Top Gun: Maverick, the review: a touching, spectacular return to the Danger Zone

The Top Gun review: Maverick, the ambitious and massive sequel to the 1986 film that made Tom Cruise a star.

Tom Cruise in a scene from Top Gun

Another circle closes with the Top Gun review: Mavericka film that finally arrives in theaters almost two years after the originally scheduled date (and on the same occasion it passes to Cannes Film Festival, who had booked it for the phantom 2020 edition). One of the symbolic films of the pandemic arrives at the cinema, postponed several times in order to take advantage of conventional distribution rather than fall back on the provisional solution of streaming in times of health crisis. A possibility, the latter, that many feared since Paramount, before the launch of its platform, sold many of its titles planned for the last two years to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. And during the presentation of the film at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, producer Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed that there have been offers to that effect, all rejected by him and by producer / star Tom Cruise because the return of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is from enjoy on the biggest screen possible, with an audio system that does justice to this new journey along the highway that leads to the Danger Zone.

Sometimes they come back

Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards in Top Gun

Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards in Top Gun

Top Gun: Maverick is set a few decades after the events of the progenitor, and Maverick is still in business, always with the rank of captain because his unorthodox methods do not go down to the upper echelons of the navy (and he himself does not like promotions. ). After infuriating an Admiral (Ed Harris) who advocates the use of drones, Maverick risks losing everything, but is saved by ex-rival Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), who recruits him to train a new generation. of pilots in the same school that the two of them attended almost forty years ago. A delicate task, for two reasons: the course must be completed in a fairly short period of time, as it is linked to a special high-risk mission in enemy territory (the film never specifies exactly where, so as not to compromise the international release) ; and among the students is Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), who never got along completely with Maverick about what happened years ago to his father, the late Goose (Anthony Edwards, present in archive excerpts).

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Nostalgia flagship

Top Gun Maverick Tom Cruise

Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise in action in a breathtaking scene

Like many recent films that dig up intellectual property from decades past, the Top Gun sequel falls into the category of legacyquela tradition that proudly embraces in the first minutes of the film: the font of the opening credits is the same, the sequence also (more or less), the logo of the Jerry Bruckheimer production company is that of when the partner Don Simpson was still alive, and there is again the medley of the musical theme by Harold Faltermeyer (returned to deal with the soundtrack together with Lady Gaga and Hans Zimmer) and the immortal song Danger Zone. A nostalgically adrenaline-pumping start, just like the sequence in which Maverick returns to the place that made him a legend. There is everything: the sunglasses, the jacket, the motorbike, the ride alongside the plane with a lot of greeting. It is exactly as we remembered it, as if time had stopped (an impression facilitated by the not quite aged face of Tom Cruise, who will soon blow out sixty candles).

Tom Cruise in Top Gun

Tom Cruise in Top Gun

But then comes the necessary reflection on the difference between yesterday and today, the one that justifies the existence of the film: Maverick is in all respects a legend in his environment, but is this condition sufficient to remain relevant in today’s world? He has not changed, but there has been an evolution around his businesses, not always in the positive (Kilmer’s reduced role takes into account the health problems that greatly limit his ability to express himself verbally). The high spheres ask him to keep up with the times, waiting for the drones to replace him once and for all. Yet, Maverick resists, and not without the help of his students who treasure one of his pearls of wisdom: “It’s not the plane that matters, it’s the pilot.“And precisely this attention to the characters, to their role in a geopolitical and cinematic reality that is not the same as in 1986, makes this second chapter rise, and not a little, above the original, which was visually spectacular. but humanly a bit empty.

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Mission Impossible 7 Tom Cruise

Mission: Impossible 7, Tom Cruise on the set

Maverick struggles to justify its existence, and so do the film and its protagonist, analog players in a digital world. Thirty years ago, Cruise was the emblem of the star who managed to bring the audience into the hall regardless of the type of film in which he starred (between 1992 and 2006 all the feature films of which he was the main actor grossed at least 100 million dollars in the United States only). Today the franchises (including his Mission: Impossiblewhich he brought along with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie) are older than him, and it is necessary to demonstrate that working old-fashioned – practical and handcrafted effects, minimal use of CGI and the now proven method of shooting your own stunts without a stunt double. – still makes sense in the era of such virtual blockbusters that, especially in the pandemic era, one can even project photorealistic environments with which to interact on the set on a special screen.

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Tom Cruise with Val Kilmer in Top Gun

Tom Cruise with Val Kilmer in Top Gun

And the demonstration arrives in a direct and to say the least spectacular way, with aerial sequences of impeccable technical workmanship which however have a precise dramaturgical purpose, without ever slipping into attractionism as an end in itself. We are facing the purest and most sincere blockbuster since time immemorial, capable of combining past and present in the best way. Because if Maverick’s character is, in some ways, a dinosaur, not for that he, and the cinematic techniques that brought him to the screen at the time, deserve extinction. And it is also for this reason, ten years after his death, it is still essential to remember the late Tony Scott in the credits. Because even if the director is now Joseph Kosinski (who applies and improves the lessons of legacyquel Learn with Tron Legacy), the lesson of the English filmmaker is still very much present. This is a literal, overwhelming, moving example of how they no longer do them the way they used to.

Conclusions

We come to the end of the Top Gun: Maverick review by underlining how it is a spectacular and exciting sequel that applies the reasoning of the classic blockbuster in the modern context, with a great Tom Cruise returning as the reckless pilot.

Because we like it

  • Tom Cruise is at the height of his charisma as an older Maverick.
  • Val Kilmer stars in a hilarious and tearful scene.
  • The references to the original film are relevant and never free.
  • The aerial sequences leave you speechless.
  • The new cast is perfectly integrated.

What’s wrong

  • Why don’t they really make it like this anymore?

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