It’s Smooth Flying for Top Gun: Maverick 

Top Gun: Maverick flew to the top of the box office. 

A few years back, my mam and I chose Top Gun for our Friday night movie. I didn’t know what to expect, but I ended up pleasantly surprised. So, when the sequel came out, I knew I had to take a trip to the cinema, especially as Miles Teller, a favourite actor of mine, was set to star in it. So, I convinced my flatmate to join me and off we went to the local cinema, where we entered a sold-out screening. We took our seats at the very front of the theatre and buckled ourselves in for the ride. 

I’m going to be honest. Would I rate this move 5 stars? No. I ended up giving it 3.5, which I’ll admit was probably a bit harsh. A lot of it, however, is due to me not being the biggest fan of Cruise’s acting – he does a lot of broody staring and cocky smirking, and not that much else. You know that TikTok audio – “I think The Boss Baby is a pretty good movie, but if I were to critique it, I would probably say a little less baby and a little more boss.”? That’s me with this film; a little less Maverick and a lot more Rooster.  

Obviously, this film is about Maverick – his name is in the title and all that jazz – but I do think he could have had a bit less screen time so we could see more interactions between the newest cohort of the Top Gun school. There was obvious tension between Rooster and Hangman, which we didn’t really get the full effect of, nor did we get insight into the other cliques within. Alongside this, Manny Jacinto was pushed so far out of the film, that I don’t remember his part at all – which is a shame considering he’s such a great actor.  

That was pretty much my only problem with the film, which would be a non-issue of a Tom Cruise fan. It definitely lived up to the first in the series – it had all the action, all the tension, and all the cocky pilots and their rivalries. I felt myself engrossed in their flight through the canyon, and then their survival when something inevitably went wrong. The beach scene is iconic, and not only were there rivalries between the students, but between the students and the trainer. Did somebody say drama? 

The parallels between the first and second movies were incredibly done. We had the shot of Rooster singing Great Balls of Fire which blended into shots of Goose and Maverick in the first film. We have your rival-turned ally moment between Hangman and Rooster. Then, at the end, which was incredibly satisfying, we had Rooster and Maverick recreate the iconic shot of Iceman and Maverick shaking hands.  

Ultimately, though, Tom Cruise may have been the star of the film, but it was Teller who stole the show. 

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Louise Collins

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August 2022
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