Top Gun: Maverick Movie Review Impressive aerial scenes, but also more mature narration than in number one

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  • Combining technically perfect aerial scenes with a more mature story than in number one


  • The geopolitical vacuum in which the combat mission is embedded

Tom Cruise will celebrate his 60th birthday at the beginning of July, and as such an early gift for ourselves and for us as viewers, we can take the sequel to the film, which catapulted him into the stars of the first magnitude. Thirty-six years have passed since the premiere of Top Gun, in which he played a rebel pilot in the US Navy.

A better story than number one

Tony Scott’s film, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, earned 356 of them at a budget of $ 15 million and became the box office hit of the year. The story of friendship, rivalry, love for a senior instructor and supersonic flying, influenced by video aesthetics, ensured the US Navy an increased influx of new recruits and an Oscar for the song Take My Breath Away.

Jerry Bruckheimer, director Joseph Kosinski, who made the sci-fi with Tom Cruise, is behind the sequel again. Unconsciousness and screenwriter and, in the case of Top Gun duo, producer Christopher McQuarrie, who collaborated with the actor on Valkyries and is currently directing the seventh and eighth parts of the Mission: Impossible series with him.

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But the main person in this project is, of course, Tom Cruise. With his personal commitment in the breathtaking aviation scenes and his grateful charisma, which still affects women and at the same time defies the authorities.

It was Cruise who exchanged at the time of the covid that the film, which had already been made in 2019, would go to the cinemas at a more opportune time, unmarked by the outflow of viewers from them. A week ago, he was ceremoniously presented at the Cannes Film Festival, and the prestigious show gave it the appropriate shine.

He deserves it, because the creators, who often quote and nostalgialy, elevated the original material to a higher level with the help of modern, but at the same time approach to the action scenes of old-world filmmaking. The two will certainly not be tempted to parody as the number one in Hot Shots, as it offers a much more mature narration, which is based not only on the impressive adrenaline air scenes, but also on the emotions and character development, reflecting what they have experienced since the previous film.

A sense of responsibility

Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, played by Tom Cruise, is no longer the self-centered flute from number one, although he still likes to move on the edge, which irritates his superiors. The trauma of the father in number one, which was compounded by the death of his partner and navigator Nick “Goose”, continues to deepen the sense of responsibility for the fate of Nick’s son Bradley “Rooster”.

Maverick proves that he still rules the clouds, but he is much more uncertain on earth. Maybe because inside he feels that life there has run out a little before his eyes. It is not so much that he avoided promotion within the US Navy hierarchy in order to remain a test fighter pilot, he found meaning in flying, but rather that the presence of a partner’s son among the young pilots he is to train or ancient love , reminds him that there are other values ‚Äč‚Äčthat he pushed into the background.

Bradley blames him not only for his father’s death, but also for delaying his career in the Navy for four years. Now they meet together in Top Gun, where Maverick is to prepare the young and the pilots for a dangerous mission in a record short time. At first, they approach their instructor with discretion, but then they convince them of their qualities, which they will use in a joint combat mission.

Nostalgic quotes

The two-hour narration in the generous exhibition not only plays out the relationship dynamics between the characters, especially between Maverick and similarly confident and arrogant cadets as he once was, or Maverick and his superiors, but also themes the transformation of aviation technology into unmanned. Where millions of dollars’ s machines are starting to reduce the human factor with its unpredictability. That is, something that is typical of Maverick.

The “fatherly” tension between him and the crooked Rooster is reminiscent of a boyish melodrama, with which a tasteful romantic line intersects between Maverick and Penny (Jennifer Connelly). A single mother and bartender from a club near the base who is Maverick’s longtime love.

The plot largely copies the one from the first film. The jealousy between Maverick and Iceman (Val Kilmer) is replaced by the one between Rooster and the boastful Hangman (Glen Powell). Of course, Rooster has the same mustache as his father.

It is similar with the quote of well-known scenes and ingredients (glasses, motorcycle) that will make you sound nostalgic. Lively bustle of an aircraft carrier in an impressive orange sunset, Maverick’s ride on a motorcycle near a flying fighter jet, a pilot bar with a song at the piano, sports bonding of pilots on the seashore.

At number one, this beach volleyball scene with sporty, shiny bodies had a homoerotic touch, as well as the whole film of a kind of fetishized testosterone masculinity, so easy to parody. In a duo with a greater gender and racial balance in the composition of the pilots, this disappears and, on the contrary, a greater emotionality of the male scenes begins. For example, during Maverick’s meeting with Iceman, whose representative Val Kilmer suffers from laryngeal cancer, which is sensitively incorporated into the character of his role.

Geopolitical vacuum

The characteristics of the characters with an emphasis on their past and aging sound much better than in the first place, similarly to the air scenes, which seem incomparably more intense than in it. They are dynamic, attractive, well-sounded, clearly cut and connected thanks to cameras to the perspective of the pilot in the cockpit.

At high speeds, we see the actors in the roles of pilots deforming their faces, we perceive their emotions, the pressure they experience. It seems very realistic and at the same time euphoric, as supersonic fighters perform groundbreaking stunts in a narrow gorge. It all culminates in a half-hour final graduating event, the biggest motto of which, like the whole film, is that it does without CGI support, so typical, for example, for Marvelos. It was filmed on real F-18 or F-14 machines and the actors underwent demanding training and the result is obvious.

What freezes a bit is the fact that the mission takes place in a geopolitical vacuum, from which it is not clear who is the enemy who is hiding an enriched uranium processing plant between the mountains, which could threaten NATO. It is alibi decision-making by the creators, but understandable in terms of the film’s entry into some markets, which could complicate this.

The film gives up political commentary, but otherwise avoids all the usual ills of continuing. Although it is more magnificent, technically more advanced and with more action scenes than its predecessor, but with all its impressive efficiency, it does not lose its heart and has a better story than the original one. It’s such an action melodrama that you are not ashamed of the sentiment that drips from it, because it is part of the history of this phenomenon and the phenomenon of Tom Cruise, which is aging more slowly than those fighters that will be replaced by drones.

Top Gun: Maverick

  • Genre: action
  • Original name: Top Gun: Maverick
  • USA, 2022
  • Screenplay: Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie
  • Director: Joseph Kosinski
  • Starring: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Val Kilmer, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Glen Powell, Manny Jacinto, Ed Harris
  • Distribution: CinemArt
  • Distribution premiere in the Czech Republic: May 26, 2022

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