no longer able to speak, suggests that “there’s still time.” Is there? Top Gun – Maverick does impressively well because it uses the charm of an aging actor to propel a movie that relies entirely on harnessing the star’s charisma correctly.
Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain (Ed Harris) indicates out that pilots like Maverick could be about to become a thing of the past early in the film. He tells Mav that they headed to the species for extinction. He replied that perhaps so, but not today. The latter, as expected, is not edgy.
Just like the old world pilots who flew their fighter planes to bomb targets, the movie stars of yesteryear who wielded power to draw audiences to theaters to see even ordinary movies are an anachronism. Today can drop bombs remotely on targets. In the age of franchises, movies are about the stars that headline them and brand loyalty.
In the film, Tom Cruise takes us back to the simpler times when he could make wearing aviator sunglasses feel like a cultural advance. He’s jumping into a booth seems like an act meant to separate men from women and children. Watch the movie for his past. The movie loads with nods to the original Top Gun.
Other than giving points for review for Top Gun: Maverick, it’s not that what it offers is stuck in a bygone era. The movie flies confidently and steadily to deliver a crackling good cinematic experience.