I'll state right away that I am a fan of the original "Top Gun", I know it's great a movie but it's a part of my childhood and I look back on it with nostalgist fondness. I'll also say (as I have many times) that while I don't agree with a lot of stuff (and views) Tom Cruise has and the things he does, he is an excellent actor and someone I've watched in many, many movies. All this adds up to, of course, I was excited for Top Gun: Maverick! I never thought I'd get this movie (it's been 36 years!) and like everyone else the pandemic delayed it by almost another 2 years, so I made sure to see it opening weekend.
I love it when critics/trolls/haters are proven wrong as this movie sure as hell does that! I'll also do full disclosure, I was high when I saw this and I'm GLAD I was, it made the movie EVEN better for me and got me excited right off the start.
The movie begins just as it should, the theme is playing, it opens with fighters landing and taking off on an Aircraft Carrier and then we soon get some "Danger Zone" and I was smiling and in a great mood, ready for a fun/action/popcorn flick.
This is mostly what you get, a fun movie with plenty of action, Tom Cruise doing an amazing job (I'd say his best performance in 10+ years), and a really special cameo by Val Kilmer. There are some sad/serious moments and yes the volleyball scene is there but modernized into a co-ed game of beach football.
More importantly, the action scenes are AMAZING in this! You NEED to see this in IMAX to really enjoy this movie. This is a movie that knows what fans of the original wanted and they give it to them in spades. More importantly, it gives the general public something I felt they really wanted/needed a traditional fun/action/summer movie that helps you escape the world for a few hours. People forget that movies don't have to always address some serious social/environmental/political/sexual or another important topic, they can just be fun, have lots of action and leave you excited and smiling at the end. Everyone does a good job here and much respect is given to all the actors who really trained and got in actual fighter jets to do these scenes. The movie is a testament to what you can do with practical effects, while I love CGI it is great to see actual people doing the stunts in a movie. The fact that Tom Cruise does like 90% of his stunts in his 50s, is really amazing!
The two-hour runtime flew by for me. I was sad to see it end and could have watched more. That said this is an EXCELLENT ending to Top Gun, I wouldn't want another movie with Maverick he is a character I've always loved and the movie ends his storyline perfectly. Be prepared for a few tear-jerker scenes, especially those with Val Kilmer. I really loved this movie and would HIGHLY recommend it. I'm going to give it one of my highest ratings, 9 out of 10. While I don't think someone who hasn't seen the original (or grew up with it) will enjoy it quite as much as me, I still think anyone who enjoys action movies will love this. Please don't take children to see this, ages 13+ for some violence, language, and sexual situations. I had this movie built up in my mind and as I often find sequels almost never surpass the original, this one did it! It really is an amazing film and deserves to be the huge hit that it is, I hope we get some more great performances out of Cruise. This film shows that he still got it and he is one of the better actors around and a true movie star.