Majored in 3D Animation for a digital art school called the University of Silicon Valley. When it comes to CGI effects, I would certainly consider myself an "authority" on critiquing Hollywood blockbusters and videogames alike.
Who would have thought that after nearly 40 years later that Top Gun would even get a sequel. It almost automatically seems like a terrible idea, since such a concept would seem like a cheap ploy at nostalgia bait to make a quick cash-in movie on a well-established classic movie. I’m here to tell you that not only is this movie not just a mere shadow of its former self, but it’s even LEAGUES better than people may assume.
The original Top Gun is a great slice of 80’s cheese cinema. It’s clearly a fun iconic movie that is well known for its fun action, over-the-top characters, fantastic soundtrack, and seemingly homoerotic overtones (or blatantly overt depending on how you look at it). So how does the sequel compare?
I picture it as if the director and team of this new film took what worked about the old film, and added a Mission Impossible level polish to a mirror shine. This movie is quite solid, and has a lot more going for it than the first movie. It’s a movie you can simultaneously take more seriously but also have more fun with. On a technical level, it is significantly less silly but is FAR more action-packed and intense, but is also more heartfelt and genuine too. All these seemingly contradictory points make for quite the summer blockbuster, and Top Gun: Maverick made for such a fun movie-going experience.
Of course the major draw for this experience for me was seeing it in the 4DX format. Of course, being a movie about fighter jets, it’s almost a no-brainer to see this with motion simulator chairs. Not only does this method feel GREAT, but despite all of the high flying high octane jet stunts, the experience feels like a surprisingly smooth ride. It’s relaxing and stimulating in all the right ways, and has a very balanced pace throughout the film. The slower character driven bits let you chill out, while the jet sequences almost give you a sense of well-earned vertigo.
Another great aspect is Tom Cruise himself. He slips back into Maverick’s character SO comfortably that it feels like he’s always the coolest guy in the room in every scene. You can tell he’s having a blast revisiting the man, and the rest of the actors definitely get boosted around him as well. It’s also great seeing Jennifer Connelly having a fairly nice romance with him in the film as well. Miles Teller also does a good job, along with the rest of the newcomers, who somewhat maintain a bit of the cheesier tone from the original, but not in an overbearing way.
If you haven’t contributed to the already billion-dollar box office this movie has grossed? First of all, I feel a bit sorry for you. Second of all, if you have a chance to see this movie in ANY theater, it is worth your time and money. Watching it at home with a good setup will certainly give you a good time, but this is definitely one of the best movie theater movies you can see. In comparison to other recent blockbusters, this one maintains a seat atop a popcorn throne. Give Top Gun: Maverick a watch at your local theater, ideally in the best format that’s available to you. I assure you that you’ll get your money’s worth.