Top Gun: Maverick (2022)


 Review by lycando

"The end is inevitable Maverick, your kind is headed for extinction."

The kind of modern blockbuster formula that sees a studio set with lots of green screen, elements added in post production has become a bit of a staple. With studios churning out entries for franchises, and leveraging the streaming model, it just isn't that safe or profitable to take a gamble on big productions and push for a theatrical release. Unless of course, you're Tom Cruise.

I checked, and the first trailer for Top Gun: Maverick dropped 2 years ago. For many families, streaming was already preferable over paying to go to the theaters, and then the pandemic hit, forcing even more releases to go straight to streaming platforms. The cinema and theater experience had a foot in the grave. However, this film was not to be put on any streaming platforms, the world would have to wait.

This was the second weekend of release, and I expected there to be still some turnout given that it was a long awaited film and for nostalgic reasons. I didn't expect nearly the entire IMAX hall to be packed. It felt like an experience from ages ago, before the pandemic happened. It seemed that for many people, the cinema experience was still worth the price of a ticket. And again, Tom Cruise doesn't disappoint.

He might not have directed any of his blockbusters hits, but his involvement in production certainly influences many factors. I don't think many other movies with fighter jets shoot aerial shots for real, or even place their cast through a vigorous training to prepare them for filming. I'm all for using visual effects to enhance a film, but the magic lies in watching it happen for real. The awe of seeing dogfights on an IMAX screen is nothing short of breathtaking, with the third act culminating in an adrenaline inducing display.

But we're not just concerned with the action in this, as much as it's impressive. As with so many sequels, the hardest bit is in balancing the appeal of nostalgia with a much needed freshness. Top Gun: Maverick hits the right notes and gives us both a sense of warm familiarity but acknowledges that it's been a long time since the first film. The callbacks are great, but what really hits are the scenes set in the present. The stories might be the same, but the people have changed (aged, really), and with that comes the maturity. Maverick isn't just the hotshot pilot anymore, he's also someone with guilt and regret. It's certainly one for fans of the original who had that as their Top Gun.


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