Topping Top Gun — Maverick

When it comes to pure entertainment, it’s hard to top Top Gun — Maverick. The 2022 sequel to the 1986 blockbuster, Top Gun, is one wild ride from start to finish, and it achieves what great storytelling sets to achieve. That’s keeping the audience glued throughout and coming back for more.

Top Gun — Maverick released on May 27, 2022. My wife, Rita, and I saw it three times. First was out of curiosity. Second was with our adult kids. Third was for self-indulgent escapism. It’s that friggin’ good.

It’s friggin’ good for a lot of reasons. Action… tension… thrills… flashbacks… old-fling romance… interpersonal drama… humor… sorrow… redemption… compassion… fulfillment… oh, and the music. Plus 6 crashed planes, 5 ejections, 2 stolen jets, dogfights galore, Ray Bans, bar scenes with bottled beer piano sings, and the obligatory high speed tower buzz in a Tomcat.

It’s got an excellent plot (and subplots), fascinating characters, believable dialogue, and twists you’ll never see coming. It’s got fast jets, cocky pilots, hard bodies, and a leading lady to die for. It’s got good guys and bad guys, friends and foes. And, it’s got box office numbers in the stratosphere.

Top Gun 1 cost $15 million to produce and grossed $357 million. Maverick cost $170 million to make (including $11,374 per hour paid to the US Navy for F-18 Super Hornet flight time) and—so far in under a month—raked in $748 million. Forbes predicts Top Gun — Maverick will be the first billion-dollar film.

Outside of huge numbers and equally large thrills, the show is outstanding storytelling. I’m not going to give spoilers, but I’ll tell you the screenplay follows the classic 3-Act structure.

In Act 1, we see Captain Pete Mitchell, call-sign Maverick played by Tom Cruise, going about his normal world of test-flying a Mach 10 Dark Star hypersonic airplane. His day disrupts when he’s unexpectedly called back to the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) at Miramar air base in San Diego. Act 2 has Maverick teaching an elite group of the best-of-the-best Top Gun fighter pilot graduates to execute a secret mission of destroying a fiercely guarded enemy uranium enrichment facility. Act 3 is the tactical, all-is-lost attack, and I can tell you this part has stuff you can’t imagine.

Not giving the ending away, but I’ll leave you with the closing song by Lady Gaga. Hold My Hand.

How about you Kill Zoners? Who’s seen Top Gun — Maverick, and how do you rate this movie as storytelling?

Bonus: Listen to 4 real Top Gun instructors review the show.

49 thoughts on “Topping Top Gun — Maverick

  1. Taking my son to see it tomorrow. Can’t wait! I owned the original on VHS and wore that sucker out as a child of the 80’s. Watched it with my kids last week to prep for the sequel, and Kenny Loggins has taken up permanent residence in my head ever since. Not that I’m complaining. 😉😎

  2. I’m waiting for the on-demand release (July 2022 or after) but it’s on my list. Thanks for your excellent review, Garry. Hope you’re having a good week.

  3. The reviews have been nothing but very good. And, no, I haven’t seen it. I’ve not gone back to theaters.

    A funny story this group will get. The radio station that woke me up had the morning talent having a music trivia contest. A question listed a number of albums, and they had to guess the boy band. One wrong answer was BTK.

    To be fair, a serial killer that binds, tortures, and kills is pretty dang close to a boy band for some music fans.

  4. Well what do you know? “Good old-fashioned” movie making is crushing it at the box office. Maverick is basically a Howard Hawks movie–a group of men, along with a tough “Hawksian woman,” must bond together to accomplish a dangerous mission. A formula that still works!

    • Best formula ever, Jim. Hawksian woman Phoenix kicks ass in the show. “This here’s Bagman”. (Folks, you have to see movie to get this line.)

  5. Top Gun. Is that the movie that was twice as long as it needed to be because they repeated every line of dialogue twice? 🙂
    From Garry’s synopsis: “Plus 6 crashed planes, 5 ejections, 2 stolen jets, dogfights galore,” it’s a perfect Hubster movie.
    Will wait until I can watch Maverick at home. I have watched all 3 of my kids test positive after going out in public.

