5 out of 5 stars (a classic)
Hollywood loves making sequels. Whether the original film is 2 years old or 52, if there’s love and nostalgia for it, a studio will greenlight a follow-up. Top Gun Maverick is that exceedingly rare sequel that comes to us decades after the original that’s actually great, building upon the foundation of what came before to deliver a stronger story with awe-inspiring action sequences and (hopefully) end the franchise’s story on a great high.
Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is one of the best of the best to ever graduate the fighter pilot training facility, known colloquially as “Top Gun”. When Maverick is ordered to return to Top Gun and train a new generation of recruits for a dangerous mission in 3 weeks time, he finds one of the students, codenamed “Rooster” (Miles Teller) is the son of his long-dead wingman and holds a deep grudge against him. Despite this, Maverick works to get the young whipper-snappers into shape under the eye of a serious-minded leader (Jon Hamm) and rekindles an old romance with bartender Penny (Jennifer Connelly playing a character referenced in the first movie).
Top Gun Maverick is as near-perfect a sequel to the original as you could get. The pilots outside of Rooster could have used more development and the Cruise-Connelly romance bored me, but otherwise this is fantastic. The story and soundtrack are strong, title character has matured, but is still recognizable and the flight sequences are tense, exciting, and perfectly shot to make you feel like you’re in the cockpit with the pilots. Miles Teller gives a wonderful performance as Rooster and has good antagonistic chemistry with Cruise, the script has well-placed moments of humor, and, like all great sequels, it pays respect to the original film while blazing its own trail. This is absolutely worth seeing in theaters. Top Gun Maverick is a more than worthy sequel that ends its franchise on a high-flying note. Drive on that Highway To The Danger Zone and See it!
Rated PG-13 for Sequences of Intense Action, And Some Strong Language