“Top Gun: Maverick”: Reviews Soar Sky-High in the Long-awaited Sequel

Joseph Kosinski’s action drama sequel Top Gun: Maverick (2022) sees Tom Cruise’s beloved iconic character return to the big screen. The film, highly anticipated by long- term fans and critics alike, premieres this Friday (27th May) in UK cinemas.

Homage to the Original

In many ways, the upcoming film can be viewed as a love letter to the original Top Gun (1986). It is dedicated to the memory of Tony Scott, the director of the original classic who was in the process of developing the sequel before his untimely death. Scott has also directed other notable films such as True Romance (1993) and Unstoppable (2010). To many fans’ delight, esteemed actors Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer will be reprising their roles as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Lt. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky respectively. Other members of the star-studded cast include Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman and Ed Harris.


The plot of the sequel follows test pilot Captain Pete Mitchell more than thirty years after the events of the original took place. Having served as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Maverick is still in the height of his brave and rebellious ventures as a pilot whilst maintaining his stance on avoiding any advancement in rank that may ground him.

Maverick is soon assigned the lead role in training a group of Top Gun graduates for a specific mission linked to the orders of his former rival, Iceman. Although he has risen to the highly revered rank of a four-star admiral, Iceman has also been battling severe health issues over the years. Joining them is also Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw and Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. Maverick learns from the commanding officers that they have assembled this group of well-trained pilots in order to work against a nation which has constructed facilities for enriched uranium. The mission for the pilots is to destroy the uranium facility which is mysteriously hidden deep inside a canyon within the mountains and surrounded by surface-to-air missile sites.

Things do not go according to plan as Maverick meets the rest of the team and is immediately treated in a hostile manner. Tensions arise between the egotistical pilots and relationships turn sour. Maverick must soon learn to earn the trust and respect of his co- workers whilst still ensuring the success of the complex and seemingly impossible air combat mission.

Top Gun Maverick

Mix of Genres

Moving away from the original premise where Maverick deals with issues of identity as a hotshot, reckless fighter pilot and grapples with ideas of his youth, he is now faced with new obstacles in the elaborate mission which continually tests his character as a leader, a friend, a pilot, and a man. As Kosinski mentions while discussing the script of the sequel: “Maverick in that film was in his early twenties and now he’s in his fifties. It had to be a different journey, but it was important. It was a journey for a man at a different part of his life. We think of Top Gun as an action film, but I think of it as a drama. It has some incredible action scenes in it, but there is a drama at the center of it.”

Cruise’s Involvement in Production

Cruise was also heavily involved in the production side of the film. Known to be a perfectionist, he designed a bootcamp for the cast and they each went through three months of training. Activities in the training process involved underwater evacuation, aerial aviation and exercises to build spatial awareness inside the aircraft. As Cruise himself states, “taking on the sequel to Top Gun was a daunting task. Fans all over the world, more than any other film for decades have been saying please do another one, and I was like, I don’t know how to do that. And I would go home and think about how to approach it, so to hear about how audiences feel about it. I’m telling you I just feel, I’m so excited for them, I’m so happy about it, I’m relieved for them, you know.”

Bruckheimer even noted that “the actors also had to learn how to run the cameras because when they’re up in the jet they have to direct themselves essentially. They also needed to be taught about the lighting, cinematography and editing, as it is the once-in- a-lifetime experience.”

With the strenuous physical work and dedication that has gone into making the film, it is no wonder that it is set as one of the most highly anticipated blockbusters of 2022.

Top Gun’s peculiar mix of pure pleasure-inducing action and an almost sappy emotional drama at the heart of it is what makes it so unique and easily accessible to audiences.

Top Gun Tom Cruise

With a story that incorporates both the old and the new, and a cast peppered with returning actors and rising stars, Top Gun: Maverick allows for a widespread audience, whether it be young action-lovers or hardcore fans of the original 80s film.

Release Dates

Top Gun: Maverick premiered at CinemaCon on April 28, 2022, and will be theatrically released in the United Kingdom and United States on May 27, 2022 by Paramount Pictures. Originally, it was set for release on July 12, 2019 but had to be postponed in order to “allow the production to work out all the complex flight sequences”. The film was delayed even further due to COVID-19 and unforeseen scheduling conflicts, leaving fans wanting more and box office records predicted to sky-rocket in the first week. Contrary to expectations, the film has received an abundance of praise from critics, with many claiming it to be superior to the original classic.

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