Recently, I had the privilege of experiencing both Top Guns back to back. The first top Top Gun was a solid movie that was exciting for sure, but nothing more than that. So, going into Top Gun: Maverick, I feared that this sequel’s praise would be undeserved and that my viewing experience would be hampered by it not living up to said praise. However, I was sorely mistaken.
Right off the bat, Top Gun: Maverick delivers in what wound up being one of my favorite aspects of this film: atmosphere. The film is able to blend classic music and shot techniques with a very modern film quality and tone. It pays homage to the classic film while still maintaining its own identity. The score is used perfectly with both songs used in the first film and original songs made for this film. Top Gun: Maverick is clearly a sequel, but it does not lean too much on its predecessor. It is both respectful to the source and unafraid to deviate from the norm. They are two distinct movies: while the original is more comedic with some serious moments, Maverick is more serious with some comedic moments. You can honestly watch Maverick without having seen the original, as it would still be an amazing experience (albeit an inferior one, as the original provides some additional context). They each work on their own, but are definitely better when seen together.
Tom Cruise and Miles Teller were the only performances that I found great. No one else really blew me away. That being said, the entire cast does a solid enough job, and there is not a single bad performance to be found.
The biggest issue with this film was undoubtedly the writing. There were so many cringeworthy and cheesy lines. Near the end, the film began to go to eye-rolling levels of unbelievability. Thankfully, by the skin of its teeth it was able to maintain an acceptable balance between unrealistic circumstances and grounded action.
All in all, Top Gun: Maverick is an incredible film that is respectful to its predecessor without being afraid to find its own footing in a world filled to the brim with mediocre film remakes, sequels, and spinoffs.