The first verdicts on the long-awaited top gun sequel Top Gun: Maverick are in – and fans have reason to be excited.
The forthcoming thriller, which sees Tom Cruise reprise the role of ace fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, has been heralded by reviewers as an improvement on the 1986 original.
Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer also feature alongside Cruise.
In a four-star review for The IndependentClarisse Loughrey writes: “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.”
However, while she praises the film’s technical ambition and action sequences, she criticizes the film’s treatment of the female characters from the original, writing: “Neither McGillis nor Meg Ryan, who played Rooster’s mother, make any kind of return. Maverick, instead, gets a new love interest in the form of Jennifer Connelly’s Penny, the admiral’s daughter offhandedly mentioned in the first film, now a bar owner and a single mother.
“There’ll come a time when we need to talk about why Hollywood only accepts older women who look a certain way. Until then, who can be blamed for getting swept up by a film this damned fun?”
The Telegraph‘s Robbie Collin was even more effusive in his praise for the film, awarding Maverick five stars.
“[Maverick] is Dad Cinema at its eye-crinkling apogee,” he wrote, “all rugged wistfulness and rough-and-tumble comradeship, interspersed with flight sequences so preposterously exciting and involving they seem to invert the cinema through 180 degrees.”
SkyNews‘s Claire Gregory described Cruise as “incredibly charismatic”, adding: “This is Tom Cruise at his megawatt A-lister best, reminding us all why he’s one of the world’s biggest movie stars – it’s hard to believe he was in his fifties while filming this.”
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In a four-star review for The TimesKevin Maher wrote: “No one, obviously, watches a top gun movie for the tears – although do bring that hankie – and the spectacle here has certainly gone stratospheric.
“With cameras inside cockpits and strapped to wings and nose cones, Kosinski has delivered a vertiginous pulse-quickening monster of movie. See it on the biggest screen possible. Then see it again.”
Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw was less enthusiastic, giving the film three stars. He wrote: “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 queuing 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.
“Cruise’s movie-star chops are still miraculous though, and he has a genuinely touching dialogue scene with Kilmer,” he added.
Top Gun: Maverick is out in cinemas from 27 May.