Sunday 29 May 2022

REVIEW: Top Gun: Maverick (2022) - Starring Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris & Val Kilmer

Review by Jon Donnis
It may have taken 36 years, but we finally have a sequel to legendary film Top Gun. And with Tom Cruise about a month away from turning 60, I was interested to see if he still "had it".

The film's basic premise follows Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell's return to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (also known as "Top Gun"), where he must confront his past as he trains a group of younger fighter pilots, among them the son of Maverick's deceased best friend Nick "Goose" Bradshaw.

The film starts off with Maverick (Tom Cruise) serving as a US Navy Test Pilot. We have the classic story of someone avoiding promotion so they can keep doing the job they love, I am thinking Captain Kirk straight away!

Maverick finds out that Rear Admiral Chester "Hammer" Cain, (Ed Harris) is going to shut down the hypersonic "Darkstar" scramjet program and move the funds to other projects, mainly unpiloted drones, Maverick decides to "take" the Darkstar and fly it to Mach 10 speed before Cain arrives. This would be the fastest that any jet plane had ever flew. Of course, he reaches Mach 10, but then decides to push it a little fast which results in the destruction of the plane. Maverick ejects and that is that.

Before Cain can ground Maverick for good, The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, 4-star Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer) orders Maverick to the NAS North Island where he is needed to train an elite group of pilots, to take part in an urgent mission to bomb a Uranium enrichment facility. (I wonder if Hillary Clinton was the one who gave the Uranium to the enemies of the US?) Anyway, due to the location of the facility the mission will require a low level approach at high speed, to avoid enemy radars and defensive missiles, doing this will push the aircraft past their limits and will take expert flying.

What follows is a film that is as much about teaching young expert pilots to be even better as it is about Maverick dealing with the demons of his past. The biggest of those is the son of Goose, Lieutenant Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw. For those of you who have not seen Top Gun, Goose died while trying to win a leg of a competition, his jet is accidentally sabotaged by Iceman (Val Kilmer), and Goose hits his head on a piece of the airplane while trying to eject. Maverick blames himself and carries that guilt with him to this day. Now he has to deal with Goose's son, who Maverick happened to block his promotion, which took years off his progression in his career.

Now I have to be honest here, it is a LONG time since I saw Top Gun, and I had forgotten a lot that had happened. So, before I watched I did read up on the first film to remind me everything that happened. With that said, while watching this film, they did a pretty good job explaining everything, and even if you have never seen the first film, you can come at this fresh and follow pretty much everything that happens.

The film is a little long at 130 minutes, and a few scenes could easily have been cut out without affecting the film, but for some reason they need to justify a large budget with a 2 hour + run time.

Considering this film has a budget over 10 times more than the original, you would expect everything to look incredible, and I am glad to say it does, the flying scenes are amazing, was tough to spot any visual effects although I am sure there are plenty in there.

For nearly 60 Tom Cruise looks incredible, and there are even a few age related jokes at his expense.

There is a nice scene with Val Kilmer, where Val "speaks" which is done really well, and even ends with a joke in their final meeting.

Overall a thoroughly good film, which will please fans of the original, as well as new fans to the franchise. There are plenty of light hearted moments and nice one liners.

The Good
Excellent visuals, good acting, nice emotional scenes, I was pleasantly surprised, as I kind of expected to hate the film.

The Bad
A few unnecessary scenes could and should have been cut, and the film gets a little soppy towards the end. 

This is the biggest film of 2022 so far. Simple as that. Go watch it in the cinema to really get the most from it.
Girls will love it; guys will love it. Ticks all the boxes. 

I score Top Gun: Maverick a solid 9/10

Out in Cinemas NOW!