Ben Oliver

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Top Gun: Maverick

The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction.
31 May 2022

Decades after the first Top Gun, Maverick (Tom Cruise) is still flying with the navy working on a test program for a hypersonic jet. When that gets shuttered, he is sent back to the ‘Top Gun’ flying school to train the best of the best on a very high risk, high difficulty mission. A mission impossible, if you will.

Top Gun: Maverick isn’t without its failings but the final hour and a half of the film contains some of the greatest action sequences ever put to celluloid. For want of a better description, it’s absolutely off the fucking chain. I am struggling to process how it was possible to produce a film like this.

The script is corny and packed full of memorable lines and jokes delivered without a hint of irony. It’s paper thin but also a refreshing change from the Marvel-style self-aware sense of humour that’s become the norm in summer blockbusters. There’s no insecurity here, no winks at the audience to try and win them over. Every shot of every scene looks cool and consistent, like a well put together glossy magazine. It sets a tone and maintains it unwaveringly.

Sounds boring, but in retrospect the pay-off to all the build up is so so good that you wouldn’t want it any other way. At one point you’re kicking back with the aviators listening to the briefing, the next you’re on the edge of your seat hanging onto dear life with them.

Say what you will about Tom Cruise, his dedication to making the absolute best entertainment he can is second to none. The next film can always be better than the last—we’ve seen that with Mission Impossible and now with Top Gun. He seems keener than ever to remind us that there’s still magic in the movies.

As a side note, I can’t believe this cost less to make than Red Notice.

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