Movie Review: Top Gun: Maverick

Review by: Ava Yungbluth

Directed by: Joseph Kosinski

Rating: 4.5/5 

Some watched for the planes, some for the personalities, and others for pure nostalgia, but everyone was able to find something they enjoyed after watching Top Gun: Maverick. 

The opening credits of Top Gun: Maverick showed a sequence of planes being readied on an aircraft carrier before taking off to the electrifying song, “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins. This scene was extremely similar to the opening scene of the original Top Gun and paid homage to the film by imitating it both visibly and audibly. Opening the movie with a call-back to the original immediately set the tone of exhilaration and nostalgia for the movie.

Right off the bat, fans are reintroduced to the lovable devil-may-care attitude of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell played by Tom Cruise. As the star of the new film, Cruise put hard work into performing highly impressive plane stunts in the movie. The three-time Oscar nominee and director Joseph Kosanski combined efforts with a team of ace pilots to create scenes that showcased genuine flight, which added to the immaculate adrenaline the film built up for the viewers and actors. 

Alongside the buildup of excitement through action scenes, the arc of the relationship between Maverick and supporting character Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw played by Miles Teller was remarkable. Mainly portrayed through Rooster, there were multiple parallels to the original Top Gun that were very well placed and enhanced the sweetness of the nostalgia factor of the film. One scene that was especially moving showed Rooster playing the piano in the bar just as his dad did in the original Top Gun. This excellent shot truly showed the hurt and longing in Maverick’s eyes when thinking about his old friend. 

Rooster wasn’t the only intriguing new character, each of the new young pilots had a charming personality. Even the initially annoying and cocky character Jake “Hangman” Seresin played by Glen Powell became likable. His annoyingly cocky attitude never faltered, but Hangman proved himself to be a good person, and sure did walk his talk. Natasha “Phoenix” Trace (Monica Barbaro) and Robert “Bob” Floyd (Lewis Pullman) formed a great good-guy bad-guy dynamic. Overall, the new supporting characters were great additions to the story in their own ways, and it was intriguing to see how they all reacted to working under Maverick’s mentorship.

While all the new supporting characters had lots of potential for great storylines, their screen time was cut short and replaced with unnecessary scenes of Maverick and his supposedly “rekindled” relationship with his new love interest, Penny Benjamin. Known as the admiral’s daughter, this character, played by Jennifer Connelly, was hard to develop an emotional attachment to because there was not enough background provided. Penny and Maverick seem to have a history that wasn’t properly introduced, leaving many loose ends and questions that went unanswered by the end of the film.

Altogether, Top Gun: Maverick exhibited an excellent hybrid of nostalgia and fresh excitement that left nearly all fans wanting more, and with the introductions of new characters and storylines, it is easy to see how another movie could join this franchise.