I watched the first Top Gun movie around 4 months ago. Let’s just say I was disappointed. That first movie has not aged well in the slightest. That 80s nostalgia just doesn’t work for someone who was born in the 21st Century. So going into the sequel, I truly did not give a fuck. My bet was that it would be a blockbuster flop that no one saw. I could not have been more wrong. This film has smashed it both critically and commercially. But is it actually worth the hype? Absolutely, let me explain.
The flying scenes in Top Gun Maverick is some of the most tense and engaging action I have ever seen. People in my audience were literally on the edge of their seat, grabbing the arm rests for support. One woman was so invested she would jump up and scream every time they almost died. I think there is a very specific reason for this – how real it all feels. Every actor is up there in one of those jets. While they are acting, the performance instantly feels more genuine as there is an element of danger. A good example is Mr Cruise and his stunts. Because you know there real and not CGI you are engaged in the shot.
Joseph Kosinski also does an incredible job at making sure the audience knows what’s happening. What I mean by this is we are instantly shown the mission, the time, and the threats. This is so effective because the audience are placed in the same cock pit as the characters. Kosinski makes you feel the danger of this mission by building it up throughout the whole film. We are constantly shown how impossible it is and then he just keeps adding more problems. From the beginning of the film, that final mission always like this harrowing and daunting task that we as the audience are a part of.
You can’t talk about Top Gun without talking about the Top Gun, Mr Thomas Cruise line. Tom Cruise has not acted in a film since 2018 (Mission Impossible). He basically only acts in movies he has complete control over and honestly no complaints here. I think Mr Cruise knows exactly what works for him in this stage of his career. There are specific roles he truly cares about and everything else can fuck off and all. In Maverick, he absolutely smashes it. He has this amazing charismatic cockiness that could be acting or just him being himself. Tomothy just has this ability to make things feel so intense and extreme. He builds up the stakes so much just through a simple stare.
Everyone in this movie is really good. Miles Teller and Glenn Powell especially. Teller doesn’t really speak much but shines in the dramatic moments. Once again, that subtle arrogance of his performance is very appealing. Even the way he walks into a room and looks at his peers. Powell on the other hand, takes the arrogance much further. I know you were meant to hate him but honestly, I never really did. He was this perfect balance between the antagonist but also someone you might just actually know. Essentially his performance never felt too over the top as a villain.
What’s wrong with Top Gun?
Before you start attacking me, there isn’t much wrong with Top Gun Maverick. There is just two little things that bugged me. Firstly, the whole Jennifer Connelly plot. It wasn’t bad it was just kind of forced. I know he needs a love interest but to me Maverick makes more sense as a loner who is completely focused on the NAVY and nothing else. But obviously Hollywood will never do that. Secondly, the ADR feels a little off. This isn’t anyone’s fault cause obviously the actors can’t actually talk up in the jets. But it never feels like they are really speaking to each other up there. Especially in dramatic scenes, they have some line deliveries that are a little rough around the edges.
A perfect reinvention
As every film nerd across the globe is saying right now, Top Gun Maverick is a perfect sequel. Joseph Kosinski, the film’s director, doesn’t just repeat the first one and change it a little bit. Instead, he is clearly inspired by the original but still has his own creative vision. He takes elements from Tony Scott but adds his own eye – especially to the flying scenes. The music, football scene, characters all reflect the original but aren’t just carbon copies.
I will stop bagging on the first one after this trust me. I may be triggering a lot of alpha males above 40 out there but honestly Top Gun 1986 is just not that good. If you look back on it considering the time period, sure its solid. But looking back from 2022, it is tonally weird, sweaty, full of overbearing masculinity, written poorly and kind of boring. Despite this, Joseph Kosinski has managed to find that core that people do love. The tense action, the banter, the characters. He brings all these parts together and adds so much more for ultimately, a much better film.
Ultimately, I just have so much respect for this film. In the age where everything has to be superheroes with a ridiculous amount of CGI, it is so refreshing to see something real and practical. I truly believe that this film will affect action movies for the next 5 years. Hollywood will now start returning to a more practical approach. Top Gun Maverick may be one of the best action movies ever made and it comes down to a directors vision, an incredible crew and amazing practical work.
SHOULD YOU GO TO THE CINEMAS TO SEE THIS?
DEFINITELY. This movie is built for the cinemas, its sound design and scale are perfect for the big screen.