‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Is (Probably) The Most Fun You’ll Have In Cinemas This Year
— Updated on 6 July 2023

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Is (Probably) The Most Fun You’ll Have In Cinemas This Year

— Updated on 6 July 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Three years after production officially wrapped, and 36 years since Tony Scott’s defining release hit first theatres, Top Gun: Maverick has arrived to remind everyone what a goddamn blockbuster looks like. This tenderly-crafted love letter to aviation, filmmaking, as well as the cinema-going experience is yet another stellar triumph for both director Joseph Kosinski and the leading man Jon Hamm himself recently described as “the last movie star with a capital ‘M’ and ‘S’,” Tom Cruise.

The film kicks off on a familiar note. The Paramount title card appears with that unmistakable opening score composed by Harold Faltermeyer. Then comes the exact same prologue that introduced the Top Gun naval fighter pilot program to millions all those years ago. As Faltermeyer’s quintessentially 80s-centric track reaches its crescendo — bang! ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins cut together with shots of fighter jets taking off and landing on an aircraft carrier. Pure fist pump material.

For those of you who watched the original religiously like myself, these nostalgic Easter Eggs are liable to bring about a feeling of overwhelming warmth. One that rivals the most comforting hug from mum. But believe it or not, this is also where the film is at its weakest.

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Sure, there will undoubtedly be those of you out there who’ll relish these not-so-subtle nods to the past, ranging from Tom Cruise’s Captain Peter “Maverick” Mitchell once again getting into hot water with an Admiral for breaching the hard deck, a version of the iconic volleyball scene – the sport replaced by something known as “dogfight football” – to buzzing the tower (yes, fear not… there is a tower buzz). Where Top Gun: Maverick excels, however, involves letting the story take a backseat to make way for the breathtaking aerial sequences.

At the risk of insulting scribes Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and veteran Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie – and at risk of sounding unsophisticated for favouring spectacle over screenplay – the story is predictable as anything, serving no real purpose aside from linking said breathtaking aerial sequences together in a semi-cohesive timeline. The dialogue is perfunctory, ropey at times. While the emotions? 2D (and that’s being generous). Thankfully, we’re not here for the story. Or to explore the nuances of the human condition. Hell, the reason we loved the original Top Gun isn’t because of the story.

Top Gun Maverick first 13 minutes reaction

It’s the gripping moments where you’re rooting for Miles Teller’s angsty Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw – son of the late RIO Goose – to make the shot. It’s the moments where you’re at the edge of your seat on bated breath, clutching your popcorn for dear life, wondering if they’ll get a lock on the bogey and hear a tone in the nick of time; or if they themselves will be shot down. It’s the moments where you catch yourself thinking, “Jesus Christ… how did they pull this one off practically?” That’s where the magic lies. That’s where Top Gun: Maverick achieves greatness.

Where we will give the story credit is how it serves as an apt metaphor for Hollywood cinema in the modern era and Tom Cruise’s career as an aging action star. In Top Gun: Maverick, we’re immediately confronted by a blunt reality: pilots are on the way out, unmanned drones are the new flavour. On top of all this, the nebulous “enemy” that threatens world peace is armed with fifth-generation fighter jets, nullifying whatever edge our plucky heroes held in years gone past, and emphasising the importance of technology as opposed to instinct.

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Everyone from the top brass to support staff spend a decent portion of the film telling Cruise’s Maverick to let go of the past, about what can and can’t be done, about the insurmountable odds in the face of an impossible mission (rimshot). But as both the film and old Captain Pete Mitchell proves, that’s a load of horseshit.

The driven rebel can still get the job done, outmanoeuvring these so-called fifth-generation fighter jets with one part conviction and two parts elbow grease. And you can make a high-budget blockbuster – a deeply satisfying one, at that – without relying on CGI; filmed by a band of young, extremely game actors who dedicated months towards g-force endurance training and operated cameras in actual military aircrafts thousands of feet above ground.

When all is said and done, the only thing you really need to hear is this: round up your mates, sink a few coldies at some dingey pub, find the biggest theatre screen you can, and enjoy the ride. These days, life doesn’t offer much in the way of true escapism, the kind that washes away your everyday anxieties and coaxes you into forgetting about the outside world. Take full advantage of this welcome rarity, folks. It’s worth the price of admission.

Top Gun: Maverick hits Aussie theatres on May 26th of 2022 – watch the epic final trailer below.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]