Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Starring Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller

Author

A wonderful sequel, even more impressive considering it’s been 36 years. Kosinski has done a really good job honoring the story and style of the first, with many of the shots and scenes playing clear homage. Kosinski’s filmography is also a testament to how versatile he is. So far, so good.

Cruise is getting older, but he’s still got the intensity. Great arc for Maverick. Jennifer Connelly is an attractive, age-appropriate love interest for Maverick in this one. I’m hard-pressed to find a better actress for this role. But unfortunately, her character lacks some depth and the chemistry between them is mediocre. The story suggests that they’re clearly in love with each other, but nothing that we’ve seen explains why. Neither of them have built attraction or said or done anything particularly romantic. They love each other because, well, it’s convenient for the story.

Teller is pretty good. He doesn’t quite have the charisma of Goose, but he tries real hard. Nice choices for the other pilots, though Hangman could have been so much more. He’s clearly the cocky hotshot, but his character would have been much more appealing and the conflict so much more interesting if he was funnier and his dialogue was more witty than just “I’m good, I’m really good” over and over again. Not sure about a fighter pilot with glasses. Glad to see Kilmer make the appearance, even if they had to help him with his dialogue. Hamm is decent, never thought he was that great an actor. Ed Harris blinks a lot.

Action is great, exquisitely shot and very real. I know there was some CGI in there, but it’s hard to say where. The sound of the jets and explosions and even the counter-measures is dazzling. Seeing it all in IMAX is the right move. Music plays homage to the first film, with some beautiful re-workings of the Top Gun theme.

Some plot points… A bit goofy that the only way to blow up the enemy base is a dash through a canyon and drop a bomb through the ventilation shaft, just like the Death Star in Star Wars. The segment where Maverick and Rooster save each other and crash and find each other and return to the carrier seems a bit rushed, almost feels like they should have either stretched that out a bit or changed the story a bit and left it out. Interesting how the country of the adversary is never explicitly revealed. For political reasons, I guess? It all feels a bit Russian, but online speculation is that the enemy is Iran.

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