Say what you like about Tom Cruise, any lover of cinema has to appreciate what the star has done for the industry throughout his career, but even more so in these last 3 years. Top Gun: Maverick was originally slated for release in Summer 2019 but due to reshoots and Covid-19, it took multiple further delays to see its release. Many big releases over the past few years have moved to streaming services but Cruise refused to budge, promising audiences the big screen experience. Well, Cruise’s confidence has paid off in a big way as not only was my screening of Maverick sold out, the film itself is absolutely terrific.

Test pilot Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is brought back to Top Gun by old rival Admiral Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky (Val Kilmer) and is tasked with teaching a team of elite flyers how to undertake a crucial mission against an unnamed enemy. One of the new recruits, call sign ‘Rooster’ (Miles Teller), has links to a tragedy in Maverick’s past.

I’m a big Tom Cruise fan. My Dad and I have always been very fond of his films and the man seems to only get better with age. Here, he puts in his most emotional and grounded performance in years, as we see Maverick reflect on his past decisions and ensure he makes the right ones moving forward. He shares a touching sequence alongside the returning Kilmer, who has only recently begun recovery from throat cancer, and it is one of many beautiful moments in a film that isn’t afraid to tug on our heartstrings.

The jet fighter scenes in the air are extraordinary. You should all know by now that Cruise does all his own stunts, but the rest of the cast were also actually up in the air too and Teller revealed recently that there was no green screen used for these aerial sequences. It adds another layer of realism to the film and it’s also elevated by Joseph Kosinski’s flawless direction, which puts the camera right in the thick of the action and ensures you are always on the edge of your seat.

Beyond Cruise’s magnificent turn, the biggest takeaway is how incredibly stunning the film looks and that is down to Kosinski (who directed Cruise in the underrated Sci-Fi flick Oblivion) and cinematographer Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi). The film looks magnificent throughout and some of the shots here are astonishing to behold, and I can’t see it being long before Kosinski is being offered more blockbuster material to tackle.

All the supporting cast are great here, particularly Teller, and the film balances the nostalgic feel of the first film whilst also staying fresh and modern in its approach. It then concludes with a truly exhilarating third act, with maximum stakes on the line and some of the finest action sequences you will see in 2022. We all know everyone’s dad is going to be seeing this film, but this is a movie to be admired by the masses as there is something here for everyone. Great story, good laughs, stellar performances, and insane action sequences.

It’s been 36 years since the original Top Gun hit cinemas, so Maverick is the latest in a recent trend called ‘The Legacy Sequel’. Legacy sequels have been all the rage in Hollywood for a few years now, where long-time franchises, like Star Wars, Rocky, Blade Runner & The Matrix, are resurrected with belated sequels that saddle the original hero with a new cast of young up-and-comers, potentially to carry the series’ torch forward. The results on these sequels have been mixed, to say the least, but Top Gun: Maverick is up there as one of the very best we’ve seen. A crowd-pleasing cinematic thrill ride.

Verdict: A beautiful, thrilling, throw your fist in the air blockbuster with Cruise on scintillating form in the lead. Breath-taking.

Best Moment: The entire third act!

Rating: 8/10