‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is a Remarkable, Thrilling Sequel (Review)

by | May 25, 2022

Summer at the movies is just getting started, but Tom Cruise and company have set a really high the bar in this soaring sequel that is finally landing in theaters. 

Thirty-six years after the original Top Gun debuted in theaters, we finally have the long-awaited sequel. However, it feels like these last two years waiting for Top Gun: Maverick to be released were longer than the previous 34 years. Despite being in the can and finished over two years ago, several delays due to COVID-19 have halted the film’s release. 

But finally, Top Gun: Maverick is coming out this weekend and the wait was absolutely worth it. 

Not only will Top Gun: Maverick go down as one of the year’s best films, but it also will go down as one of the best action movies ever made. And how does the sequel compare to the original film? It flies by it at supersonic speed. 

After the opening credits, we get to see what Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is up to these days. After an adrenaline-fueled opening that puts his career in jeopardy, Maverick is called back to duty at the United States Navy’s elite school (called Top Gun) for the top one percent of its pilots. As an instructor, Maverick has three weeks to train the best of the best for a dangerous mission. 

This sequel exceeds its predecessor beginning firmly at the core of the film: the story. Sure, you might remember the original Top Gun for its action-packed moments, music, ubiquitous aviator sunglasses, and snarky lines from the pilots. But the story? It was essentially 60 minutes of pilots training and Maverick’s time with an instructor on a mission thrown in for the film’s final act. However, in Top Gun: Maverick, there is a story with real stakes and actual drama that you see through its characters, most apparently with Maverick, who is still haunted by the past when he lost his wingman, Goose, in the original film. Sure, there is plenty of nostalgia in Top Gun: Maverick, but it isn’t overdone or used merely as fill material the way it is in most of Hollywood’s sequels. It is used with precision here and blends in with the story rather than feeling like a plug-in. 

It should go without saying that the action in Top Gun: Maverick is the reason you should see this film in a movie theater (preferably in IMAX where numerous scenes were filmed using those cameras). Every single action sequence in the air is breathtaking and puts you right in the cockpit with the pilots. And when the third act arrives, you might need an oxygen mask to handle one of the best-ever third acts in an action movie. 

Those with doubts about Tom Cruise’s ability to still deliver on in an action film can bury them because the 59-year has still got it. As daring and as charming as he’s ever been in a film, Cruise reminds us of what true star power feels like on the big screen. Cruise is joined by a handful of great new characters, including Jennifer Connelly as an old fling, Jon Hamm as a no-nonsense admiral, Glen Powell as a cocky pilot whose call sign is “Hangman,”and the best new standout Miles Teller as a pilot with a call sign of “Rooster,” who just happens to be the son of Goose, Maverick’s original wingman from Top Gun. 

Action films don’t get any better than Top Gun: Maverick. And films, in general, don’t get much better than this Joseph Kosinski-directed feature. If you had any questions about seeing this film in a theater, one line from the film sums that up: 

“Don’t think. Just do.”


RATING: ★★★★★ 

(out of five stars)