‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Is Skillful, Old Fashioned Filmmaking

Planned for decades, with a release delayed by two years amid the Covid pandemic, Top Gun: Maverick, the highly anticipated sequel to the late Tony Scott’s 1986 action blockbuster Top Gun (a movie that didn’t need a sequel) is finally here. It’s boisterous, distracted, contrived and geared more towards adrenaline-pumping antics by pec-bending alpha males than anything you could call narrative insight, freshness, or character development (translated, that means guaranteed boffo box office) it’s, in short, not my kind of movie. That said, I must hastily add that, even if it’s not always logical, coherent, or believable, it’s undeniably thrilling, suspenseful, well-acted and full of sequences of fantastic aviation battles. There’s still something to be said for skilled, old-fashioned filmmaking, and director Joseph Kosinski has done just that here. The result goes with popcorn like butter, and I liked it despite myself.

Top Gun: Maverick
(3/4 stars
Directed by: Joseph Kosinskic
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, John Hamm, Ed Harris, Miles Teller
Duration: 2 hours and 11 minutes

Tom Cruise, a veteran real-life pilot who co-produced and does his own dangerous stunts without much computer-generated help, is back as Pete Mitchell (nickname “Maverick”), with Val Kilmer in a brief cameo as his old nemesis “Iceman.” .” Iceman reached the rank of admiral, but after 30 years of service, Maverick is still stuck in the low rank of captain. When the film opens, Maverick has risen to the top of the food chain in the sky and has worked as a Navy test pilot, but was fired again for disobeying the orders of his commander (Ed Harris), who says: ” Your species is on the brink of extinction.” Is he kidding?This is Tom Cruise.

Before he can claim unemployment benefits, the Navy recruits him to return to his old stamping ground, the Top Gun special training program designed to become top pilots, where he will accompany a group of 12 talented young people on a mission to destroy an enemy airstrip by flying at dangerously low altitudes through twisting canyons that make survival a challenge. But the Navy doesn’t want him to fly. They want him to teach. Only a fool would expect Maverick to stay on solid ground when the air dynamics are so tempting, so you usually wait and see how long it takes for him to grab the stick and head for the clouds. To stretch the plot beyond Screenwriting 101, this group—which he must narrow down to six—include a new adversary called “Haan” (Miles Teller). Rooster is the son of Maverick’s longtime flight partner Goose, who died in a maneuver for which Maverick still holds himself responsible. The tension that builds between Maverick and Rooster is one of the film’s subplots, but nothing is more important in a Tom Cruise vehicle than showcasing the many sides of Tom Cruise, which he plays with love-me-unconditionally Technicolor. smiles as wide and white as a picket fence by Benjamin Moore. (He can keep his millions; I want to be dentist!) The point of the movie – in fact the… rode because it is to show how much there is still to learn from the ‘oldtimers’. The arrogant new pilots think Maverick is a has-been – there’s nothing he can teach them they don’t already know. What follows is more than two hours to prove them wrong, and he has less than three weeks to get the team in shape. Of course, he single-handedly proves that the mission can be completed against all odds, breaking all the rules and risking a court-martial from his hostile new co (Jon Hamm.) The minimal dialogue of Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie, consists mostly of the kind of forced and irritating techno jargon that erodes coherence, but as it describes the cynicism, resentment, jealousy and competition of the pilots, the script also reveals some moments of suspense and maturity.

There’s so much to watch that you’ll forget the playing time, as Maverick takes the time to sail boats, fly countless makes and styles of airplanes without even reading a manual, ride motorcycles (helmet-less, natch) and find a romance with Jennifer Connelly, replacing Kelly McGillis in the sex department, as an old flame who is now a bartender. It all leads to a big, deafening finale with Maverick and Rooster, now his wingman, in a stolen WWII F-14 that’s so outdated it doesn’t even matter. to have a manual to ignore, pursued by modern combat aircraft. But when all is said and done and the endless credits roll, this is a film that honors old movie traditions and affirms Tom Cruise’s superstardom with unassailable power. Just about everything else has changed since he was one Top Gun rookie in 1986, but he’s the same tight, tight, and age-appropriate hunk who knows how to give his fans what they pay for. Includes a theme song by Lady Gaga, Top Gun: Maverick gives them a little bit of everything.

Observer Reviews are regular reviews of new and notable cinema.

'Top Gun: Maverick' is skillful, old-fashioned filmmaking that pairs with popcorn like butter

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