Top Gun: Maverick review


Paramount Pictures

The promotional poster for Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures.

Even before the stars of Paramount streak across the screen, signaling the beginning of the movie, Top Gun: Maverick starts off with Tom Cruise facing the audience and welcoming them to his legacy sequel. Cruise thanks the audience, saying he hopes they enjoy it from the comfort of their theater, where it’s meant to be played. 

He couldn’t be more right; the crushing sound of air pressure from the speakers surrounding the room and the great visuals of the sky on the big screen allow audiences to be truly immersed into the experience, displaying the importance of a movie theater. For anyone that disagrees, Cruise could point to his new record, “Biggest Memorial Day Weekend Movie,” as Top Gun: Maverick made over $156 million over the 4-day weekend at the domestic box office. 

Top Gun: Maverick takes place thirty years after the first movie, where Pete “Maverick” Mitchell flies at Top Gun as a pilot. Now, he returns as a teacher, tasked with training a group of young and talented aeronauts for a dangerous mission. One of those pilots is Bradley Bradshaw, the son of his late wingman and best friend. With a well developed and tidy plot, mission, and set of character arcs, Joseph Kosinski directed what would become a classic action movie, fulfilling many of its clichés. However, even with its many clichés, the viewers can’t help but smile, cry, worry, and fist pump as they ride the emotional roller coaster along with the characters. Kosinski did a fantastic job in many parts, but keeping the story clear, enticing, and emotional was arguably what he did best.

However, some may argue that what Kosinski excelled most in was his action scenes. The adrenaline rush from the iconic flying scenes in the film could be felt long after the moviegoers left the theaters. The roaring, whooshing sounds, the fast-moving and shaking pictures, and the desperation in the acting all force the audience’s pulse to race as the fighter jets fly, dodge bullets, and survive. In the end, no matter the number of descriptive words used to try and portray these scenes, it can only be fully understood by having your own eyes on the big screen, sitting just a few feet away from all the action.

The polished, experienced cast only accentuates the strengths of this movie. Tom Cruise jumps right back in as the daring “Maverick,” despite having a 36 year break from the character. Making the most of his action scenes, he laughs, taunts, and performs while being able to balance in the emotional scenes as well. 

Compared to his last Top Gun, Cruise adds more depth to the character, as he struggles with the death of his best friend whose son he has been tasked to teach. Miles Teller plays that son, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, who learns to fly and forgive. Teller did well on both parts and held his own. The rest of the team, played by the likes of Monica Barbaro, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, and others rounded out the cast beautifully. The dynamic created by the crew heightens the excitement and engages further with the audience. Lastly, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Charles Parnell portrayed their characters charismatically and effectively.

Top Gun: Maverick is undoubtedly one of the most successful movies of 2022 so far and will only continue to attract fans into theaters. The incredible cinematography and music only adds to the enjoyable balance of an exciting mission story with heavy emotions and moving character arcs. This film is definitely one of Tom Cruise’s best and destined to become an action classic.