<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>

Directed by Joseph Kosinski. Starring Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Val Kilmer, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris

This is entertainment as we knew it from the 80s. Pure action, grit, real stunts and effects, macho men saving the world by throwing out the rule book and throwing on some attitude and idealism. Top Gun: Maverick is a sequel that deserves an Oscar for taking us back to a time when movies were meant to take you away and thrill you with good guy v/s bad guy drama with a rocking soundtrack sidekick.

A familiar scene and also one that invokes so much nostalgia, I shed a tear

Top Gun and its music and Tom Cruise were a symbol of the 80s and action films of the time. Now over 30 years later – 40 years in the film – Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) returns to the elite fighting school he trained at, this time to teach a bunch of the best who must fly an impossible mission to destroy the uranium plant in the bad guy’s territory. Simple and focussed goal. No convoluted storyline and unnecessary plot twists.

Someone in an audio review mentioned something about ‘gay subtext’ in the film simply because you have all these hot, hunky guys training with each other and then playing football on the beach half naked. I’m sorry but I didn’t see that in the original or in this film. Sure I probably fantasised about Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer getting it on, but this is plain and simple bromance and male bonding at its best. Not the ‘no homo’ bro-buddy talk of today’s youth.

A scene from Top Gun: Maverick

And the real action, with actors really in the cockpits of these aerial beasts having to fly and be filmed up in the sky – many of them threw up – adds so much to the realism and thrill. Heroes disobeying orders and saving the day with fist pumps, the guy jumping out of his girl’s window to evade the family and then getting caught – a scene that is both charmingly funny and surprisingly poignant in this film – and the good guy’s winning is what it’s all about. Also, nostalgia and the message that the good ol’ days and the old things we loved are far more valuable today. And more impressive.

Guilt is holding Maverick back; he still blames himself for his buddy ‘Goose’s’ death in back from the original film. And now Goose’s son Lt. Bradley is one of the students he must train for the deadly mission.

Miles Teller as Lt. Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw in Top Gun: Maverick

That we have Val Kilmer, who battled with throat cancer, in this film to reunite with his buddy is the icing (no pun intended). Ice Man Admiral Kazansky still looks out for Maverick but can’t do it forever. He’s old and infirm but the reunion between the two is far more emotional and tear-jerking than the love story between Maverick and Penny (Jennifer Connelly).

Read this: Val Kilmer on the Tom Cruise ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ reunion, that final hug: ‘Straight from the heart’

A scene between Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise from the original Top Gun

Top Gun: Maverick has everything to keep you entertained and inspired. Tom Cruise knows how to craft the details and make  you care, even though we don’t really get to know much about Pete’s life over the last few decades. Also, it’s amazing how good Tom looks at nearly 60 (though he does have to suck his tummy in during the shirtless beach scene). But hell, he’s hot hot hot.

Watch the trailer

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