“Top Gun: Maverick” was directed by Joseph Kosinski and is a sequel to the 1986 original which sees Tom Cruise return as Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Joining Cruise is a slew of new characters such as Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell and Ed Harris. Val Kilmer also returns to the film as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky but only for a few scenes. Paramount began developing plans for a sequel back in 2010 with Cruise & Kilmer returning to film along with original producer, Jerry Bruckheimer & original director, Tony Scott. The script was complete in 2012 but unfortunately, Tony Scott died in August of that year. In 2017, Joseph Kosinski was brought to direct. He wrote a new script and would dedicate the film in Scott’s memory. The film was scheduled for a 2019 release but was delayed due to reshoots, delayed again due the COVID-19 pandemic and then once again for scheduling conflicts. The film finally theaters on May 27, 2022 and became the highest grossing film for Tom Cruise.

30 yeas after the events of the first film, US Navy Captain, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise) is a test pilot in a new flight in which a prototype aircraft must have a successful hyper sonic test flight. Maverick, being himself, pushes the boundaries of the prototype and not only has a successful flight but also destroy the multimillion-dollar aircraft. Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain (Harris) had already cancelled Maverick’s test run and is ready to relieve the captain of his duties but Admiral Kazansky (Kilmer) orders Maverick to NAS North Island. There, Maverick is under the assumption he will lead a new team a fighter pilots for a mission to destroy a uranium enrichment plant. However, Vice Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson (Hamm) informs Maverick that despite Admiral Kazansky’s orders, he will only train the fighter pilots, not lead the mission. The pilots are young but experienced and have never had the training for TOPGUN like Maverick. Lieutenant Jake “Hangman” Seresin (Powell) clashes with fellow pilot, Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw who also happens to be the son of Maverick’s old wingman and friend, LT. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards’ character from the previous film). With personal & professional tensons at an all-time high, Maverick must find that edge to be both a great leader and following the wishes of his old friends.

Leave it to Tom Cruise to have the biggest blockbuster film post COVID-19. This was an amazing film. Cruise is the definition of as movie star. He commands the screen, basically owning every scene he’s in and picking up right where he left off back in 1986. His performance is both charismatic & heart breaking. The chemistry between him and the new cast is also incredible. Miles Teller really holds his own against Cruise. It is almost scary how much he resembles Anthony Edwards. Spot on look followed by a solid performance. The visuals alone are worth the price of admission. From the opening Mach Test to the dogfighting and everything in between, the visuals and use of the jets are amazing. Honestly, my only complaint about this film was the fact it kept getting pushed back amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, this was a fantastic movie all the way around. From the visuals to the acting, the directing and story. I had my reservations about films that release sequels years after the originals. Movies like “Zoolander”, “Dumb & Dumber”, “Indiana Jones” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” all waited a little too long for a sequel and therefor would release terrible films. Others like “Mad Max: Fury Road”, 2018’s “Halloween”, “Rocky Balboa” and “Blade Runner 2049” are also sequels released well over a decade after the original but cause the writers understand both telling a new story with original characters and or continuing the original storyline, the films have benefited off those merits. Now, franchises like “Star Wars”, “Jurassic Park”, “Fast & Furious” and “Star Trek” are basically reboots that serve as sequels or even prequels. “Top Gun: Maverick” was just a high-octane action film that took the same approach that “Indiana Jones 4” tried to do but executed it much, much better. It was worth the wait, worth the price of admission and worth all the praise and accolades it is still receiving now.