Top Gun Maverick – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Top Gun Maverick – Adrenaline of the Skies: The Need for Speed … Returns!

Walking outside, you feel something has returned.  With longer days and warmer skies, the rush of everything makes you realize … summer is here.  For all the activities, one that is a tradition is the summer blockbuster season.  Every summer, there are plenty of films to look forward to but there is always one that captures the feeling of being the summer’s true blockbuster.  In this review, I look at a sequel many thought would never get made.  Following in the shadows of a classics 80s summer film, this sequel does the impossible.  Capturing the feeling while expanding beyond, Top Gun Maverick will have you soaring through the skies with action and heart.

Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) has served the navy as one of the top fighter pilots for 30 years.  When duty calls, he returns to his former topflight school to train.  With all at stake, will Maverick be able to lead a new generation and succeed once again.  To begin this review, we must bring up the challenges a sequel faces.  To bring everything into context, it has been more than 30 years since the original (Top Gun – 1986).  Making any sequel is an impossible task, but to make one after decades is dancing a delicate thread of capturing the feeling of (in some circles) a classic while also providing enough girth for the present.  With this new entry, the filmmakers faced the hurdles of recapturing the magic, build a new situation (with new and old characters) and provide that adrenaline filled adventure known for a summer blockbuster.  In the beginning, we are re-introduced to Maverick, a captain in the navy trying to keep alive the idea that fighter pilots are still needed (in the 21st century).  Through a mixture of high-octane action, folly confrontations and convenient plot devices, his career leads him to his final orders: return to North Island and train top graduates for a top-secret mission.  Once Maverick returns to Top Gun and the rest of the plot driven characters are in place, it leads into a second act that plays between nostalgic references, team comradery, relationship drama and fighter pilot action.  Between all the situational moments, what makes this new journey relatable is the emotional weight of Maverick’s past.  His connections with the Top Gun school, the young recruit Rooster (Miles Teller) and his past flame Penny (Jennifer Connelly) plays upon simplistic direction but are given the time to develop.  As things are slowly revealed, the dynamic of relationships lifts the journey above its cliché concepts, creating relatable situations that draw you into the mission even more.  Through each scene (of training), there is a dire understanding of what is to come.  As the day approaches (for the mission) it levels out an emotional gravitas that blends seamlessly with the blockbuster elements of the overall journey.

As certain conflicts reach a boiling point, it becomes prudent for Maverick to risk it all and show the real purpose of a fighter pilot.  As new things come to light, it brings about another realm of possibilities but also new dangers for the mission.  As the day comes, it leads into a final act of predictable situations.  Even when things are obvious, the emotional weight of each character adds excitement and tension to the crazed action sequences, amazing cinematography and heavy score.  With everything on the line, it leads into a climax of hearty revelations and an amazing epilogue that makes you want to keep riding with the pilots (till the end).  Top Gun Maverick is a sequel that can capture the magic (of the original) but succeed on many levels.  If there is a film that defines the summer blockbuster season … it is this one.  If you are a fan of adventure, action, fighter pilots or the original Top Gun this is for you.  This is a definite great time at the theaters, worth the full price to see on the big screen.

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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