Maverick takes to the skies and flies high

Former Top Gun pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is called back to train a new group of students for a dangerous mission. Digital editor Dan Jensen steps into the danger zone in the most exciting movie attraction of 2022.

THE ORIGINAL top gun It was one of the biggest blockbusters of the ’80s, but despite the nostalgic love many movie fans have for it, it’s actually not a very good movie.

top gun it featured a protagonist who was shallow and disgusting, almost nothing resembling a plot, and was essentially a series of music videos created to sell Ray-Bans and increase Navy recruiting. But it came out at a time when action scenes with an amazing soundtrack (along with handsome actors with sexier haircuts) were selling tickets, so its timing was perfect.

Cut to 36 years later and now we have a sequel to that movie that few are willing to admit is pretty bad. It’s usually not a good sign when it’s been a long time before a sequel is released, so it was natural to be skeptical about that. Top Gun: Maverick. But wow…believe the hype because this movie is possibly the best sequel ever made in terms of improvement over the first movie.

Tom Cruise reprises his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who in the 36 years since the events of the first film has refused promotion in the Navy and remains a Captain. When his old rival turned friend Tom “Iceman” Kozansky (Val Kilmer), now commander of the US Pacific Fleet, recruits him to train a new squad of students, he accepts the assignment. reluctantly.

The students are being trained for an extremely dangerous mission to take out a uranium enrichment facility in an undisclosed country and among them is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of former Maverick co-pilot Goose, who has since passed away. in the first movie. , leading to the prolonged duel and stalling of Maverick’s career. Initially, the students see Maverick as an abandoned dinosaur from a bygone era and tensions arise between Mitchell and Bradshaw, creating pressure as time runs out for the pilots to rise to the occasion.

Top Gun: Maverick it succeeds in almost every department where its predecessor failed. The dialogue isn’t made up of quotable one-liners and actually serves to develop the characters and plot to the point where the audience actually cares about what’s going on. The performances are better, with each actor focused on making a more realistic movie. And the third act features a mission that is heartbreakingly tense, where any character could perish. The stakes are real this time.

But one of the areas where the movie really excels is in the dogfight footage. With zero CG stunts and putting the audience right in the pilot’s seat, the combat scenes are nothing short of thrilling. Every time you see Cruise and the other actors being smashed into their seats by the sheer speed and G-force, it’s real. And you feel it together with them. The direction of Joseph Kosinski (legacy of tron, Forgot) is masterful, taking equal time between creating a big-screen spectacle and a rich story.

Joining the ride is Jennifer Connelly as Maverick’s new love interest, Penny Benjamin. Connelly is a great actress and her character is fun, but ultimately she doesn’t make much sense in the overall story. Penny has a reason to be in Maverick’s life, but she could have carried more emotional weight at the end of the movie. That said, her scenes were anything but boring and ultimately end up being entertainingly pointless.

Harold Faltermeyer returns to score the new movie alongside Lorne Balfe, Lady Gaga and Hans Zimmer and there are some absolutely fantastic throwbacks to the original, especially the opening sequence that bridges the nostalgic feeling of 1986 with the present. Rooster’s costume design is also a delight, with the character’s father’s signature mustache and Hawaiian shirt. Top Gun: Maverick it’s packed with fan service, but never feels forced, giving fans of the original plenty to smile about.

But at the center, once again, is Tom Cruise. Say what you will about his personal life, but this guy has earned a reputation as one of Hollywood’s hardest-working action stars, putting himself in the danger zone to surprise audiences in bigger and more exciting ways with each movie. In addition to pulling off a great performance as he launches himself out of the cockpit of a fighter jet, he maintains the charisma that made him one of the world’s biggest stars in 1986 while giving Maverick a maturity and depth that makes the character much more realistic this time.

And for those wondering how Val Kilmer could be making a comeback in his current condition, where throat cancer has robbed him of the ability to speak properly, just make sure you have tissues on standby, as the scene that brought Maverick and Iceman together was Much more emotional than one would think. expect from an action blockbuster.

Top Gun: Maverick It has everything one could dream of in an action movie: a great script, impressive aerial scenes, and white-knuckle tension throughout the third act where you really care about the characters. Do not hesitate to accompany you on this walk!

★★★★★

Top Gun: Maverick is now playing in theaters in Australia.

You can follow digital editor Dan Jensen on Twitter @danjensenmovies or check out his YouTube channel, Movie Talk with Dan Jensen.

Follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independienteaus and on Facebook HERE.

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