The Oscar Project
It’s time for a quick recap of the top ten films of the year so far. We’ve had an action prequel (Prey), an animated adventure film (The Sea Beast) and a sports documentary (The Redeem Team). Now it’s time to kick up the action a bit more with today’s #7 film of the year.
#7 Top Gun: Maverick
I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting to love this film as much as I did. The original (affiliate link) is such a classic that it was hard to believe that a sequel could come close to matching the appeal, especially some 36 years later.
After watching the film, along with some of the behind the scenes features about making the film, I can say that it matches the original. It captures the same feeling of following the coolest and best fighter pilots around as they train for something that might even be beyond their skills to achieve. What I like about this film is that there is almost a better end goal than in the original, giving it more of a feeling of forward progression throughout.
As expected, there are plenty of beats that reference back to the original film. Tom Cruise is the obvious connection, reprising his role as Maverick. Miles Teller plays Rooster, the son of Maverick’s old friend Goose from the first film, and Teller does a fantastic job looking and acting like he is a chip off the old block. We also get a cameo appearance from Val Kilmer, reprising his role as Iceman, rounding out the trio of characters we need to see from the first film. The rest of the cast is wonderful with the additions of Ed Harris, John Hamm, Jennifer Connelly, and a host of young talent making up the rest of the Top Guns.
But what you really want from a plane about the best fighter pilots in the world, is flying planes super fast, and we get plenty of that in Top Gun: Maverick. I would venture a guess that there is more footage of aerial training and combat in this film that the first one, and that’s a good thing. Improvements in camera technology meant that the production was able to strap the actors into real aircraft and surround them with small cameras able to capture their performances much better than shooting against greenscreen on a soundstage. When you see the characters in the pilot seat, it feels like they’re really there and that goes a long way to making this film believable.
In the end, this is an action movie with stories about love and friendship at its core, just like the original. That’s what made the original so successful and it works the same here. Based on the success of this sequel, do I think there will be more? Perhaps, but based on the interviews with Cruise, it seems like the story would have to be just right for him to keep making these films. But don’t rule out Top Gun 3 coming to a theater near you in 2027.
The rest of the posts in this series are all linked below.
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?