The summer movie season is here, and just as much as anything else that comes with it are sequels. It is well-documented that I am not a big fan of them, but that trend I starting to turn around with films like the newer “Halloween” offerings. Now, “Top Gun: Maverick” revisits one of the biggest films of the ‘80s, but it does so in a way that is a little bit different.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion, Only the Brave). The film stars Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer are the only returning cast members but adds Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Glen Powell and Jon Hamm. It is now roughly thirty years since Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise) went through the nation’s best flight school for naval aviators, but he is still active in more of a research pilot capacity. When a new threat is found that could affect countries around the world, Maverick is called back to the place that made him a legend to train twelve of the best recent alumni of the school itself on how to deal with a very complicated mission that could very well save the world. Included in this group of young hotshots is “Rooster” (Teller), the son of Mitchell’s lost best friend “Goose,” which comes with its own issues as well as Penny (Connelly), the local bar owner who has a past with him as well.
I am just going to say it: I loved this film! “Top Gun: Maverick” jumps right in with an opening similar to its predecessor, and that got me in the same mood I was in thirty-six years ago. The visuals are state-of-the-art, and at times like I felt like I was in the cockpit flying right along with the cast. With the advances in technology and effects, there is a LOT more aerial action in this one, and it all worked well for me.
This film also plays homage to the original in many ways from music to little details that kept me on memory late, but the one thing that did not work for me here was the love interest storyline. With Kelly McGillis stating publicly that she was not contacted to return for this one, the storyline with Penny seems a little too thrown together, but that is more than made up with how Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Kilmer) is used. I rarely do this, but after seeing this in IMAX, I would strongly recommend seeing “Top Gun: Maverick” any way possible in a premium format theater.