Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is assigned to instruct a
squad of the Navy's top fighter pilots in a dangerous new mission.
Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Written by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer,
Starring Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly,
Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman,
Bashir Salahuddin, Charles Parnell, Val Kilmer
Sequel to 1986's Top Gun
I'm one of the seemingly few people in this country who never jumped on the Top Gun bandwagon. I saw the movie once a few years ago and I didn't care for it. I thought it was cheesy, meandering, pointless, and poorly acted. I moved on, then a sequel was announced. Then delayed. Then delayed again. And again. Finally, Top Gun: Maverick arrived and I was determined not to see it. Due to how much I disliked the first one, I didn't want to see more. Then the reviews came out and this became one of the most beloved films of the year. People adored it, and not just people filled with nostalgia for the 80s. This was the film where Tom Cruise finally admitted he was getting old, and he used Maverick to do it. And I must say, bravo. This film surpasses the original by miles and is the gold standard of belated sequels.
Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Cruise) is still a captain in the Navy. He's avoided advancement so he can stay in the sky, and it's made him kind of a pariah among the brass. He gets reassigned as a teacher, where he must teach a squad of arrogant, reckless Top Gun graduates how to be a team. Among them is Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (Teller), son of Maverick's best friend Goose, who was killed during the events of the first film. The two of them have never been close because Rooster blames Maverick for it. But everyone must put ego aside to accomplish an impossible mission. The fighter jet scenes are incredible, and were done for real. There's barely any CGI in this film, apart from a digital recreation of Val Kilmer's voice, which the actor unfortunately lost to a bout with throat cancer. Still, seeing Iceman and Maverick together again even for one scene was enough to make anyone smile.
I am a bit shocked at how great Top Gun: Maverick was. This was the film that topped my least anticipated films of 2022 list. But it's the film we all didn't know we needed. There's just enough nostalgia-fueled throwback scenes to remind you this is still a sequel to Top Gun, but this time, there's an actual plot with well-rounded, intriguing characters and a satisfying arc for Maverick that actually has something to say. Well done.