Review | ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is pure fantasy nostaglia

Top Gun: Maverick | Dir: Joseph Kosinski | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Thirty-six years after Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) thrilled audiences, the Navy aviator is back breaking all the rules and ignoring orders. Still feeling the need for speed, test pilot Maverick takes the audience into the danger zone (with the help of Kenny Loggins’ now-famous song) with his dare-devil flying that is captured by lenses specially developed for the film. As far as the audience is concerned, right from the beginning of this sequel, he takes their adrenaline levels past Mach 10 and they are hooked.

At the request of his friend ‘Iceman’ (Val Kilmer), who is now an admiral, Maverick arrives at the San Diego training facility for elite Navy fliers to train the new generation of the best of the best, for an impossible mission to take out a nuclear weapons facility in the Middle East before uranium is delivered.

Maverick has three weeks to train up a group of fliers that will not only be able to carry out the never-before-attempted flying mission, but work together as a team, which seems like the more difficult of the two in the room full of egomaniacs. It becomes a battle between the Top Gun and the young guns.

The new ‘Iceman’ has the call sign of ‘Hangman’ (Glenn Powell) and the new ‘Maverick’ would be the impulsive ‘Rooster’ (Miles Teller), who just happens to be the son of Maverick’s late friend ‘Goose’. As they prepare for the challenges in the future, flashbacks inform the audience of unresolved demons in the past that need to be defeated as well.

The film is very wholesome and rated PG as only a few faceless baddies get killed; there is hardly any bad language and no violence as in fist fights. There is a love interest in the form of Penny (Jennifer Connelly), a single mother who runs the local bar, but that is only a light reprieve from the ‘real’ action.

One of the turning points in the film reinforces the mantra that has been central to the narrative – “don’t think, just do”. Certainly the importance of intuition is something we should take notice of in our lives, but believing strongly that the universe will bend to your will might be a dangerous way to live.

This shamelessly nostalgic film is pure fantasy. Cruise himself has been quoted as saying in the early 1990s that he wouldn’t make a sequel to “an amusement park ride-like portrait of war”… but then again people change their minds, and who doesn’t love a good fantasy?

Lezly Herbert

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