Top Gun: Maverick

  • 04 Jun - 10 Jun, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

In the first Top Gun in 1986, the US Navy’s fighter pilot Lt Pete “Maverick” Mitchell gets accused of letting his ego write cheques his body can’t cash. But with the sequel, it’s quite clear the body of Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, has been cashing cheques with abandon for decades. In short, as we return to the extraordinary story of Pete Mitchell, it’s plain that he’s still physically solvent, in the opening scene recklessly test-flying a colossal stealth fighter at Mach 10 against orders from the glowering officer on the ground (played by Ed Harris).

Almost 40 years on from the first film, Maverick (Tom Cruise) is still speedy, less needy – more centred and calmer, in fact, but still in humungous shape and in love with flying. In 2022, Maverick is still only a captain, when he could have been an admiral by now. Despite his badass attitude, he’s respected by the real flyers and loathed by the pointy-headed brass, and is protected by his enduring bromance with former classmate and rival Iceman, who is now an admiral. Val Kilmer gamely contributes a cameo.

The inevitable crisis is a double-header. The Navy must get an elite team of pilots to carry out a Dam Busters-style raid on an anonymously-located nuclear enrichment plant. Commanding officer Cyclone (Jon Hamm) has the ticklish diplomatic task of telling Maverick to train this new generation of adorable hotheads without joining them in the skies himself. What’s even trickier is that the new intake includes Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), son of Goose, played by Anthony Edwards in the first movie: Maverick’s wingman and buddy, for whose fate many (including Rooster) still blame Maverick. But you can’t stay mad at Maverick, or keep him on the ground, for long.

There’s plenty of rock’n’roll fighter-pilot action in this movie, but weirdly none of the homoerotic tension that back in the day had guys queueing up at the Navy recruitment booths set up in cinema foyers.

The unmarried Maverick’s love interest this time around is a nice woman who runs the local bar, an entirely thankless part for Jennifer Connelly.

All in all, Cruise’s movie-star chops are still miraculous, and he has a genuinely touching dialogue scene with Kilmer.