Top Gun: Maverick review – Tom Cruise's sensational return to the skies will take your breath away & even tops original

Top Gun: Maverick review – Tom Cruise's sensational return to the skies will take your breath away & even tops original

TOP GUN: MAVERICK

(12A) 131mins

★★★★★

I FEEL the need… the need to tell you how astonishingly good the new Top Gun is.

With all the adrenaline, spectacular stunts, humour and heart of the first blockbuster, it also has an all-action storyline of bombs and baddies to beat Bond.


From the very first beat of the synthesiser in the famous Top Gun anthem, it’s a non-stop blast of action at high altitude.

It’s been 36 years since we last saw Tom Cruise slipping out of his shirt and into his aviators as test pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell in the original.

We’re introduced to the – only slightly – more mature Mav in his air hanger while he tinkers with a plane.

As rebellious and headstrong as always, we soon discover Maverick has purposely dodged any advancement in the rank even though he’s one of the most successful pilots.

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His skills are then called upon by Vice Admiral Cyclone (Jon Hamm) to train a group of the new “best of the best '' graduates in the Top Gun program, which includes Rooster (Miles Teller), the son of his late Wingman Goose.

It’s clear that Maverick’s ways are considered old school by Cyclone who barks “The future is coming Maverick, and you’re not in it,” as he reveals how one day fighter jets won’t even need pilots anymore.

But that doesn’t sway Mav, who gets the class's attention on day one by going full Dead Poet’s Society and throwing the pilot manual into the bin. He wants to teach them things that can’t be learned from pesky books.

The new Top Guns are a perfect modern mix of cocky pilots and you immediately warm to them in a bar scene where Rooster takes to the piano to bash out Great Balls of Fire, causing Maverick to flashback to Goose doing the same in the original film.

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There are further clever uses of flashbacks and old pictures from the first, perfectly pulling you back to the young crew you originally fell in love with.

And, fear not ladies and gentleman, part of Maverick’s training programme includes taking tops off, oiling up and doing chest pumps on the beach in a very hands-on and homoerotic game of American football.

Cruise isn’t the only returning cast member, with a clearly very unwell Val Kilmer as Admiral Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky making a poignant scene between the pilots.

Apart from a few scene-stealing moments from the excellent Jon Hamm, there’s barely a moment you look away from Cruise. His performance is a hypnotic mix of classic action hero with a more mature man who has been jaded by life.

And the stunts. Well, my God. They are so spectacular and death defying, you can feel the G-Force hitting you from the big screen.

Dare I say, it’s a better film than the first? I think I dare.  

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You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll gasp and your heart will race.

Quite simply, it will take your breath away.

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