Friday, May 27, 2022

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Movie Name/Year: Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Genre: Action, Drama
Length: 2h 11min
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Central Partnership, Constantin-Film, Eagle Pictures, Paramount Pictures Germany, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Pictures UK, Paramount Pictures, Towa Pictures, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International, Paramount+
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie, Peter Craig, Justin Marks, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr.
Actors: Bashir Salahuddin, Charles Parnell, Chelsea Harris, Danny Ramirez, Ed Harris, Glen Powell, Greg Tarzan Davis, Ian Gary, India Everett, Jack Schumacher, Jake Picking, Jay Ellis, Jean Louisa Kelly, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, John Wilcox, Kara Wang, Lewis Pullman, Lyliana Wray, Manny Jacinto, Mark Anthony Cox,Miles Teller, Monica Barbaro, Peter Mark Kendall, Raymond Lee, Roberta Sparta, Thomasin McKenzie, Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer
IMDb Blurb: After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy's top aviators, Pete Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.

Cat’s Point of View:
I think I almost cried when my husband surprised our daughter and I with tickets to a matinee showing for the opening day of Top Gun: Maverick yesterday. It was hard to contain my level of excitement and anticipation for this movie. Fans of the original Top Gun (1986) have been waiting and hoping for this sequel for so many years, subsisting on breadcrumbs of information and fervent prayer. I have been among those shaking a fist at the sky due to the delays. The wait was finally over.
Top Gun: Maverick dominated the top spot on my Top 20 Movies to Look Out For in May 2022 article. The question now that I’ve seen it would be: did this Top Gun sequel satisfy my need for speed?
My answer is a resounding yes. Top Gun: Maverick took me on a surprisingly meaningful journey at Mach speed and my heart was pulling serious Gs from the action, thrills, and emotional rollercoaster.

All of the aerial shots were absolutely worth every penny of the $11,000+ per hour or so the production had to pay the Navy for access to the F-18s for shooting. All of the plane shots (for the most part) were done with real aircraft. The cast had to go through the same conditioning actual fighter pilots use to be able to endure the physical strain of flight and maneuvers at such high speeds. The only 2 aircraft that had to rely on movie magic (to my knowledge) were the hypersonic test plane in the beginning (as well as teased in the trailer) and the F-14 Tomcat towards the end. (The F-14 has been decommissioned and none are in working service currently.)
The production value of those decisions was monumental. When you rely too heavily on CGI in situations like this, you run the risk of having a situation like when you show actors driving cars in movies – but what’s outside the window was clearly composited in. It could look fine and realistic but there’s just this tiny voice in the back of your head that tells you ‘that’s not real’ and keeps you from completely suspending your disbelief. Top Gun was the real deal, and it was breathtaking.

Let’s talk cast. It wouldn’t be a true Top Gun sequel if there weren’t at least some callbacks to the original film. Tom Cruise’s (Knight and Day, Edge of Tomorrow, Mission Impossible - Fallout) Maverick was a must, and goes without saying since he was the titular character from this story. There would have been no Top Gun: Maverick without Cruise spearheading this passion project.
Bringing the story of the other Top Gun graduates forward from 30 years ago was also necessary to connect the two films. I was profoundly moved by the way they included Iceman in this tale. It was done respectfully and gave some much needed grounding for the span of time between then and now. I could just feel the history between the characters nearly palpable on the screen and there were echoes of the old Iceman in Val Kilmer’s (The Snowman, The Super, A Soldier's Revenge) performance. Further, I adored the way they honored Goose and also Meg Ryan’s (Serious Moonlight, Web Therapy, Ithaca) character. Miles Teller (Footloose, Whiplash, Thank You for Your Service) was absolutely brilliant portraying Rooster, Goose’s son. The dynamic between his character and Maverick was off the charts and had me in tears.

I was actually surprised when I realized that Charles Parnell’s (Transformers: Age of Extinction, A Million Little Pieces, The Last Ship) Warlock wasn’t in the original movie. His performance and offering to the story had me 100% on board that he and Maverick went ‘way back’ together to those times. He fit right in. I could ramble on about the cast forever. There were so many talented and phenomenal performers here.
Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion, Only the Brave) took this story into the stratosphere, in my book. I have enjoyed all of his films (and even his shorts) so far and am looking forward to his future work, too. Kosinski has a movie with Teller and other members of this Top Gun cast as well hitting Netflix next month, and I’m excited – but not nearly as excited as I was to see Top Gun: Maverick on the big screen.

My heart even did a little flippity-flop of joy when some of the iconic Kenny Loggins score from the original was incorporated here.
There were moments that echoed some of the iconic scenes in the first movie, such as motorcycles racing jets and beach-side ball games; but Top Gun: Maverick was definitely its own stand-alone story every bit as powerful and successfully realized as the original. This sequel met the challenge set by the original and then raised the bar.

If you're able, I would encourage you to ‘fly’ to your nearest theater to catch Top Gun: Maverick on the big screen. This is also the first movie of its kind to shoot with IMAX film, so if you can see it on one of those screens, even better. Small screens would still be fun when Top Gun: Maverick eventually hits streaming availability (in at least 45 days), but it was ultimately intended as a big-screen experience and excels as such. Absolutely worth the price of admission and then some.
When Top Gun: Maverick eventually hits a streaming service, keep your eyes peeled on Paramount+.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 97%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 99%
Metascore – 79%
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 8.7/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5

P.S. CBS released an article here, which includes a video with some behind-the-scenes on how the actors trained for the flight sequences in the F-18 Super Hornets.
Movie Trailer:

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