Wow. If such a thing exists, Top Gun: Maverick might be the perfect film. I mean it. Tom Cruise has outdone himself with this film. 36 years in the making, Maverick is finally on the big screen, and I could not be more in love. Think about how much you loved the original Top Gun. Think hard. And when you’re ready, take that feeling, and multiply it 100x. That’s Top Gun: Maverick. That’s how much this film does for the theatrical experience. It’s not one to see on a TV, but rather the BIGGEST SCREEN POSSIBLE. I saw it in IMAX, you probably should too.
What makes the film so good, you may be asking. Tom Cruise makes it good. Miles Teller makes it good. Glen Powell makes it good. Joseph Kosinski makes it good. From the actors to the directors to the producers, it all comes together to form a love affair to cinema, and I don’t think anyone would disagree. The F-18s used in the film were real, were flown by Tom Cruise, and make for insane stunts and action scenes. As such, let’s get into it.
Wow. The acting in this film is SOMETHING ELSE. Tom Cruise has made the best film of his career, and I’m not even sure there’s a competition. Ask anyone, they’ll tell you I’m a huge fan of the Mission: Impossible franchise. But this, this surpasses even M:I. This is pure acting driven by nostalgia and emotion. There are countless reasons you could go see Top Gun, nostalgia, action, directing, but the one and only main reason stands above all else, acting.
As I previously said, this is the best film of Tom Cruise’s entire career. He’s charismatic, and the entire world seems to gravitate around him when he appears on-screen. No matter how good Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, or Glen Powell may be, Cruise is the driving force behind this entire machine. He’s poured his heart out into this role, and wow, we sit in the audience in awe. He has amazing chemistry with Miles Teller, Glen Powell, and most importantly, Jennifer Connelly.
Speaking of Connelly, she’s also incredible. The love interest this time around, she doesn’t waste a second. She’s not afraid to publicly shame Cruise, once ringing a bell (in a packed bar) that signifies disrespect towards a woman. Speaking about great performances, Monica Barbaro, the other prominent female actress in the film. She might be better than Connelly. Also, making her big-time debut with Maverick, Barbaro has the same showman talent as Cruise, with the same wit and charm.
And one more topic about Top Gun: Maverick‘s acting. Glen Powell and Miles Teller are not to be messed with. The duo that plays Hangman and Rooster, respectively have excellent chemistry at worst. They each play their characters extremely well, and their back-and-forth banter is just the cherry on top. Each vying for the chance to be Maverick’s wingman, Powell and Teller don’t fail in getting audiences to truly believe that they want that chance to prove themselves.
The directing in this film, well, is great. I mean, just look at the image below. The sun reflecting off Phoenix (as seen below) is something that only an extremely talented director could pull off. And Joseph Kosinski is an extremely talented director, even if his resume doesn’t show it. The shot choice and locations are something else. And I won’t even talk about Mach 10. Actually, I will.
The opening scene of Top Gun: Maverick is fire. Absolutely fire. We open to see Tom Cruise taking care of his motorcycles, his current position is test-flying planes for the military. He’s scheduled to take a plane for a spin, trying to get to Mach 9. Instead, an admiral calls. He wants Mach 10. So of course, Tom Cruise pulls a Tom Cruise, and pushes the plane all the way to Mach 10. Actually, 10.2. Spoiler alert: Cruise ends up fried in the middle of…New Mexico? Something like that.
The writing, well, there are villains in this tale, but they’re not named. I’m not going to speculate as to why, but it may work even better than if they were named. Instead, we take the time to focus on our protagonists, who have lives of their own, it seems. Tom Cruise even has a new love interest, replacing Kelly McGillis. We get to peer into the lives of all the pilots, most of all Cruise. It reminds us that people may be in service for the military, but they’re still people. They have lives, they have families. That’s what Maverick is all about. Family.
The action on this film is next-level. It’s stuff that I’d never dreamed of seeing for another 20 years. The action in the third act is so realistic you’d think it was real. Oh wait, it is. If I’m being honest, the flight shots might even be enough for Lucasfilm to reconsider their Rogue Squadron film in development, because as of right now, they have no shot in keeping up with Paramount.
Yeah I mean, as I said, Navy pilots literally took the actors in flight and they filmed their scenes in the cockpit of an F-18, 10,000 feet in the air. It also brings back memories of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, though. This whole “hit this tiny spot in the middle of a giant area” is incredibly resemblant of the Death Star. The first and second acts have plenty of military jet action, but the third act really elevates this film. No pun intended.
Top Gun: Maverick is a genuine love affair with cinema. Tom Cruise, Monica Barbaro, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Joesph Kosinski, it all works. 36 years in the making, and the gamble has paid off. Tom Cruise is genuinely one of the best actors of our time. Top Gun: Maverick is in theatres now, and you can let us know what you thought of the film by mentioning us on Twitter at @ReviewedCinema.
Overall Grade: A++