TOP GUN: MAVERICK – Review by Gadi Elkon

After many delays the sequel to TOP GUN is finally here!  TOP GUN: MAVERICK hits theaters near you in the next few days and our Gadi Elkon has his take on the film.

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of TOPGUN graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose”.

Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick 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.

Before his passing Director Tony Scott was rumored to be developing the sequel to his infamous wild ride that was, TOP GUN.  The younger brother of Sir Ridley Scott had his first super hit with the high-flying fictionalized look at the Navy’s best pilots.  The audacity and over-the-top feel of the original film allowed for a fanatical response from fans.  Tony would go on to make better films but this adrenaline-fueled story continued to be one of his most recognized successes.  Even if Tony was actually fired from the film by the studio, the wily Brit never stopped pushing the boundaries.  Tom Cruise’s infamous Maverick character optimizes the non-stop push that Tony and Tom had for this tale.  So its no wonder that this sequel is all about Maverick continuing to push the buttons, the boundaries and the barriers in front of him.

TOP GUN: MAVERICK was an incredible surprise to me.  I went in fearing a lack of depth but was really in awe at how much fun I had.  The film does have some plausibility issues, but so to did the original!  And yes some may harp on who’s not in the film.  As a theatrical experience though?  Well this sequel is freaking kick ass.  Cruise’s constant battle to never use CGI in his films forces each new story to push the cast and crew to new heights.  Oscar-winning Cinematographer Claudio Miranda brings the film to another level of precision. Add in the sonic boom of Lorne Balfe’s score/musical touches and the original film perfectly is recreated in the sequel.  The visuals are stunning, but its the music touches that will have fans going crazy in the theaters.

Casting wise the team is pretty solid with Jennifer Connelly giving life to a mere mentioned character from the original film.  Penny is the Admiral’s daughter that Maverick dated and later buzzed the tower her father was watching from.  Maverick rekindles the lost connection and still buzzes an Admiral in this sequel, the Rear Admiral is played by Ed Harris.  Bashir Salhuddin and Charles Parnell play sympathetic figures in Maverick’s new journey as an instructor.  Jon Hamm embodies the anti-Maverick sentiment perfectly as Adm. Beau “Cyclone” Simpson. The young Lieutenant pilots aka our Top Guns are a who’s who of hot stars from Monica Barbaro (‘Phoenix’), Jay Ellis (‘Payback’), Lewis Pullman (‘Bob’), Danny Ramirez (‘Fanboy’), Greg Tarzan Davis (‘Coyote’), and the Iceman like ‘Hangman’ played brilliantly by Glen Powell.  And of course Miles Teller as the bird like tie in as ‘Rooster’ to his beloved father ‘Goose’.  Teller’s portrayal as the angered son is the perfect combative element needed to push Maverick to unique emotional turmoil.  Also Teller’s moustache is itself another awesome character in the film.  Overall the film is a nice ensemble behind Cruise.  Fans though will all be talking about the heartbreaking casting of Maverick’s forever frenemy ICEMAN!  The mixture of Val’s real-life aliments into the Tom Kazansky character transcends the movie lore and leads to the film’s most powerful moment.

The final heroic thirty minutes of the film are borderline ridiculous.  Ok maybe not borderline just downright stupid.  With that said I can’t hate on this nostalgic and entertaining summertime treat.  Fans of the original will obviously go see this fun film, but for you newbies to the TOP GUN legacy don’t be scared.  In fact, catch the original on Netflix or on an ancient DVD copy and rush to the theaters to see this blockbuster.

TOP GUN: MAVERICK

Directed by: Joseph Kosinski

Written by: Based on characters by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.  Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie.  Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 4 Stars

Running Time: 2h 11min

Action / Drama

In Theaters this Friday May 27th with early access screening starting today, May 24th.

Starring:  Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Bashir Salhuddin, Glen Powell and Ed Harris

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

 

 

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