Movie Review, Top Gun: Maverick

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Story by Alex Paulino and Logan Neadel

Top Gun: Maverick expressed a spectacle that has not been portrayed in film in quite some time. The sounds of engines blaring, the cheers of its diverse cast, the roars of aviation leaving a trail of smoke across the skies. Excitement on a level this grounded is quite rare, which is why Maverick has been the subject of endless praise, some of which include becoming Paramount’s top-grossing movie of all time, beating Titanic, and having one of the most profitable opening days of movie history. It is cheerful that a film that has been in development for the past 10 years has been given a fair shot at both the critical and commercial box office. 

It’s fulfilling to see a high-production, non-CGI-heavy, beautiful, and heart-racing story like this on the big screen after nearly 40 years following the previous Top Gun. It was a cinch and groundbreaking part of the first movie to have real planes, but seeing it done again after true aviary wonder being watered down under a CGI mess, feels groundbreaking, once more. 

What’s so special about Maverick is how it can create its own identity despite being a sequel. There is a multitude of nostalgic moments and yet, the film never drags on them. It moves at such a lightning pace that it never truly feels like a movie carried by pre-existing material. Yes, it has nostalgic moments, but those moments are done magnificently and at that, move the plot in an effective way and cues in new audiences to information they should know; so the audience isn’t questioning anything about the plotline In the middle of a high action missile evasion sequence. This allows Maverick to have a fantastic pace, which is great for a movie that loves to boast its speed. 

Tom Cruise, aged 23, in 1986’s Top Gun.

However, where Top Gun: Maverick shouts proudly with its daring aviation, what harms Maverick is its unwillingness to hone in on its narrative targets. To be clear, the ideas here are incredible. Tom Cruise’s character, Pete Mitchell, is supposedly being challenged by time. In a career first, Cruise is playing a character that acknowledges that he is growing old. Mitchell is haunted by the sands of time and his past mistakes, which is a plot device that should explore change. However, by the end of the road, Mitchell has not changed. I feel that for a story aiming to be a character study, there is shockingly little to really analyze about Mitchell’s character. 

Despite being introduced in both the original 1986 film and Top Gun: Maverick as brash, arrogant, and stubborn, he is quite progressive towards aviation and his relationship with his colleagues. At the beginning of the film, he is shown flying a brand-new prototype of an aircraft. This would be a good time to introduce Mitchell’s stubbornness. Perhaps, he is too married to the idea of his younger prime, flying those old aircraft that we knew and loved, and it is in the hands of Rooster and the supporting cast to introduce him to a new age of dog fighting. 

However, we do not get that. We are shown Mitchell is arrogant towards authority, yet when it comes to becoming the authority in the form of teaching these new pilots, he is oddly reclusive in terms of allowing them to experiment. There is a scene in which he throws away their textbooks, as a way to show how opposed he is to authoritative learning. But when it is time to teach these pilots, it is always his way, under his rules. He never learns about any of these pilots on a fundamental level in order to see their true skills, he simply makes them train as he does and they are expected to just be okay with it. For a film about Pete Mitchell passing the torch onto a new generation of pilots, he is oddly against the idea of allowing them their own identity in the air. 

Tom Cruise, aged 59, in Top Gun: Maverick.

Maverick fails a bit with its story while it’s piloting graciously, but it’s still a joyful movie. It’s one of the loudest films to release in recent memory and has notably stood out from other movies released during its time, hailed as the summer movie of 2022. It will likely stay as such in the crosswinds of film history, a fun, loud, and supersonic fast movie that may have left some of its storytelling on the tarmac. But, most importantly it shows off the beauty of aviation and Tom Cruise’s never-ending attempt to prove he is the most practical actor there is.

Alex’s Score – MakeMoreSequelsLikeThis/10

Logan’s Score – 9/10