“Top Gun: Maverick” Is An Extremely Exciting, Damn Good Sequel
Getting invited to an advanced screening of a film I’m dying to watch, in IMAX, by IMAX is always a pleasure! (So thank you!)
But getting invited to an advanced screening of a film (*ahem* I’m looking at you “Top Gun: Maverick”, which IMAX invited me to review) that I’m on the fence about, only for it to turn into one heck of a great movie, is what I’d like to call … an orgasmic good time!
After watching the original “Top Gun” on Netflix, only a few hours before attending my “Top Gun: Maverick” screening, I was a little bit worried for what was to come in its sequel. Not only is this sequel more than 30 years overdue, but its predecessor, didn’t impress.
Don’t worry, I’m not here to shit on the “Top Gun” original.
It wasn’t a terrible film. If anything, it was a good one, just not a GREAT one, like it’s newly released sequel.
Which is kind of shocking since usually it’s the first of a series that proves itself to be the better film, no? Well … not in this case.
“Top Gun: Maverick” Full Review
An extremely exciting, damn good sequel …
“Top Gun: Maverick” is an exhilarating, good ass time! Especially on an IMAX screen.
It’s filled with nostalgia, heart, and a whole ton of humor. But beware, it may even make you shed a few tears.
So feel free to wipe those tears quickly with the sleeve of your Top Gun jacket.
Or bring a few tissues, when you grab your Top Gun popcorn tin! (Yes, they’re selling those at a few AMC theaters. No I didn’t grab one, because the line was way too long. But we’ll see what happens this weekend!)
‘Maverick’ (Tom Cruise) is still the cocky, never following rules, pilot we love.
But now he’s a bit more mature.
How mature? Well, as much as one would expect a full grown, arrogant “class clown” man to have matured.
But it’s clear that the last 30 years of his life, without ‘Goose’, has in fact changed him.
So when he’s faced with training a few new pilots, for what seems like an impossible mission, it hurts deeply to watch what looks like such a familiar face, step into scene. ‘Goose’s’ son, ‘Rooster’ (Miles Teller), which by the way is cleverly named, keeping both names in the bird family.
Seeing ‘Rooster’ is incredibly sentimental for anyone who’s watched the original film, and it’s part of why you SHOULD watch the original before seeing this sequel.
“Top Gun: Maverick” feels like a love letter written to its “Top Gun” fans.
There are so many scenes (and familiar quotes) from the first film that were recreated in such a smart way for this sequel, that it’s really one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen.
It really nods nicely to the original.
And after 30 years, the story, and the Navy, has aged as well.
Seeing a Top Gun class go from all straight, white men, to a class more diverse, including a latino Pilot ‘Fanboy’ (Danny Ramirez), two Black pilots ‘Payback’ (Jay Ellis), and ‘Coyote’ (Greg Tarzan Davis), and even a female pilot ‘Phoenix’ (Monica Barbaro), was a nice nod to how times have changed. But they also managed to bring back another original cast member, ‘Iceman’ (Val Kilmer) and that’s what really drives the heart of this film.
‘Maverick’ having a full class of students to teach his unconventional ways, and getting a student ‘Hangman’ (Glen Powell) much like himself 30 years ago, while also having to teach his former partner’s son ‘Rooster’, with two o’s guys, is genius storytelling.
Not only does it force us to see how much of an asshole young ‘Maverick’ was, as if we even needed a reminder. It helps us to further understand why he may be so reserved 30 years later. And why he hasn’t bothered to rank up. And can’t seem to quit or be fired, despite so many against him, ironically.
And now I can’t help but to think about how “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” would have benefited from using these same tactics. To show why Wanda went off the rails this time around.
It’s hard to believe such a character change, when we can’t visibly see it before us.
So “Top Gun: Maverick” does a great job bringing us back to the first film, while guiding us full speed ahead into its sequel.
Hell, even the music and scoring is better this time around! Which adds to the emotional value of this film, and is something the first lacked in.
And while this film is clearly about what it’s like to really be on an important Top Gun mission, as its intense ride leaves you holding on to the edge of your seat, while simultaneously leaning back into your chair, almost as if you’re in flight with everyone, waiting to see if we’ll make it out alive.
They still make time for romance, humor, and a few parental life lessons.
The writers (Peter Craig) and (Justin Marks) don’t waste a single second of their 2 hours and 17 minutes run time.
And it shows! It’s exhilarating!
So much so, that I realized in the third act that I didn’t even KNOW why this mission was so damn important. But it never mattered! I was too on edge, too emotional, too involved in these characters and their stories, and way too busy rooting for ‘Rooster’, to care.
But I can’t ignore my love for teaching our youth, and how my own parenting lifestyle, much similar to Penny’s (Jennifer Connelly), may play a factor in why I loved this movie so damn much.
So much so, that I didn’t even like a few of the cinematic shots. But I had no issue ignoring those, (unlike while watching “The Bad Guys“) as I gleefully noticed more riveting details.
Like how Hangman’s helmet is missing a few A’s, just like the childhood game would. And maybe those missing A’s stand for arrogant and asshole? Quite like they would for Mav?
I say all that to say that “Top Gun: Maverick” really exceeded my expectations.
And I love that!
It’s truly worth the hype, and I’m so SO glad I got to watch it. I may have even mentally screamed at the screen towards the end of the film. Because you know … as someone who took a class in High School, over 10 years ago, to learn how to fly an airplane, I just KNEW Mav needed to do one thing in particular. I saw the mishap before it happened. And of course he didn’t read my mind and follow my god damn instructions! But hell, does he ever follow instructions?
So like … whatever, dude.
But if you’re looking for a fun film to see this weekend in theaters, look no further, “Top Gun: Maverick” is it.
Don’t miss this one on the big screen!
“Top Gun: Maverick” will release in theaters on Fri, May 27, 2022.
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