It goes through its storytelling beats without fuss but also without invention, though all that becomes insignificant when you are in the cockpit of a fighter jet in what could be the most immersive blockbuster to be shot aerially since Dunkirk.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer, Jon Hamm
Plot: Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.
Distributor: United International Pictures
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Audience Type: Mainstream
Viewed: In Theatres – Shaw Waterway IMAX
Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 original is, in the view of many, the superior of the two.
At once heralding back to the style of old-school blockbusters of the late 20th century, yet also utilising advanced technology to capture scenes in-camera rather than rely on CG effects, Tom Cruise’s latest box-office hit will not only entertain audiences but further solidify the actor’s status as possibly the last great global action superstar from Hollywood.
Directed by Tron: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski, who previously worked with Cruise on Oblivion back in 2013, Maverick sees the titular character return to train a group of F-18 pilots who will embark on a very perilous mission to take out a uranium storing site.
Much of the film’s selling point is that Cruise and the actors are up in the air for real, undergoing countless hours of rigorous training to withstand the G-forces, operate the specially mounted cameras and, well, act.
‘You think up there, you’re dead, believe me.”
The result is as breathtaking as it gets in what could be the most immersive big-budgeted blockbuster to be shot aerially since Dunkirk (2017).
It’s not all action though as there are more scenes devoted to human connection and empathy than your usual Hollywood tentpole—the most affecting one features Val Kilmer (who has been battling ill health for years) in a short cameo as ‘Iceman’, now an admiral, as he converses with the help of a computer.
Top Gun: Maverick goes through its storytelling beats without fuss but also without invention—the film can be summed up structurally: here’s a stealth mission, let’s prepare for it, let’s do it and be back in one piece. It’s rather conventional in that sense but all that becomes insignificant when you are in the cockpit of a fighter jet.