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Top Gun: Maverick Review

I have not seen the original Top Gun and so went into this film completely blind despite googling whether I should watch the original or not. The Internet told me that I didn’t need to watch the original to understand this film and I won’t lie, I’m interested to see if I did go back and watch the original, whether that would’ve changed my thoughts on this one as I really enjoy this film as a standalone piece.

Top Gun: Maverick is set in the present day as Tom Cruise’s character Maverick returns to Top Gun to help train up a new band of recruits that need to do a very treacherous mission which is seemingly impossible, but due to Maverick’s past they believe that he will be able to train these recruits up, because of his unconventional ways of working.

We are reminded in this film that in the original his best friend Goose was unfortunately killed during a flight mission and we see that Maverick still needs to come to terms of his death as well as the fact that Goose’s own son, known as a Rooster, is also one of the team members that Maverick has to train up. There’s a lot going on here not only from the tense and exciting mission but also the emotional turmoil that Maverick and Rooster go through in dealing with what has happened in their past.

I am not a big fan of action films, I find action films a bit too cliche and cookie cutter however this one being set around planes was really interesting and did add a different element to action films that you wouldn’t normally see. Instead of car chases you had dog fights in planes, instead of guns being used you had missiles, and all of these elements really added into that excitement of the film and kept me engaged.

However I did have some issues with this film and that was mainly the callbacks to the original. Now I could tell somethings were Easter eggs for the original based on how they were filmed, however that didn’t detract from the whole movie seeing as I wouldn’t have picked up on them on my own. However the fact that Rooster had to have a very 80s moustache to match his father was very on the nose (pun intended), and the fact that in one of the first scenes we see Rooster wearing an identical outfit to his father and playing a song on the piano in the bar that was a song that his father also played with Maverick all just felt a bit obvious. Any audience member could’ve easily realised who Rooster was even without all of these added elements, and the fact that they were added in just made me as an audience member feel like they expected me to be stupid by not being able to put these subtle hints together myself.

But if we look past my issues with Goose and Rooster this film is really enjoyable. Having not watched the original I have nothing to compare it to but as a standalone film it is absolutely fantastic for its excitement and creativity. As the film went on, especially in the second and third act as we got more into the excitement of the mission and you understood these characters on a deeper level you really bought into who they were and what they were doing. I won’t lie, a tear or two may have been shed at certain points due to the depth that we went into understanding these characters and their motivations, and that was something I did not expect.

I highly recommend this film even if you haven’t watched the original. I am not a big fan of action movies however this one knocked the genre out of the park and I would happily watch it again. Does this mean I want to go back and watch the original now? Personally no, particularly because I don’t think it’s needed to fill in any of the blanks that I may have gotten from this film, however it has certainly opened up my opinion of action films and I’m sure in the future I will give that genre another go especially if it involves things past the usual car chases and gun fights.

What do you think of Top Gun: Maverick?

Until next time.

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