"Top Gun:" New and Improved
When it comes to 2022 releases, few were as anticipated quite like Joseph Kosinski's Top Gun: Maverick. For nearly four decades, fans have been eagerly waiting for a follow-up to one of the most iconic movies of the 80's, Top Gun by Tony Scott. With the return of Tom Cruise in the lead role, as well as a star-studded cast, it's safe to say that expectations were high for Maverick. But nobody could've foreseen the overwhelming response that would come from this movie, and how it would end up attracting crowds spanning generations.
Top Gun: Maverick has been essentially finished for two years. It was scheduled for release in 2020, with director, Joseph Kosinski filling in for Tony Scott, who tragically committed suicide in 2012. Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer were confirmed to be reprising their roles with pretty much everyone else in the original cast not returning. The first official trailer in two years was released on March 29th, 2022 and it was as if every Dad in the world began screaming at their computers in excitement, because of course, Top Gun is the ultimate "Dad movie." As someone who works at the cinema, I can say with confidence that a solid 80% of the audience at any given Maverick showing is made up of dads. Biological, adopted, step, sperm donors, they're all there. Nothing unites the dads of America like Top Gun, and the sheer amount of revenue made from $20 popcorn tins will prove it.
I'm someone who's seen a lot of movies, and I tend to be pretty picky about the ones I review positively. So you can imagine my shock when an action movie/legacy sequel starring Tom Cruise ended up being one of my favorite movies of 2022 so far. Regardless of your taste in movies, Top Gun: Maverick has an undeniable charm to it in terms of cast and writing. This time, Tom Cruise shares the spotlight with Miles Teller who plays "Rooster" Bradshaw, the son of Maverick's best friend, "Goose," who was killed in the first movie. It seems that for the first time since Eyes Wide Shut, Tom Cruise is playing a character with depth, someone that's interesting to watch, and it shows at the box office. Despite the fact that it's been out for less than a month, Top Gun: Maverick has grossed nearly $1 billion dollars worldwide, and stands as Tom Cruise's most successful movie.
In a lot of ways, Maverick is a huge improvement from the original. The writing is cohesive, the cinematography is interesting, and the movie feels like it was made to tell a story instead of just being an excuse to have Tom Cruise fly a bunch of planes on camera. Is it as iconic? Only time will tell, however it's hard to argue that the technical aspects of Maverick, blow the original out of the water. There is so much expertly-crafted suspense throughout this film. Every high speed jet scene had me literally squirming in my seat at the theater, at a movie I wasn't even that excited to see in the first place. Not to mention there isn't a single weak or uncharismatic performance from the cast. But above all, Maverick has heart, it's the kind of movie theater will put a genuine smile on your face by the time the credits roll, and so much of that is due to the addition of Miles Teller as Rooster, and the on-screen chemistry between him and Cruise.
But for any movie, I believe the best way to measure its success is its reception among its target audience: dads. And I couldn't officially call Maverick a "good movie" until I heard by father, Joe's reaction. And while he had some issues with how "realistic" some scenes were, he said it ultimately "hit every note." I don't suspect Maverick will leave theaters without us heading back to the theater at least one more time.
Happy belated Father's Day from all of us here at Cinemasters, make sure you take your dads to the movies this week!