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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Top Gun: Maverick | film


Script by: Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, & Christopher McQuarrie

Story by: Peter Craig & Justin Marks

Characters Created by: Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr.

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Director of Photography: Claudio Miranda

Starring: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm, Charles Parnell, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Greg Tarzan Davis

Released: May 27, 2022

This is an example of nostalgia done right. From music choices to references to the original that was released in 1986, everything was the right amount of nostalgia.

Recommendation: If you enjoyed the original or if you're up for a different kind of story than what has been told within the last ten-ish years.

SPOILER WARNING: This review does contain spoilers.

If you wish to remain spoiler free, then do not read past this point.

One of the main avenues the nostalgia is present is through the music. And they do not wait to have "Dangerzone" by Kenny Loggins accompanying some very classic looking shots at the top of the film. There are also hints of this song in the score later on in the film.

"I Ain't Worried" by OneRepublic matches the tone of more than just the scene it accompanies. But to focus on that scene and the song, it creates a similar but not exactly the same feeling as the scene it is meant to mimick - the volleyball scene. Because while both scenes show the importance of utilizing other avenues to build a team, dogfight football does more for the cohesiveness that is needed for Top Gun: Maverick. And I think that's part of the reason why this song took off for the film.

These shots adds to the nostalgia factor. They have similar coloration to the original, but there is a new level of detail in certain shots - specifically with the opener and the beach scene. The way the shots are composed just brings you right back to the feelings that existed in the original.

Let's dive in to a few of the characters!

Hangman - the way Glen Powell plays this character comes across as a mix of '86 Maverick and '86 Iceman. The Maverick hints mostly come from the bar scene near the top of the film. The Iceman hints are more riminiscent of before Maverick saved Iceman, and are primarily seen as Hangman pokes and prods almost everyone around him. It is certainly less isolated, even though some of the moments feel like there is more of a history between him and Rooster.

Rooster - Miles Teller brings a solid mix of '86 Maverick and Goose, which makes perfect sense as Rooster had a short time with Goose and was somewhat brought up by Maverick. At the same time, there is a level newness as you can see how he is trying to figure out who he is outside of those who have impacted his life the most.

Phoenix - Monica Barbaro brought so much to the table and it's impossible to not love her character. The way that Phoenix interacts with Rooster and Hangman in the beginning, you would almost think she had "lost that lovin' feelin'".

Bob - I think Lewis Pullman brought a little bit of Goose into Bob. Specifically with some of the zingers he delivered in moments when you didn't exactly expect it from Bob.

I will say I was not fully sold on knowing the "full" roster of names of the pilots who had been called back. Having them all on screen when Cyclone is showing Maverick who is in the program is one thing. But in the bar scene when they start naming people off and later on in the first round of dogfights when we get to see a few of the others. I don't know that it really made a difference knowing their names, because we didn't really get to know them. The only pilots we got to know where the ones who were a part of the mission in the end - Rooster, Phoenix, Bob, Payback, Fanboy, and Hangman. You could also include Coyote in the group. Even though he wasn't "on the mission", we did get to know his character a little.

I think it was an interesting choice to have both of Rooster's parents as deceased. It's never established when his mom passes away, which could have shifted the impact of certain plot points. At the same time, with the level of depth that exists, it's not super important.

This is one of those films that is worth experiencing on the largest screen with the loudest sound you possibly can. At the same time, I think it will be one of those "feel good" films that people will add to their "comfort" list. They don't dive in too deep to where you feel like you're lost when they make small shifts as to which storyline is front and center. It also doesn't feel disjointed when they shift between storylines either.

I watched a lot of the behind the scenes before I saw the film, and it only added to the experience. It added a "cool factor" to it because of how some of the shots were achieved. It also provided a glimpse into what it takes to be a pilot, which not everyone is aware of how that process works.

I think this film shows the value of not fully remaking a classic for the sake of nostalgia. It offers the perspective that creating a carefully curated sequel is the better option.

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