Sunday 5 March 2023

Movie Review: Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Genre: Action Drama
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris
Running Time: 130 minutes

Synopsis: More than 30 years after graduating, Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) returns to the Navy's Top Gun academy. He is tasked with preparing a group of ace pilots for a dangerous mission to destroy an enemy facility in mountainous terrain. The trainees include "Rooster" (Miles Teller), who is the son of Maverick's old buddy Goose, as well as "Hangman" (Glen Powell) and "Phoenix" (Monica Barbaro). Maverick reunites with his old rival "Iceman" (Val Kilmer), now an Admiral, reignites a romance with Penny (Jennifer Connelly), and clashes with Vice Admiral "Cyclone" (Jon Hamm). 

What Works Well: After a 36 year wait, the mix of nostalgia and action is potent. The Ray-Bans, the motorcycle, the irresistible boyish grin, some of the music, and all of the non-conformist attitude return with vigor, this time with an added dash of self-deprecating humour. The echoes of Maverick's past carry strong resonance, while the flight sequences, starring F/A-18 Super Hornets, feature real hardware and minimal CGI. Director John Kosinski pays homage to Tony Scott's legendary aerial aesthetics for a mission:impossible requiring canyon flying, gravity-defying climbs and dives, and precision targeting. The final 40 minutes are a non-stop old-fashioned action thrill ride.

What Does Not Work As Well: The inter-character dynamics, rivalries, and dialogue are from the 1980s school of elemental emotions.

Conclusion: The second trip to the danger zone is just as good.

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