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‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is a military movie miracle

Let’s review and post that. Moviegoers had every reason to expect that a “Top Gun” sequel more than three decades after the original film’s release would be one of those legendary disasters. Too much time had passed and the world had changed too much for a movie about Navy airmen to match the images of superheroes that now dominate popular culture.

The team behind “Top Gun: Maverick” has defied all expectations to deliver one of the best popcorn movie experiences in years. Sure, the Navy is going to love this one, but “Maverick” is a movie for anyone who enjoys a two-hour experience that doesn’t require intimate knowledge of 100 other movies and shows in a “universe” and doesn’t spend half its runtime setting up the next 100 sequels.

There are two movies running in parallel here. The first is a moving story for adults about the cost of pursuing a career at the expense of personal relationships and whether it’s still possible to change enough to undo the damage. The second is a war movie with a team of arrogant airmen who must learn to band together to complete a nearly impossible mission under the direction of an arrogant airman who must learn to teach them what he knows.

These side stories could make “Top Gun: Maverick” a huge hit. No one is going to convince the world that “John Wick” movies are great date movies, but “TGM” delivers just as much action alongside a surprisingly effective love story between Maverick and “the daughter of Admiral”, Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly).

Related: How to prepare to see ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Director Joseph Kosinski and producers Tom Cruise and Jerry Bruckheimer pulled off an incredible production, convincing the Navy to give them all the access they needed and Paramount Pictures to give them the time and money to develop new systems. cameras that would allow the film to film the actors. in flight during the action scenes.

On first viewing, I was caught up in the limited but effective story and callbacks of the original film and thought the superhuman effort that went into filming the elaborate flight scenes wasn’t entirely necessary. On second viewing, the incredible technical prowess was undeniable as I wondered what was going to happen next.

There are CGI artists who have spent decades developing technology that allows filmmakers to place actors in tight spaces and dangerous situations without risking death or injury. The force of nature that is Tom Cruise convinced the Navy and Paramount to let him take some crazy risks on this movie, and we’re treated to the kind of aerial action sequences we’ll never see again.

Sure, there’s digital effects to complement the scenes, but the actors really pull G’s in the action sequences, and there’s no way mere acting could have made the faces that the actual gravity forces have done for the performers in these scenes.

At the start of the film, Maverick is still in the Navy, and he is still a test pilot working on a program to develop the Navy’s next-generation stealth fighter called the Darkstar. Unfortunately, Radm. Chester “Hammer” Cain (Ed Harris), aka “the drone ranger”, thinks the pilots are dinosaurs and plans to shut down the program, but not before Mav performs one last test on the plane and reaches Mach 10.

That should be all for Maverick, but Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky is the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and needs his former wingman to help prepare young Top Gun graduates for a mission to destroy a factory. nuclear enrichment plant being built by a rogue. State.

There is baggage. Maverick tried (and failed) to do whatever it took to help the late RIO Goose’s son, Rooster (Miles Teller), and now Rooster is one of the Airmen on the team tasked with destroying the nuclear facility. enemy.

There are standout performances from the rest of the young airmen, led by Glen Powell as Hangman, the cocky but brilliant airman who gets inside Rooster’s head. Monica Barbaro (Phoenix), Jay Ellis (Payback), Danny Ramirez (Fanboy), Lewis Pullman (Bob) and Greg Tarzan Davis (Coyote) complete the cream of the young flight team.

Maverick knows the mission can’t be accomplished with the latest generation fighter jets, so he retrains the team on the F-18 so they can potentially thread the needle and evade surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) enemies as they attempt their mission.

Some viewers may be frustrated that the rogue state never gets a name. We just know that the United States has identified this country as a threat if it obtains nuclear capabilities. If you had your money on China or Russia as the enemy here, you’ll have to pass that up to enjoy the movie.

“Top Gun: Maverick” is designed to be enjoyed with an entire crowd in a movie theater. If you have access to Dolby Cinema or IMAX screening, shell out the extra cash to get the full audio-visual experience. “Maverick” is one of those rare movies that understands and takes full advantage of the latest theater updates.

Will “Top Gun: Maverick” be the same kind of cultural phenomenon that the first movie became in 1986? Probably not, but it’s actually a better movie with more emotional depth and far more impressive action sequences than what we saw in “Top Gun.”

Paramount took some heat when it decided to wait out the pandemic to give theaters a chance to recover before releasing “Top Gun: Maverick.” The ‘Fast & Furious’ sequel ‘F9’ and the James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’ were relative disappointments when they finally hit theaters, but ‘Maverick’ is a much better movie in every way. . If you’ve been waiting to go back to the movies, this is the movie that should bring you back. Don’t miss it.

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