Top Gun:Maverick


There is a moment in time, a very specific one. The world sat up and really noticed Tom Cruise, when he put those aviators on, and smiled at us.


It’s 1986, and Top Gun is at the cinema. Goose is at the piano,  belting out ‘Great Balls of Fire’. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell is singing with him. There’s some ‘fancy flying’ and a ‘need for speed’. There’s a highly watchable beach volleyball scene and the obligatory romantic interlude. But there was never a sequel, despite public interest in one.

36 years later, the year is 2022, and that sequel has landed. After a few postponements, thanks to Covid, it finally hit the deck. (Ok, enough of the puns, I know). On Wednesday night, with preview night tickets in my hot little hands, I headed off to see Top Gun: Maverick.

The opening scenes are archetypal of the original. We hear the music and old memories are reborn. We see the wording on screen and those immortal words

“Today, the Navy calls it Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call it Top Gun.”

With that nod to the original, you know instantly that you are in for a wild ride. Yet, despite the borrowing of scenes from the original, it is not cheesy, nor is it cheap. These scenes are slipped in, to reflect not only Mavericks past, but also to show how his future is playing out.

Several relationships are key in this movie but none more than the one between Maverick, and Bradley Bradshaw, callsign ‘Rooster.

Miles Teller as Bradley Bradshaw. Callsign 'Rooster'

Bradley is the son of Nick Bradshaw, callsign ‘Goose’ from the original. It’s clear that Maverick has been trying to fill the ‘father figure’ role in his life since the death of Goose, while Bradley holds animosity towards him, for removing his name from the Naval Academy list and stalling his potential.

Another key relationship is that of Maverick and his superiors. Maverick continues to push the envelope in his test pilot role, and always seems to go one step further than instructed. His superiors demonstrate a certain level of distrust towards him, never knowing what he is going to do next, despite given orders. Maverick is reminded that he is “still a Captain” and has somehow avoided promotion that would have grounded him long ago.

We are  handed a name from the past. Penny Benjamin. If you remember, a line from the original, Gooses wife said “He told me all about the time you went ballistic with Penny Benjamin”. Now we have a face to put to that name. It’s clear that it was a previous romantic interest, but the question is, where does it head this time?

We are gifted a beautiful, but all too fleeting insight, into the relationship of Maverick and the Admiral and Commander of the US Pacific Fleet – Tom Kazansky, callsign ‘Iceman’. We find out that he is behind Mavericks return to Top Gun, as he knows that he is the only pilot capable of training the new recruits for an upcoming mission.

Val Kilmer as Tom Kazansky. Callsign 'Iceman'


The plot surrounds a secret mission that only the best pilots can negotiate. The mission is time sensitive. The mission has a  multitude of risks. To have a chance of fulfilling the mission, the pilots need the best teacher, one that knows risk and can push the envelope. Maverick is the man, which  is why Iceman gave the order to bring him back to Top Gun.  

Add into our movie plot…training, push-ups, beach team-building games, Rooster playing a certain song on the piano, Maverick stealing a jet to prove that the planned mission is actually possible, (sorry, another pun – I know!) and the mission itself.

What did I think of the movie? Well, I loved it. I can’t lie. There was enough nostalgia from the first movie, to please the masses. After all, if you didn’t hear ‘Danger Zone’ as the first song….you’d be gutted wouldn’t you?

There was a great new story for Maverick. The flight scenes blew the original Top Gun out of the park. They were phenomenal. The cinematography of this film was second to none. I found myself leaning in my seat, as the plans flew the canyon! There was the obligatory romantic interlude.

We were even given Maverick, being pushed to his limits and out of his depths! There were some comedic moments. There were sad moments. There are plenty of new ‘quotes’ to be had from this movie, just like the last.

But after 2 hours and 17 minutes, I left the theatre incredibly satisfied.