“Top Gun: Maverick”

I tend to hold my breath when a studio announces their intention to make a sequel to a beloved, decades-old, action mega hit, but my apprehension was unwarranted with “Top Gun: Maverick.” The film is not without its problems, but it’s a near-perfect master class in giving the people what they want.

Not straying too much from its roots, the sequel is almost a carbon copy of its 1986 predecessor. From the opening synth theme to slightly different situations that deliver a hearty dose of deja vu, director Joseph Kosinski sticks to a formula with a proven, successful track record. It’s a film with an endless supply of nostalgia for those of us who fondly remember the original, but is also updated in a way that can also be enjoyed by the younger generation.

The story doesn’t seem far fetched, but it is unoriginal. After more than 30 years in the service as one of the country’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise, who is still a bonafide superstar) is ordered back to Top Gun, the home of the Navy elite. He’s been tasked with training the “best of the best” new graduates for a dangerous mission that will take a lot of skill and a whole lot more luck. Things get sticky when Maverick learns Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of his late wingman Goose, is part of the elite team. Confronting the old ghosts of guilt and regret, Maverick must let go of the past if he wants a shot at redemption.

For a story that talks a lot about moving on, it sure is stuck on reliving the glory days. Maverick is set in his ways, and his stubbornness and rebellious attitude is celebrated: but you can’t hide the fact that he’s 60 and has never moved up in rank. There are new characters introduced that are so close to carbon copies of the minor ones from the first film that I found myself referring to them as “the new Iceman” and “the new Merlin.” It’s terrific that the new cast is so diverse, but the hyper-masculine nature of the military is still out in full force. The two major female characters are a bartender and a pilot, neither of which are in powerful positions or rank. It wouldn’t have been so difficult to cast a woman in one of the film’s many Officer roles.

This isn’t a challenging nor particularly intelligent movie, and it’s not one I’d want to revisit nor even begin to consider an instant classic. The first half is formulaic and clunky, with a bland, uncomplicated story. It’s the second half that’s worth waiting for, as Kosinski kicks the afterburners into high gear. The aerial photography (from cinematographer Claudio Miranda) is spectacular, especially when the teams of pilots finally fly the “impossible” mission that feels as if it will lead to certain death. It’s a true edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, and it’s precisely why many of us love summer blockbusters in the first place.

“Top Gun: Maverick” fulfills just about every single thing audiences expect and crave, and it’s a film that does it exceedingly well.

By: Louisa Moore


  1. Spot-on, Louisa, and I say this as a “not Tom Cruise” fan. There are only a handful of his films I like (notably, Tropic Thunder) and the original “Top Gun” is one of them. The remake, er, sequel is everything you expect. The plot is straight-forward … not overly complex, but not mind-numbingly dull. The cinematography is sensational. It’s not *overly* predictable and seems at least plausibly believable. Summer flicks are meant to dazzle, not make you think, but it is a fine line between popcorn-munching action and gratuitous explosions. TG:Maverick deftly finds the balance between new and nostalgia. In other words, it is the *perfect* summer popcorn flick.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVED this movie!! I also originally thought that a sequel would never stand up – pleasantly surprised. In the beginning I thought that Tom Cruise looked a lot like a young Dennis Quaid.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with your opinion. It stays close to the original. So it truly gives the audience who fell in love with it’s predecessor something to appreciate.
    I love, however, the storyline attached to Goose. My 11 year old cried at moments. But said the original “is still the best!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What has impressed me the most is the positive reviews from YouTube streamers who are former F-14 or F/A-18 pilots and Top Gun instructors. Not only are they obviously nostalgic, but they have few things to criticize from a technical perspective, except for a few nitpicks.
    The lack of women in command is fairly accurate, that’ll take
    I thought it was good popcorn, but the story

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WP won’t let me edit my comment that got mangled by the WP login system. I can’t even delete the comment and re-edit. Sigh. Anyway, I thought it was a pretty good aviation movie, but the story was pretty lame.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry about the WP editing issues! I will look into it and see if that’s something I can fix on my end. Agree that the story was lame. Cool to hear from a pilot about the aviation photography. I thought it was well done and exciting.


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