      • Hubster and I have very different reasons for choosing movies. If nothing blows up, or nobody’s killed in the first ten minutes, he’s ready to walk out. 🙂

    • This new variant is scary. My niece and her husband picked it up from neighbors which is ironic since they both work with the public. I hope your kids feel better soon, and you survive them being sick.

      • Thanks, Marilynn — all 3 were vaxxed and boosted, and had mild cases. They’re all far enough away that I haven’t come in contact with them. I’m more concerned about the library event I’m participating in on Saturday–I’ll be masked.

  6. Terrific review, Garry. It increases my anticipation for seeing this film, which I will, once it hits on-demand video. Aside from a few private theater screenings in the past, I’m staying out of the theater right now. But I’m really looking forward to this.

    Keep on having great days!

    • This is the first time we’ve been back to the theatre since Covid, Dale. It’s really worth seeing on the big screen. But if you watch it at home, crank the volume.

  7. I remember you telling me about it, Garry. Can’t wait to see it! Like Joe, we’ll probably wait till we can stream it. Too many vacationers flooding our area. Cinema would be packed.

    • It’s truly worth the price of a packed cinema to see this large, Sue. In the meantime, put on the headphones, place the volume high, and listen to Hold My Hand. DO IT….

  8. Thanks for the review, Garry. I’ve re-watched the original, but I haven’t had a chance to see the new release. It’s on my list.

    I’m with Jim, the success of this film is hopefully telling the studios that the world is hungry for “good old-fashioned” movie making. Let’s hope they respond to the demand.

    Hope you’re having a good week.

    • Move it to the top of your list, Steve. You won’t regret it. “Good old-fashioned movie making.” Yeah, that’s what this is. Pure entertainment that keeps you so captivated that you forget about the popcorn.

  9. Great review, Garry. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, although we’ll probably opt for streaming it. Covid seems to be making a comeback around here, and a crowded theater may not be the best place for us right now.

    Any movie with airplanes in it is a great one for me, and you’ve put this one at the top of the list.

  10. And in other good viewing news, I saw the first episode of DARK WINDS on AMC on Sunday night. It’s based on Tony Hillerman’s Navaho mystery series. It’s highly recommended so far although Chee’s backstory has been completely changed.

  11. Going to see it tomorrow. We watched the first one last night (me for the first time).

    My two cents . . . people have had it up their receding hairlines with world “stuff”. At least I am.

    Just give me a good action movie with good guys and bad guys doing their good guy and bad guy antics, along with big guns and a little lovey-dovey thrown in for good measure.

    Makes my world go ’round . . . 🙂

  12. Absolutely loved this movie even more than the original! I had fun noticing the Easter eggs and parallels with the original movie. I would totally watch it again, soon.

  13. I’m looking forward to seeing it. My day job is doing budgets/schedules at a Hornet squadron. I asked our pilots what they thought of the movie. They said that they could nitpick it to death but it was overall, they loved it. BTW — $11,374/hr is a sweetheart rate.

  14. Best seamless sequel evah! I know a lot more about Cruise than I did the first time, so I went in not liking him. But I fell (again) for Maverick.

  15. Sounds good, Garry. The “old guy going back to train the kids” is a classic for aging stars. I just watched 2006’s “The Guardian” with Kevin Costner doing a similar thing. It wasn’t great (with Rotten Tomatoes numbers to prove it), but this sounds like a good one for sure. Will be waiting for it on the home screen with notepad handy. Have not been to a movie theater in years.

    • This show is excellent, Harald. It’s really worth seeing on the big screen with the loud sound. Maybe it’s time to get out of the house again 🙂

  16. I would love to see it on the big screen, but like Kay said, Covid is making a comeback in this area and we only have one movie house…you’ve made me really want to see it!

    • It’ll be tremendous no matter where you watch it, Patricia. One of Rita’s coworkers managed to get it on a net stream and watch it at home. I think that must be a pirated copy as this thing is making so much money at the theatres that I can’t see it being officially available on the net. It’s Paramount who owns this thing, not Netflix.

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