Top Gun: Maverick

'Top Gun' is quite underwhelming (save for the beyond excellent soundtrack), its sequel 'Top Gun: Maverick' is anything but. A thrilling, high-stakes, bold, rousing adrenaline rush of a motion picture. Tom Cruise is in full cruise control of his craft: effortlessly charming, genuinely moving when needed (the rapport with Val Kilmer is wonderful) and always 101% dedicated to whatever will bring his vision to the silver screen.

The supporting cast - and yes, they are truly supporting - is outstanding: Miles Teller confirms his potential, Glen Powell is the perfect jock with redeeming qualities, Jennifer Connelly stands her ground and is never outwitted (having David Bowie on the soundtrack during her introductory scene seemed like an intentional 'Labyrinth' shout-out), Monica Barbaro is believable, gung ho and full of charm, Ed Harris completely steals the only scene he's in, Jon Hamm is perfectly gruff with gusto, etc. As a fan of 'Good Place', I would have liked more scenes with Manny Jacinto, but what's done is done.

The music is all killer no filler (welcome back, Harold Faltermeyer), the cinematography beggars belief, the aerial shots are (mostly) CGI-free and you actually feel like you're in the cockpit with the cast - 'edge of your seat' has never been so apt an expression. Literally, be prepared to be on the edge of your seat during the finale. Joseph Kosinski (check his underrated 'Tron Legacy' and his fun 'Oblivion') knows how to make a true crowdpleaser, a blockbuster in the every sense of the word. 'Top Gun: Maverick' could never be mistaken for deep art, but it never aspires to be. It's something much better: pure fun.

What a great, great movie.

Julian De Backer, 14 July 2022