This is a first for me. I haven’t republished a review. As summer comes to a close, I wanted to give another opportunity to read (in my opinion) one of the best films since this column has started. I urge you to go see this film while it’s still in theaters! I’ve watched in four times. With my dad, my brother, my grandpa, and in IMAX. Yes, it is that good. So here it is in all its turning and burning glory. I will make a quick note. I saw Top Gun: Maverick last Saturday again…this time in IMAX. The IMAX screens is a MUCH larger screen than what you are used to. It was AMAZING. I hope you saw it locally last week and now I’m encouraging you to go find the biggest screen possible and watch it again. Watching Maverick and Rooster flying in the skies was a sight to see. I was incredibly impressed. Also the IMAX speakers were so loud it shook our seats..I felt in the skies with them. Even without 20/20 vision. GO SEE THIS FILM.
Do you feel the need…the need for speed? Top Gun came out in 1986. It is without a doubt one of the biggest movies from the 80s and shot Tom Cruise into super stardom. If you are reading this review you have more than likely seen the original. If not you’ve probably heard about it. Talk to me Goose! When I think of Top Gun so many highlights from the film come to mind. THAT SOUNDTRACK! Is “Danger Zone” not one of the best songs ever made? Also “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”….when Maverick and Goose sing as Maverick tries to pick up Charlie. The infamous volleyball scene that oozes 80s cheese. How many of you call your friends Goose? Your wingman. The original is a CLASSIC. I can’t think of another film (aside from Star Wars) where we have a sequel 3 decades later. At least not one of this magnitude. This means generations of kids have watched the film with their families and then passed it down to their kids. Some personal anecdotes regarding Top Gun from me. This original is my Dad’s favorite movie. He played it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT when I was a kid (falling asleep 15 minutes in) I can remember hearing the music, and hearing Goose and Maverick almost get canned but instead being sent to Top Gun. I then think about in the 3rd grade when I was told I needed glasses. For whatever reason I believed that without 20/20 vision I wouldn’t be able to become Maverick and I’d never fly a plane…or pick up the girl singing “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’.” One of which I still have time to accomplish. Dad and I have talked about this film for 3 years. It was originally going to be released in 2019 and kept being pushed back. FINALLY we saw an early screening this week. Would the anticipation be worth it? Would this just be a lazy cash grab to bring nostalgic thoughts to convince you to buy a ticket? I asked myself these questions before we went into the theater….
Onto the film.
We open with Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise) still employed by the Navy. It has been three decades since he saved the day in Top Gun. By now he should be an admiral! He is not. Maverick (Cruise) is a captain and he continues to miss out on promotions whether by insubordination or on purpose. He is currently a test pilot for the Navy and is working on the “Darkstar” scramjet program. This is a real program in the military and the plane/jet is menacing and amazing to see on the screen. The program is to be shut down and the funding used towards unmanned aircrafts. The way of the future. Maverick (Cruise) isn’t having that….they want to get to Mach 10 to keep the program going. He was scheduled to fly and hit 9…you want 10…you’ll get 10. IMMEDIATELY the tension fills the theater. I was nervous for Pete and watching the gauges hoping he would hit 10. Meanwhile his superior Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain (Harris) shows up to squash the program and isn’t happy Maverick (Cruise) is already off. He’s living up to his name.
In good faith I cannot give you any more of the plot besides this. Maverick (Cruise) ends up BACK at Top Gun to train. The untrainable is to train a new group with one big twist. One of the pilots is his old friend Goose’s son. Miles Teller is excellent here as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw. If you’ve seen Top Gun you know the dilemma here. THIS is the driving force behind the film. I was shocked and surprised to see so much emotion and character development in a sequel to a film about fighter jets. The range of emotions you will feel watching the story unfold was unique and one-of-a kind. Seeing the F-18s in the air and some of the aerial moves they do is breathtaking. I said “WOW” out loud throughout and shook my head in disbelief. A small movie fact for you. 800 hours of aerial footage was filmed for this movie. I wish they had left more in because it was so amazing to see. This isn’t a movie heavy on CGI. The actors are in the cockpits. They are experiencing what we are seeing. The story is exciting, and exhausting from the tension. There is laugh out loud humor. A nice sub-plot with an old love interest. The action set pieces are some of the best I’ve seen and Tom Cruise is without a doubt one of the best MOVIE STARS we have ever had. You go to the movies to be entertained for a moment and to pause the stress of life, work, school, love, etc. In this film especially…IT SUCCEEDS. I’ve wrote this column for almost 3 years now. I knew this would be a good one, but I didn’t expect it to be THAT GOOD. This is one of the best films I’ve ever seen. I wanted to watch it again immediately. I want to see it as I am typing this out and I will be seeing it on the biggest screen possible as soon as possible. Even if you have never watched the first film. GO SEE THIS MOVIE. It will explain with flashbacks what you’ve missed. If you did see the original Top Gun…Why aren’t you already in line for a ticket???? This will end up the best film of the year and for many years to come. I mentioned Dad’s favorite movie is Top Gun…that’s no more. He said his new favorite movie is TOP GUN: MAVERICK! WELL DONE. 5 STARS out of 5. I FEEL THE NEED…THE NEED FOR SPEED!!!