Top Gun: Maverick is unquestionably one of the most exhilarating cinematic experiences not just this year but in recent memory. What Tom Cruise and director Joseph Kosiniski created in the visual prowess of the flight sequences in the film are, to say the least, jaw-dropping. So does it hold up on the home viewing format?
When Maverick (Cruise) is assigned back to Top Gun to train a group of young pilots for a deadly mission he must confront the ghosts of his past in the form of his former co-pilot Goose’s son Rooster (Miles Teller). As it becomes clear this is a suicide misssion Maverick has to decide where his loyalties lie, to the mission or to his determination to put his comrades first.
For all the original Top Gun’s brilliance it is nonetheless a flawed film. More often than not while the aerial footage is impressive for its era it’s clear the actors are rarely, if ever, in the fighter jets themselves. The same is not true of Top Gun: Maverick. In the envelope-pushing hands of Mr. Cruise it’s a surprise he didn’t send himself and his fellow castmates into actual aerial battle. Instead he seems to have compromised and simply put them all in actual fighter jets to bring a level of authenticity rarely if ever seen since the advent of computer generated effects if not before.
Maverick is a blistering ride of a film. Sure, some of the ‘wow’ factor is slightly lost without a darkened cinema, booming surround sound and a screen big enough to make you feel as if you’re in the pilot’s seat yourself but thankfully the story and thrills remain true. To be clear, this is not a cerebral film, this is not a film designed to challenge you in any way shape or form. This is a film that asks you to strap in, sit back and enjoy the ride. And in an age where ‘the ride’ often feels like a video game featuring your favourite celebrities this isn’t just a step up, it’s in a different league.
Because now matter how hard you try and guess what is real and what is computer generated it’s near impossible. Every action scene is breathless, every dog-fight head-spinning and every missile or flare launch eye-popping.
But what should also be flagged is Maverick is not just a thrilling experience, it hooks you in just as much on plot and character. So much so that come the grand finale your nerves are shredded as to who might live and who might go the way of Goose. Is it broad and brash, yes, do you care if you’re having this much fun? NO!
Top Gun: Maverick is a pure joy of a film, as close to a cockpit as most of us would want to get and with enough emotional investment to fuel the afterburners from start to finish.
Top Gun: Maverick is available now to Download & Keep and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD.