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Monday, May 30, 2022

Top Gun: Maverick 2022 * * 1/2 Stars


"I have the need, the need for speed!" So do moviegoers. That's why so many are gonna flock to 2022's Top Gun: Maverick. Wanting to see the sequel to the original Top Gun amidst its many delays, I was one of them. May seemed like the perfect month to get my Mach 10 on. 

More stunt-packed than the first Top Gun and probably more tech-savvy, "Maverick" at times readily lets you know it's a follow-up with fan-made propensities and fan service directed at Tom Cruise's legendary persona (Lt. Pete Mitchell). At the same timetable, Top Gun: Maverick also announces that it's cinematic spectacle and not much else. See it on the biggest screen possible but be forewarned, you won't be quoting any of its lines any time soon. 

Tom Cruise stars in "Maverick" (duh). As Lt. Mitchell, Cruise acts and talks differently than he did in '86. I don't know if it's old age or wisdom but Mitchell is now the consummate professional. Back then he didn't say much. He just acted cocky and kicked butt in the air. I mean in Top Gun: Maverick I thought he said he wasn't fit to be an instructor. Could've fooled me. 

"Maverick" flies by even at a running time of 137 minutes (no pun intended). And director Joseph Kosinski can stage action while providing a stellar attention to detail (love those gadget zoom and POV shots). But if you're looking for nostalgia and dramatic heft a la Tony Scott's sun-soaked vision, don't look here. What's worse, you don't know who the enemies are that the pilots are fighting in "Maverick". The aerial, high-flying stuff is just for show and for well, "whoa". 

Top Gun: Maverick is its own movie but it shouldn't force you to forget what transpired effectively 36 years ago. The original Top Gun was (and is) a pop culture artifact, a time capsule put forth, and nearly the first of its kind. "Maverick" lacks Top Gun's revered characters, its devil-may-care banter, and its two iconic endings. The late "Mother" Goose would abide. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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