By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
I could sit through "Top Gun: Maverick"
at least two more times. Tom Cruise's long-awaited sequel to his 1986 hit movie "Top Gun" doesn’t disappoint and has summer blockbuster written all over it.
It wasn't just the spectacular nail-biting aerial sequences in "Top Gun: Maverick" that kept me fully engaged, but also the stellar cast that includes an excellent Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Jay Ellis, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Jennifer Connelly, Lewis Pullman, Bashir Salahuddin, Charles Parnell, and Greg "Tarzan" Davis. By the way, "Tarzan" Davis plays a hotshot pilot named Coyote.
recently interviewed Davis in Sacramento and he talked about what it was like working with the legendary Tom Cruise. REEL MOVIE TALK
When "Top Gun: Maverick" begins, we see Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Cruise) test piloting an aircraft and breaking all the rules by pushing it to reach Mach 10.2. When he touches down, Maverick gets an ear load from Rear Admiral Chester "Hammer" Cain, (Ed Harris, TV's "Westworld") who heads the Darkstar program.
The only thing that is keeping Maverick from being discharged from the Navy is his former rival, turned friend and four-star Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky who is the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Iceman has recommended Maverick train a group of elite, young pilots for a complicated and dangerous mission.
No commanding officer really wants to deal with the cocky Maverick especially Vice Admiral Beau "Cyclone" Simpson (Jon Hamm, TV's "Good Omens"). Still, you get the impression from Rear Admiral Solomon "Warlock" Bates, (Charles Parnell, TV’s "The Last Ship") the commander of Naval Education and Training, that he and everyone else knows Maverick is the right man for the job.
It is an emotional decision and quite a challenge for Maverick because one of the students, Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (an excellent Miles Teller, upcoming "Spiderhead") is the son of Maverick’s former co-pilot (Goose) who was killed in the original movie.
Naturally, there is a lot of tension.
Getting through to these recruits is more involved than Maverick anticipated, and things don’t go according to plan.
They become even more complicated when Maverick connects with an old acquaintance named Penelope "Penny" Benjamin (an excellent, Jennifer Connelly, TV’s “Snowpiercer” ) who is the daughter of a former Admiral, a single mom and owner of the local bar.
While I liked every breathtaking second of the high-flying action in "Top Gun: Maverick," I was equally impressed with the dramatic arc surrounding Cruise, Teller, and Jennifer Connelly.
Screenwriters Jim Cash (“Top Gun”), Jack Epps Jr. (“Top Gun”), and Peter Craig (“The Batman”) do a terrific job at blending the flashback images and making the story feel more grounded sincere. The scene with Cruise and Val Kilmer is just so powerful and well done. There is so much to read into it.
As for Tom Cruise, well, he looks absolutely amazing doing the majority of the film's daring stunts. "Top Gun: Maverick" is a big, high-flying blast of summer fun. Prepare to be impressed.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Trailer For "TOP GUN: MAVERICK"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.