Tom Cruise proves why he is known as a superstar in the latest action-thriller Top Gun: Maverick. The movie is a reboot of the 1986 original, Top Gun.
The original was released during an era before superhero films took over the industry. It was also an era when the terms ‘blockbusters’ and ‘megastars’ were introduced. Top Gun established Tom Cruise’s identity in Hollywood as a superstar. The movie follows Maverick (Tom Cruise) joining Top Gun, an elite training school for US Naval aviators. It introduced us to his mate Goose (Anthony Edman) and foe-turned-friend Iceman (Val Kilmer). He struggles to redeem himself and navigate his life after losing his dear friend and wingman- Goose. He learns to trust his instincts and work with a team.
Top Gun: Maverick is set years after these events.
The protagonist Captain Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise), with the renowned call sign Maverick, has a distinguished service record and should be nothing less than an admiral. Yet he remains a ‘highly decorated’ Captain. His old friend Iceman (Val Kilmer), now an admiral, assigns him on a mission that takes him back to Top Gun. Maverick must train a group of young Top Gun graduates in a mission that comes close to suicide. The batch of youngsters includes Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s late wingman ‘Goose’ and someone he shares an agitating history with.
It is safe to say that people were skeptical about a remake being launched after 36 years. However, the movie manages to capture the attention of the audience within the first ten minutes. The plot can be considered predictable and clichéd at times. The characters are stereotypes that we have seen one too many times- the battered veteran, the prodigal son, the underdog, and even a clandestine romance. The film remains engaging with the F-18s and the scramjets on screen and does not deprive the audience of gripping action sequences.
It is difficult to not compare the two films when the latest includes so many throwbacks to the original. Maverick opens with the same background score and uses the familiar setting as well as Maverick’s iconic Kawasaki motorbike. The sequel cannot be declared better than the original but it ties in the loose ends and provides a smooth end for a story arc that began more than three decades ago. It depicts Maverick at crossroads in his life and career. He knows the clock is ticking but he cannot bring himself to let go of his fraught past. Tom Cruise brings out the stubbornness and charm of the character wonderfully. Maverick is also depicted as older and wiser over the years.
The audience is sure to be awed by the aeronautics and nail-biting sky dances. Charming and elegant young stars such as Miles Teller (Rooster), Glen Powell (Hangman), Monica Barbaro (Phoenix), Jay Ellis, and Danny Ramirez also provide a competent performance. One would find it hard to resist the sweet charm and glow of Tom Cruise’s smile and not to mention the forever young and beautiful Jennifer Connelly.