Review: “Top Gun: Maverick”

Stephen Wade, Staff Writer



In a year full of great movies as people flood back into cinemas, one stands out as the highest grossing movie of 2022 and quite arguably the best. Ranking as the best Memorial Day opening weekend and the 11th highest worldwide grossing movie of all time, “Top Gun: Maverick” is soaring in the box office. It recently surpassed Titanic as the 7thhighest grossing film at the domestic box office, it shows no sign of stopping as the film is still currently showing in theaters.

In 1986, 23-year-old actor Tom Cruise elevated his career to superstardom by starring in the movie “Top Gun”. He portrayed a hot shot, rebellious navy jet pilot Pete Mitchell, better known by his call sign “Maverick”. Now 36 years later, Cruise is back in the cockpit to reprise his role as Maverick alongside a new cast of characters and a few returning members.

Maverick returns to Top Gun, the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School, as an instructor after being a graduate years prior and being grounded as a test pilot for several actions of insubordination. Still being haunted by the death of his best friend and wingman, Goose, during a training exercise gone wrong in the original Top Gun, he struggles to fairly instruct Goose’s son, Rooster (Miles Teller).

Unlike Maverick, Rooster flies by the book, with precision, and airs on the side of caution rather than being the fastest. This is the main contrast between him and his rival, Hangman (Glen Powell), who gets his name from the fact that he is more than likely to leave you hanging during a mission to make himself look good.

When tasked with training and teaching several young pilots for the most dangerous mission of their lives, Maverick realizes that there is still some things that he must learn. Struggling to produce much progress, he finds out that these pilots might need some of his rebellious, fast, outside of the box flying.

The movie features several jaw-dropping fighter jet scenes that are filmed using real planes, which the cast went through extensive training to be able to fly as passengers in them. This training allowed the actors to accurately portray how a fighter jet pilot would act during flight.

“There is no green screen in a Top Gun movie,” says Miles Teller in an interview with Men’s Journal. “Every shot, every stunt, was the result of the work, the real sweat, that we all put into it.”

Fans of the original “Top Gun” will be pleased to know that the sequel features several callbacks to the original. These callbacks include Maverick’s signature motorcycle look, a recreation of the iconic beach scene, an appearance from Val Kilmer’s Iceman, and of course, pilots singing the classic “Great Balls of Fire”. These callbacks create an atmosphere of fun nostalgia that reminds fans of the original while making them fall in love with the new.

“Top Gun: Maverick” has exceeded expectations with a 96% on the Tomatometer with an 99% audience score and an 8.5/10 on IMDb. The fast-paced, action-packed film has earned $706.3 million at the U.S. box office and $1.355 billion worldwide.

Despite several notable films and numerous “Mission: Impossible” movies, “Top Gun: Maverick” has become Cruise’s most successful movie, surpassing“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” as the actor’s highest grossing movie.

But that is not the only feat that makes this film impressive. In a world of failed movie reboots, “Top Gun: Maverick” proves itself as a successful sequel and many fans even prefer it over the original.

When asked about whether he prefers the original or the sequel, Decatur junior Briggs Pugner said, “They have different great aspects but the new one (“Top Gun: Maverick”) was written and filmed better.” Pugner also described the film as a,“great representation of flight maneuvers with groundbreaking filming.”

Between the amazing fighter jet scenes, callbacks to the original “Top Gun”, and a brand new cast of characters accompanied by iconic returning ones, “Top Gun: Maverick” is an absolute win.