Straight off the bat, this movie is refreshing. It doesn’t preach, it doesn’t lecture, it’s not a CGI fest.
Top Gun: Maverick is, simply put, a feel good film (yeah, I’m pretentious like that, I have a film and a movie category for these things), a solid story, characters that feel natural and not shoved down my throat in order to meet some quotas , and it’s loaded with practical effects – which, I believe, come with a double reward, because they not only look good (you can’t CGI does G forces and reactions), they look real, human – if you will – but you also get that sense of satisfaction knowing that people worked hard on making all those stunning action scenes stand out. Sometimes the attempt, regardless if IT meets or not the standards of „reality” in it’s final outcome, is equally as important.
It’s not a pretentious film, it just wants you to leave the theater after the final credits roll with a feeling that yea, why not, maybe I’ll be able do to 200 push ups one day. But not today. Start easy, with five, or something like that and work your way through.
Oh, and you’re damn right I clapped and cheered at the intro of the film. And at the other references to the 1986 installment that were sprinkled around. They didn’t come off as lazy writing or gimmicks meant to play with your nostalgia, they simply worked from a story and character perspective.
If you haven’t seen the first Top Gun, I think you’ll get an even bigger kick out of Top Gun: Maverick if you watch or re-watch that one first. But even so, this film has it’s own two feet to stand on, and even if you won’t get the references, you’ll still have a good time and won’t feel like they threw all the good stuff in the trailers and tricked you into buying a ticket.