Tom Cruise comes full circle, returning to the role that made him a megastar. While he had found success with Legend and Risky Business, it was 1986’s Top Gun that set the template for the biggest star in Hollywood.
A couple of months shy of his 60th birthday, he feels the need for speed again in this much-delayed sequel. A mind-boggling 36 years on from the events of the first film, Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise) has purposefully avoided any promotions that would take him out of the air.
Facing dishonourable discharge from his role as a test pilot, he gets one last chance – teaching elite pilots in his old Top Gun unit for a dangerous mission. Despite the wait, Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion) have found a recipe for success.
There are remixes of the first film, such as a bar singalong and slow-motion beach sports. However, the central plot is relevant and original.
It makes Maverick a flawed character with regrets that he has to overcome, but still capable of being the hero in the air. Speaking of which, the action scenes are stunning. Cruise did some of the flying himself, and the shots of him in the cockpit feel all the more thrilling because of it. It seems to have reinvigorated something in Cruise, too.
After years of playing straightforward supermen, he gets the chance to play someone with dimensions. His romance with Jennifer Connelly’s bar owner may be flat, but the tension with Miles Teller, playing the tragic Goose’s son, is terrific, and the legend enjoys a heart-breaking scene with Iceman himself, Val Kilmer.
Whatever your feelings about Cruise’s self-appointed mission to save cinemas, Top Gun: Maverick is an event film that will remind many of why they love going to The Movies. It’s as perfect a summer blockbuster as you could hope for.