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'Top Gun: Maverick' Review: Legacy Sequel Done Right

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Top Gun: Maverick is the sequel to the popular 1986 film Top Gun and once again stars Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who is ordered to teach a new group of aviators at Top Gun to accomplish a dangerous mission. The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski, who takes over for the late Tony Scott. Kosinski is known for directing another legacy sequel TRON: Legacy in 2010. The film also stars Miles Teller and Jennifer Connelly. I always enjoyed Top Gun, but it was never one of my favorite 1980s films. Going into this film, I was not expecting a whole lot, but this film surprised me. Top Gun: Maverick is one of the best legacy sequels ever made!

Tom Cruise is once again great as Maverick. Miles Teller plays Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw from the first film. Teller is fantastic as Rooster and gives his best performance since Whiplash. Maverick and Rooster have a strained relationship and it becomes more complicated when Maverick becomes his instructor. Jennifer Connelly plays Penny Benjamin, Maverick’s love interest who he has a history with, but they rekindle their romance throughout the film. Connelly is great and her chemistry with Cruise works.

The best thing about Top Gun: Maverick is the camera work. Kosinski does a great job of capturing the feel of flying these planes. The speed of the planes and the tension the actors feel in the cockpit are captured very well. The filming crew was able to have cameras inside the cockpit to capture everything. Top Gun: Maverick does well in doing something differently from the first film and not relying on nostalgia as some legacy sequels do. Yes, the film has some nods to the original Top Gun, but it’s not the driving force of the film. A problem some sequels have nowadays are they rely too heavily on nostalgia. Top Gun: Maverick avoids this.

Top Gun: Maverick is a lot more emotional than anticipated. It is still a fun movie, but much more serious than the first film. Maverick is still dealing with Goose’s death. The emotional moments involve Maverick and Rooster’s relationship. Other key emotional moments involve the only other character from the first film, Iceman, once again played by Val Kilmer. Like Kilmer in real life, Iceman is sick, and in his small amount of screen time, he provides one of the most emotional scenes in the film.

The third act is the best part of the film. It’s one of the most exciting and tense third acts in the last few years. So much is happening, and we have no idea what’s going to happen next. It puts the audience on the edge of their seat. Harold Faltermeyer returns to do the score and is joined by Hans Zimmer and Lady Gaga. The score is great in this film, but I think the music of the original film is a little more memorable.

All in all, Top Gun: Maverick is one of the biggest surprises in the last few years. This film had great performances. The fun of the original is combined perfectly with emotional moments. The flight sequences are fun to watch. It’s a movie that reminds us why we love the theater experience. I’m glad this movie is making a lot of money. Hopefully, we get more great legacy sequels and they perform well. Before Top Gun: Maverick, we’ve gotten great legacy sequels that unfortunately never made a lot of money at the box office. I highly recommend you go check it out.

Final Grade: A

What did you think about Top Gun: Maverick? Let us know in the comments down below.

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