Top Gun: Maverick - a superior sequel with supreme daddy issues


 

Immediately it’s clear that Top Gun: Maverick is more impressive and generally speaking far more exciting, engaging and high-octane than the first. The key to it all being its dynamic flight scenes that will have you hooked like a fish, hanging off the edge of your seat.


Tom Cruise is, as always, a very strong lead. He can almost guarantee bums-in-seats to a scale that few working Hollywood stars still can. Aside from a range of shallow, un-likeable and poorly introduced side characters - Miles Teller is also an excellent choice. These two make for a charismatic and compelling duo, and generally speaking the film is a real blast.


Now the positives are out the way let’s get to it...


Are we not yet beyond these money-grabbing sequels that feel tagged onto the end of a truly original story? This film’s strongest moments are when it brings something brand new to the Top Gun table and breaks free from the old. But it always feels shackled slightly by the baggage of what’s come before, dragged down by a narrative drenched in nostalgia.


As the film rightly states, Top Gun is a ‘relic’, and Top Gun: Maverick chooses not to respect its predecessor and embrace the new. Under a thin veil this sequel thieves from its predecessor to justify the new. The idea of such ‘relics’ is a theme that runs through the core of the film but instead of being enamoured by it, a certain irony comes front of mind. It literally opens with a 80s-inspired sequence that could have been ripped straight from the first movie - then cuts to something far removed from it, like movie trailer trickery.


Take a film like Blade Runner 2049 for example. It's a film that neatly tows that line between old and new. The sequel to Blade Runner deeply respects the nuance of its predecessor but revels entirely in NEW, building something far greater that can stand on its own two feet. As exhilirating as it is, this is where Top Gun: Maverick ultimately fails.


Top Gun: Maverick, although an enjoyable time, feels like it's riding a nostalgia train from the first that left the station many years ago. There’s a better film hiding in here somewhere, and having learnt that they filmed more content than all three Lord of the Rings movies combined they could probably make it!


Is Top Gun: Maverick any good? Well when all is said and we forget its dependence on the past, there’s no denying that this is a very exciting blockbuster - for the big screen ONLY.