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Movie Review: Top Gun Maverick *Spoiler Free*

Top Gun Maverick One Sheet

I must admit I was expecting Top Gun Maverick to lean a lot more on nostalgia. While it has plenty of callbacks to the original movie, it does feel like its own thing with a new story and cast of characters.

That said, the events of the first film drive (or is that fly) a big part of the character arcs, as Maverick (Tom Cruise) has to face the death of his wingman, Goose, all over again with Goose's son, Rooster (Miles Teller) (I'm using everyone's call sign because their actual character names aren't spoken out loud enough for me to remember them), who, somewhat surprisingly, isn't holding a grudge for his father's fate.

Top Gun Maverick picks up with Maverick no longer in the Top Gun team. Instead he's a test pilot for experimental fighters being developed by the Navy/Airforce/US Government? (I'm not sure because technically Maverick is a Navy fighter pilot - which he says in the film, he flies for the Navy).

However he is recalled to the Top Gun team to train a new batch of pilots to perform in one specific, but very difficult, strike mission. Obviously, Rooster is one of the pilots, and the drama builds from there.

There are probably a lot more callbacks to the first film than I even picked up on as I haven't seen that movie since it's original release in the 1980's, but few, if any felt like they were there just for the sake of being a callback. Most of the time these moments fitted naturally with the story this movie is telling.

The fighter plane action is spectacular. I have no idea if any modern fighter pilot (outside of the Blue Angels) ever flies planes the way they do in this film but it's so much edge of your seat fun you kind of hope they do. Everything looks very real and believable too. It was definitely worth sending all the actors up to film their cockpit scenes in actual fighter planes as they performed various maneuvers.

While the film isn't comedy, like most big budget action flicks, it does have its moments of humor that stops you from taking any of this too seriously, despite the high stakes of the final mission. Overall it's a fun film that calls back to the best of eighties action films that we don't see a lot of today (except maybe done completely over the top in Michael Bay or Fast and the Furious movies).

I enjoyed Top Gun Maverick. I don't think it's quite as quotable as the original film, or likely to influence the culture as much, but it is a much stronger story that really builds on the history of its main character. It's also just a lot of fun. As my partner, Enigma says, 'it's a proper movie' (which is a bit of a dig at the CGI heavy superhero movies I keep dragging her along to see). 

Definitely worth seeing. Particularly if you enjoyed the original.

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