The Reel Review
After a whopping 36 years, Tom Cruise reprises his role as U.S. fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in this sequel to 1986’s iconic military action drama, Top Gun. In Top Gun: Maverick, Mitchell, now a test pilot facing forced retirement, is asked to train the nation’s best Top Gun pilots for a harrowing Star Wars-styled mission to attack an enemy’s heavily fortified, underground uranium plant.
Under the helm of director Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion), Top Gun: Maverick is like a familiar, childhood friend – with a rousing score that is both fresh and very reminiscent of the original, as well as the same iconic images of shirtless fighter pilots on the beach and Maverick and his new love interest (Jennifer Connelly) riding on his motorcycle. (Hey, where are those helmets?!)
Miles Teller plays the now adult fighter-pilot son of Maverick’s late flight partner and amigo Goose (Anthony Edwards) from the 1986 film, with Glen Powell (Hidden Figures) as a rival hotshot pilot and Jon Hamm as the admiral who tries (and fails) to corral Maverick’s unconventional teaching methods. Besides Cruise, Val Kilmer (Tombstone, Val) is the only other returning cast member from the original film, reprising his role of The Iceman. His inclusion is a touching high point.
Top Gun: Maverick is Hollywood blockbuster moviemaking at its finest. It is brimming with charm while showcasing truly impressive, pulse-pounding, high-flying aerial maneuvers and a stirring score. The nostalgia-filled, heartfelt story from screenwriter Peter Craig (The Batman, 12 Strong) ticks all of the emotional boxes and is filled with fun, crowd-pleasing twists. Expect Lady Gaga (A Star is Born) to snag another Best Song Oscar for “Hold My Hand,” which WILL be the earworm of the summer. Top Gun: Maverick is formulaic perfection.
• Tom Cruise, a licensed pilot who turns 60 on July 3rd, required all filming of the in-flight sequences be actual flights – no CGI, which meant much of the cast had to undergo extensive G-force training to withstand the physical demands of G-force pressures during flights.
• Miles Teller beat out Nicholas Hoult and Glen Powell to win the role of Goose’s son. Powell’s audition went so well, however, that he was cast as the rival, in a role beefed up just for him.
• In 2019, Kelly McGillis speculated that she was not asked to appear in the sequel, because “I’m old and I’m fat and I look age appropriate… that is not what that whole scene is about. I’d much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age.” McGillis teaches acting in Asheville, North Carolina.
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