Top Gun is Top Flight

Tom Cruise does not disappoint in this thrilling follow-up to the original ’80s flick

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete Maverick Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

Grant Lyon, reporter

After Top Gun: Maverick was delayed by nearly two years due to the pandemic, when it finally released this summer, it did not disappoint.

The main character, Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (portrayed by Tom Cruise), is a test pilot for the U.S. Navy and the only man to shoot down three enemy aircraft in the last five years. However, his rogue attitude led to him finding a new life, one he loved that consisted of flying new planes and fixing old ones—all while serving as a test pilot on experimental military planes.

Maverick doesn’t take long to live up to his name when he breaks Mach 10 to become the fastest pilot alive only to push the jet too far and end up losing the entire aircraft before he bailed out too safety. He’s seen walking into a bar in a small town in the middle of nowhere and asks where he is. A little kid next to him said “Earth”. He still seems content with his situation, but that incident leads to everything changing in a hurry.

As a result of Maverick crashing the jet, he is nearly booted from the Navy once and for all before his old wing man, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (portrayed by Val kilmer), who calls him in to teach at Top Gun, the Navy’s elite fighter pilot training school. Maverick, who has a history with Top Gun, gets there and looks at the list of of students. It includes his old friend Goose’s son, Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (portrayed by Miles Teller).

While the rest of the movie plot is about a secret mission that Maverick is training Top Gun students to complete to destroy a nuclear enrichment facility in Iran, the heart of the story is about Maverick and Rooster both dealing with Goose’s death and how it affected both of them. Rooster thinks the reason his dad is dead is because of Maverick, while Maverick still has nightmares about it and wonders if he could’ve done something different to save him. Rooster is also upset because Maverick personally delayed him from fighter pilot school, not because he wasn’t good enough but because he didn’t want Goose’s wife to lose her son too and promised her to keep Rooster back.

The climax is classic Tom Cruise-level excitement that blends both white-knuckle tension and heart-warming bonding in an ending that will leave you on the edge of your seat several times before it reaches a satisfying conclusion.

If you haven’t seen Top Gun: Maverick yet, you’re in a minority as it became the fifth-highest grossing movie of all-time in the U.S. this summer—but it’d be well worth your time to find out just exactly why it was such a hit with moviegoers.