Top Gun: Maverick (English) Rating 3.5/5 & Rating
36 years ago, the movie TOP GUN hit the big screen, starring a young Tom Cruise as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Val Kilmer as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky. The film was one of the first large-screen presentations featuring dogfights. Adding visual support to the 1986 release was the soundtrack, which featured songs like “Danger Zone,” “Take My Breath Away,” “Great Ball Of Fire,” and of course, “Top Gun Anthem,” which are still heard today as classics . Now, 36 years later, we see a sequel to the film preparing for the big screen, but will TOP GUN: MAVERICK bring back the excitement and stunning visuals seen 36 years ago, or will the film just be another run be the mill action entertainer is the question.
TOP GUN: MAVERICK begins with test pilot Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) who purposely avoided promotion in rank to continue flying after 36 years of service. One day, Maverick is called upon to take on the training of a group of Top Gun graduates for a special mission under the orders of his former rival, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), commander of the US Pacific fleet. Among them is Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s late best friend and RIO Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. When Maverick arrives, he is told by his commanding officers that the elite group of Top Gun pilots has been assembled for a special mission against an unnamed hostile mountain nation that has begun building enriched uranium facilities. The assembled team under Maverick is ordered to pre-emptively destroy the uranium facility despite its highly peculiar location deep in a mountainous canyon surrounded by several SAM sites. Maverick meets the team of elite pilots, who give him a cool salute. One of them, Jake “Hangman” Seresin (Glen Powell), cynically keeps his distance from the other pilots, including Maverick. When Maverick and Rooster meet, there is high tension that sometimes erupts into outright hostility and an almost fistfight between Hangman and Rooster. As training begins and the pilots witness Maverick’s flying skills during training dogfights, the other pilots begin to reconsider their skepticism about Maverick, and most of them come to appreciate Maverick’s talent for dogfighting. Maverick presents a mission plan to high command and tells them that he recommends a mission of two F/A-18 Hornets, each with a separate F/A-18E/F Super Hornet escort. The final teams of pilots are assembled and the mission is launched under the command of Maverick. Will the mission be successful, if Maverick and Rooster get over their differences, Rooster and Hangman’s rivalry will be their undoing, that makes up the rest of the film.
Right from the start, viewers get a glimpse of the 1986 film. From the opening shot, which details the setting over the years, to the introduction of Maverick and his legendary Kawasaki Ninja gpz900r, which became a rage at the time, the Viewers are guided through a quick montage reliving days gone by. But that doesn’t hinder the film, on the contrary, it helps create the foundation upon which the new film is built. From here, TOP GUN: MAVERICK describes the new generation of fighter pilots and their goals, while also demonstrating Maverick’s inability to follow orders. In the first half, the film takes us through the life and past of the main character. Maverick and Rooster open up about their feelings. While this segment may seem slow, director Joseph Kosinski keeps it entertaining with well-injected humor, action, and of course, one-liners. Things pick up speed towards the end of the first half, with post-break procedure keeping the spectator in his seat. With most of the dogfight sequences and training in the second half of the film, TOP GUN: MAVERICK quickly changes pace to become a thrilling ride. Much like the first 1986 film, TOP GUN: MAVERICK boasts some death-defying dogfight sequences that would make some motion-sick sufferers feel a little queasy. But for the rest, enjoying the thrill of a high-speed car chase with the prospect of certain death just inches away, these sequences make for an exhilarating ride.
A special mention deserves Peter Craig and Justin Marks who developed the story. While staying true to the original 1986 feature film, the duo did a good job of retaining the spirit and thrill of the new film. While in certain sections the on-screen actions get a bit overly dramatic, they are few and well executed. Here, too, director Kosinski rises to the occasion and weaves drama with action into a seamless, unique storyline. The highlight of the film, however, are the dogfight sequences that will keep you in your seat. With gossip-worthy performances and well-executed death-defying stunts, these sequences are definitely a must-see. At a time when CGI and VFX have taken a leap forward, watching action sequences like this is just something different.
On the other hand, the movie doesn’t bore you, but the first half gets a bit sluggish. The second half is exciting, but also quite predictable. A major plot point in the climax is quite convenient and might be hard for some viewers to digest. Also, the content isn’t exactly heavy, so the dubbed audience wouldn’t find it exciting enough.
In terms of performances, Tom Cruise, Miles Teller and Jennifer Connelly are on point. Each of the three has reprized their roles to perfection. Tom Cruise obviously deserves a special mention as he is the face of the film. His performance is spot on as always, but what impresses most is his energy and passion for his work at this age. In fact, he’s as energetic as the first part released 36 years ago! Likewise, Val Kilmer, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Glen Powell did a good job in supporting roles. While one might wish for a little more rivalry between Teller and Powell’s characters, the stage is set for future expansion between the two.
As for the 1986 score, the impeccable soundtrack stood out with songs that are now considered cult classics. Inspired by this, TOP GUN: MAVERICK includes some of the tracks, namely “Danger Zone”, “Great Balls of Fire” and “Top Gun Anthem” from the original film. However, the Berlin track “Take My Breath Away”, which shot to the top of the charts upon release, was replaced by an equally melancholy “Hold My Hand”. Apart from that, the film features an interesting background music that adds to the thrill of the dogfight sequences.
Overall, TOP GUN: MAVERICK keeps the spirit of the 1986 release alive while providing viewers with an experience unlike most CGI and VFX-heavy films. Reminiscent of a time when stunts were performed, not animated, the film keeps you trapped in your seat. However, at the Indian box office, TOP GUN: MAVERICK faces a difficult task of releasing collections. Faced with competition from previous and new Bollywood releases such as BHOOL BHULAIYAA 2 and ANEK, and of course the lack of promotion, the film faces some insurmountable odds.