Top Gun: Maverick Is What The Big Screen Was Built For.

The original Top Gun is a perfect example of a film that will go down to a certain established audience ( mostly dads) as an undeniable classic. Others will see it as a concentrated blast of 80s machismo. The hilariously obvious homoeroticism on display is the only thing that can ever be considered timeless. Yet 36 years after the original’s release Tom Cruise for all his shenanigans is one of the few movie stars that matter in 2022. His re-brand of the Mission Impossible movie series into a spectacle-focused craftsmanship-based stunt series has resulted in some of the very best franchise filmmaking in recent years. The question was could Cruse and his creative team apply some of the same formulae within the context of a Top Gun legacy sequel. The original Top Gun still seems like far too much of a kitsch item on paper as the basis for a truly effective follow-up. That said the early IMAX footage placed in front of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was incredibly technically impressive. So the opportunity to get to see the full feature in that format was high on this viewer’s list of activities as part of a day trip. Did Cruise and this madman-like commitment to big-screen entertainment deliver?
Most definitely. Top Gun: Maverick is an incredible piece of work. The sort of thing that reminds an audience what a truly dedicated set of professionals can achieve without the need to disappear up their ass or appeal exclusively to the A24 crowd. The films most inexplicable achievement is most definitely mining so much emotional heft out of a very standard set of plot beats With their basis in nothing more than what is a mildly endearing time capsule. Yet it’s hard to complain when Maverick’s final product will have enough to please an audience that does consider the original Top Gun some kind of warped masterpiece. Yet regardless of context, the sequel is far more effective and efficient at crafting this kind of “old guard teaches new class” follow-up. There’s nothing here audiences have not seen before but the execution both on a fundamental and emotional level is note-perfect.
This is before we even discuss the jaw-dropping IMAX cinematography The aerial sequences were the one unquestionably strong element of the original film. with Cruises new found career focusing on offering audiences stunt and spectacle based set-piece driven entertainment meant for the biggest screen possible The dogfights in the new entry have been seriously beefed up Even on a relatively small IMAX screen, it was one of the greatest cinema experiences of this viewer’s life. To say the film’s use of IMAX ratio is reference quality is a massive understatement. Roughly half the film is mastered for the full real estate of the IMAX screen. Experiencing the flying sequences and training missions as they were meant to be seen is genuinely awe-inspiring. An adrenaline-pumping, hair-raising transcendent experience. Especially given a breathless final act which is the unbelievably impressive film at the absolute height of its powers to enthral audiences. The sort that will be watched and admired for decades to come. It’s hard to think about where Cruse can even go from here after creating two films bound to go down as classics within action cinema with Maverick and Mission Impossible: Fallout The first half of Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning was already this viewer’s most anticipated summer film for 2023. On the back of having seen Top Gun Maverick twice that excitement has only intensified. For every Scientology-related couch-jumping embarrassment you can throw at Tom Cruise his modern output is why the big screen exists.
It’s worth noting that his part of the prep for writing this review this author wanted to see how the sequel held up on a regular Theatrical screen. He deliberately chose one of the most generic available to him within hey city. The surprise was how the film still managed to retain its breathless excitement even without the use of The IMAX enhanced aspect ratio. Great films can still be great even if they are not necessarily presented in the most optimum circumstances or presentation.
Top Gun: Maverick is marvellous. A breathless optimization of what makes Tom Cruise’s modern brand of spectacle-focused entertainment pretty much untouchable at its best. It may not be breaking any ground by sticking to its very distinct formula but there’s enough here to please multiple audience expectations and deliver emotional beats stunningly effectively that it doesn’t matter. The fact that all of this has been achieved with its basis in a slightly kitschy novelty item of the original might be the most impressive thing of all. Go and find the largest and loudest scream possible to immerse yourself in a film that truly utilises what the big screen was built to accomplish. The fact this author is saying this about a sequel to Top Gun of all things has major “I don’t make the rules” energy.
10/10

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