- Debbie Cerda
TOP GUN: MAVERICK Soars to New Heights
35 years after starring in the action blockbuster Top Gun, Tom Cruise reprises his role as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in the long-awaited follow-up Top Gun: Maverick. As a veteran test pilot for the Navy, Maverick now serves as a flight instructor at the Top Gun school. Maverick is faced with personal and professional challenges as he trains a new group of pilots and confronts his own past.
Top Gun: Maverick introduces a new generation – most importantly Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick's late friend and former wingman Goose. Maverick finds himself grappling with his own mortality, quite possibly struggling with survivor guilt. Rooster’s anger and blame towards Maverick seems a bit misplaced, until it's later revealed what Maverick is hiding.
As the plot unfolds, Maverick and his team are tasked with a dangerous and highly classified mission that requires them to make difficult decisions and face the possibility of sacrificing themselves for their country. This directive is at odds with Maverick’s priorities, as he intends to ensure that every man and woman on the mission survives, even if it means risking or sacrificing his own life.
Top Gun: Maverick introduces a seemingly new character as Maverick’s love interest – Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly), a single mother and bar owner with whom it’s implied that Maverick has had an intimate relationship. However, in an exchange between Penny and Maverick when he visits her bar for the first time in several years, Penny asks who Maverick "pissed off" this time to send him to North Island. "Another admiral," Maverick answers, to which Penny responds, "Exactly." Die-hard fans may recall that in Top Gun, it was mentioned that Maverick had angered an admiral by dating his daughter Penny – thus alluding to there being more of a backstory to Maverick and Penny's relationship.
Tom Cruise in his role as Maverick demonstrates a maturity that encompasses the personal growth and vulnerability from the hot-shot pilot of his youth. This is most evident in the genuinely warm and touching exchange between him and Val Kilmer as Iceman in what is undeniably the most evocative scene in this film.
The supporting cast in Top Gun: Maverick are top-notch. Teller delivers a strong and emotional performance as Rooster. Glenn Powell as arrogant pilot “Hangman” is reminiscent of Val Kilmer’s original role of Iceman in Top Gun, eventually redeeming himself in the final climatic sequence.
The cinematography and editing of Top Gun: Maverick is phenomenal, showcasing thrilling aerial maneuvers and intense action sequences. Every element is well-choreographed - from the music and score, pacing and continuity, to framing and SFX.
Top Gun: Maverick is a dynamic action-packed adventure that pays homage to the original Top Gun, introducing a new cast of characters and modern technology. We can only hope that there will be a Top Gun 3 with the new crew in the flight deck.