Review Round Up: Top Gun: Maverick

We round up what critics have had to say about the long awaited sequel, which sees Tom Cruise returning for more high flying drama.

The Guardian: *** “There’s plenty of rock’n’roll fighter-pilot action in this movie, but weirdly none of the homoerotic tension that back in the day had guys queueing up at the Navy recruitment booths set up in cinema foyers. Weirder still, it is actually less progressive on gender issues than the original film, which did after all put a woman in charge: astrophysicist Charlotte Blackwood, played by Kelly McGillis, was the trainer (inspired by real-life Pentagon official Christine Fox). Now it’s Maverick in charge and there is just the one female pilot under his instruction: Phoenix, a thin role for Monica Barbaro.”

The Independent: **** “But Top Gun: Maverick really isn’t packed with the kind of craven nostalgia that we’re used to these days. It’s smarter, subtler, and wholly more humanistic.”

Digital Spy: **** “Luckily, it isn’t so much that it bogs down the film, replete with genuine suspense, adrenaline, and fist-pumping victories. And yet, somehow, Top Gun: Maverick feels subtle – the way it plays on its themes of modernisation, father-son relationships and growing old are sifted through gently as the planes roar by.”

Empire: ***** “Avoiding the danger zone of mere retread, Kosinski and co deliver all the Top Gun feels and then some: slick visuals, crew camaraderie, thrilling aerial action, a surprising emotional wallop and, in Tom Cruise, a magnetic movie-star performance as comforting as an old leather jacket. Punching the air is mandatory.”

Variety: ” These days, videogame-styled blockbusters rely so heavily on CGI that it’s thrilling to see the impact of gravity on actual human beings, pancaked to their chairs by multiple G-forces. Sophisticated movie magic makes their performances seamless with the exterior airborne shots, while the commitment to filming practically everything practically feels like the cutting-edge equivalent of Howard Hughes’ history-making “Hell’s Angels.” The result is the most immersive flight simulator audiences will have ever experienced, right down to the great Dolby roar of engines vibrating through their seats (while the score teases cues for Lady Gaga’s end-credits anthem “Hold My Hand”).”

Evening Standard: **** “The plot is as cheesy as a fondue fountain, which is just what you’d expect from a nostalgia fest co-written by Ehren Kruger, the man who worked on three Transformers movies. But it’s also soapily compelling, and every now and again, springy lines, almost certainly the work of Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote The Usual Suspects and has long been part of the spry Mission Impossible team, ensure we laugh with TG2, as well as at it. In other words, the film is meant to be funny haha and funny ridiculous, which is probably why naughty Lady Gaga signed up to do the (outrageously effective) theme song.”

iNews: **** “The technology may be new but this is a very old-fashioned affair, similar in its celebration of courage and camaraderie to old Howard Hawks movies like Only Angels Have Wings. Cruise is soulful one moment and performing death-defying aerial stunts the next. He is allowed to be both the gnarled old-timer and the Peter Pan-like action hero – and he excels in both guises.”

Radio Times: **** “Crucially, the nostalgia here is different in that it actually serves the story and its themes. Maverick is still stewing on the events of the original, still feeling guilt for Goose’s death, and these feelings are made all the more potent by the fact he’s back in familiar surroundings and coming face to face with his late wingman’s son. These flashes of nostalgia work, then, precisely because they’re echoing the character’s own emotional state.”

The Telegraph: ***** “Thrilling, moving and gloriously Cruisey, Joseph Kosinski’s sequel to the 1986 hit is unquestionably the best studio action film in years.”

The Sun: ***** “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.”

The Times: **** ““Trust your instincts. Don’t think. Just do.” That’s the new mantra of the fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) in this belated and glorious sequel to the 1986 blockbuster that made Cruise a megastar and defined an era of Hollywood film-making.”

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