Top Gun: Maverick Takes Off into the Danger Zone

The Stream: A lot of build up for a very one-note story.

The Big Screen: Exciting and engrossing action sequences

The Final Bill: Big spectacle with a big movie star makes an entertaining moviegoing experience

– Trip Fontaine
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks; screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm
Genre: Action, Drama
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense action, and some strong language
Runtime: 2 hours 2 minutes
Production Companies: Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Platform: In Theaters
Trailers: Lightyear, Bullet Train, Jurassic World Dominion, Elvis, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One 

Hey, Streamers, let’s fly off into the Danger Zone. Yes, it’s Top Gun: Maverick time. The sequel you have been waiting almost 40 years for, which was supposed to come out 2 years ago, is finally here. Now, I have never seen the original film, but I was keen to see what all the hype around this sequel was about. Tom Cruise has made good choices over the years and he’s always going full tilt in these action roles, so I didn’t expect for this to disappoint. Here’s how it goes.

Even though Top Gun: Maverick is a present-day sequel to the original Top Gun (1986), the movie really leans into that old-fashioned, 1980’s action film vibe. Also, there is a big spoiler from the original film that is central to the story of this sequel – Maverick’s wingman, Goose, died. Here, Goose’s son, Rooster (Miles Teller), is one of the elite Navy aviators, who Maverick (Tom Cruise) is tasked with training for what’s considered an important but impossible mission. There is tension between Maverick and Rooster because of their fraught history. There is tension between Maverick and his superiors because he is notorious for going rogue. Nevertheless, Maverick is the best and the mission requires the best. High-flying hijnks ensue.

Top Gun: Maverick is the kind of movie that begs to be seen on a big screen. In my opinion, the story is not really great or innovative, so the actions sequences, stunts and camera work have to justify the price of admission. Luckily, they very much do. The aerial shots and all of the fighter jets flying have to be seen on a big screen to truly be appreciated. The rumble of the jets and the perceived danger add to the tension that builds up through the movie and explodes in the final sequences. While there is an attempt to build an emotional core to the film by focusing on Maverick and Rooster’s relationship and also a slight love interest on the side, those relationships barely register and seem almost superfluous. Honestly, they could’ve cut the love story and the film would have been the same but 10-15 minutes shorter – that would have given them the ability to cultivate the Maverick and Rooster relationship, which would have been more impactful.

Some of this movie is so retro as to be kind of corny. Glen Powell plays Hangman. He’s one of the cockiest aviators in the Top Gun program. Powell plays it like the quintessential 1980’s movie villain, which was groan-inducing at times, but some may love it. Tom Cruise is at his Tom-Cruise-iest, which isn’t a bad thing. Movies need stars and Tom Cruise is still a movie star. He still has the charm to pull off Maverick’s character. As the movie leans into the nostalgia, Tom Cruise makes it worthy of being on a big screen. This movie desperately needs that.

Nevertheless, what was presented was certainly entertaining. There will be times when the flying will have you on the edge of your seat. That’s why a movie like this is made. In that way, it is quite successful.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Ultimately, Top Gun: Maverick is tailor-made to be seen in a movie theater. The feats of stunts and action are worthy of the big screen. There are times when you may be on the edge of your seat. Although the story is a bit lacking, the rest of the movie makes up for it and the 2-hour runtime flies by in a *wink*. Grab a box of popcorn and enjoy this spectacle on a big screen.