Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick is still two weeks away from its theatrical release but the early reviews for the film have started to appear in the West. And there seems to be a consensus with most critics hailing it as a great action film and many calling it even better than the original–the 1986 cult classic Top Gun. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun Maverick sees Tom reprise his iconic role after 36 years while training a new batch of recruits. Also read: First reactions for Tom Cruise’s Top Gun Maverick are in with critics calling it ‘the best movie in ten years’
Top Gun: Maverick takes place thirty years after the first film and sees Tom Cruise’s Maverick taking charge of a group of Top Gun graduates of the US Navy. The first film, which also starred Val Kilmer and Kelly McGillis, was a roaring success, grossing $357 million at the box office against a $15 million budget.
Many critics have called it one of the best films made in recent times. Robbie Collin of Daily Telegraph says, “ It is unquestionably the best studio action film to have been released since 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road.” A highlight of the film, as per critics, are the aerial sequences and dogfights. “Breathtakingly balletic, and grounded in the increasingly rare pleasure of the tangible… it’s a true feat for director Joseph Kosinski to make something this ambitious look this effortless,” writes Clarisse Loughrey in their review for Independent. Many have even compared the plane scenes in Maverick to the ground-breaking aerial scenes in Howard Hughes’ 1933 classic Hell’s Angels. Peter Deburge of Variety writes, “The commitment to filming practically-everything practically feels like the cutting-edge equivalent of Howard Hughes’ history-making Hell’s Angels.”
The original film is a cult classic. It is regarded by many as one of the finest Tom Cruise films ever and did play a major role in his transformation from a promising young actor to a superstar and screen legend. Given the pedigree, many fans were worried if Maverick would live up to the standards. But if the early reviews are to be believed, the sequel may have even surpassed the original.
Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSelle says, “Top Gun: Maverick improves on the original. It’s deeper, it’s not corny, and it has thrilling effects.” Matt Singer of ScreenCrush echoes this sentiment and writes, “The dogfights, chases, and mid-air sequences are truly remarkable — far clearer and far more intense than anything in the original Top Gun.” David Ehrlich of IndieWire sums up the sentiment as he says, “If Top Gun was a fun film because it invented Tom Cruise, Maverick is a great film because it immortalizes him.”
There are criticisms too. Many critics say that the representation of women could have been a lot better, particularly for a movie made in 2022. “Women are few and far between, and even the more prominent ones get mostly perfunctory treatment,” writes Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times. Many have also written that Tom Cruise does tend to overshadow the rest of the younger cast, who fail to emerge from his giant shadow. However, as Linda Marric of The Jewish Chronicle notes, “ It’s a launching pad for a potential second or even third sequel with its young cast at the center of new adventures.”
Top Gun: Maverick also stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, and Ed Harris, along with Val Kilmer reprising his role from the first film. It is set to be released in theatres on May 27, 2022.