Dir: Joseph Kosinski. Actors: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer. 12A, 131 minutes.

Top Guns, released in 1986, is possibly the most effective and cunning recruitment ad ever made. Bolstered by Harold Faltermeyer’s stunning grades and a lifetime supply of top-notch feats, Tony Scott’s fighter pilot feverish dream embodies an unethical, apolitical ideal of Navy life. Nameless enemy. War is barely defined. Here, a real brotherhood can be built on nothing more than copper balls and good vibes. And a man can sit in the cockpit and feel as if he can climb over where Icarus fell. According to the actual United States Navy, Top Guns resulted in their hiring rate increasing by 500% in the year following release.

One day, it will be necessary to calculate exactly what these films do and to whom they benefit. But, for now, there is another truth that is hard to change: late follow-up Top gun: Maverick as thrilling as the blockbuster movies. It’s the kind of spectacular on the edge of your seat that can bring together a room full of strangers sitting in the dark and bring tears to their eyes.

The movie is a true legacy sequel. According to the tradition of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is a carefully recreated copy of its predecessor, used not only to reflect changing tastes and attitudes, but also star Tom Cruise’s ascent to a degree of fame. beyond myth. Do we still think of Cruise today as a man or as an idea?

In MaverickIn the opening scenes, we reunite with his character Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, now the head of the test program for the supersonic, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. He’s about to be shut down, his pilots replaced with drones. The only way he can save the day is if he can hit 10 times the speed of sound on his next test run. Anyone who knows the old Maverick will not only predict whether he will make it through, but also whether he will decide to push things a little too far. After landing, he strode into some rustic-looking diner, covered in ash from head to toe. The most sassy kid you’ll ever see is looking up at him in awe (your bets now on whether he’ll join the navy when he grows up).

But people change, and this Maverick is a man haunted by his past. The military may have blamed him, but he will never be shaken by the feeling that his own bravery caused the death of his best friend Goose during a training exercise. periodic practice. In Top Guns, it humbles him. Here, his feelings are less obvious and all the more interesting to it. He was so eager to put himself in harm’s way that it almost felt like a wish to die. He also protects Goose’s son, Bradley, aka the Rooster (Miles Teller). Maverick tried to block his way into flight school. Sister Dau bitterly resented him for that. When Maverick is called in to train new recruits in the navy, what looks like a mission impossible on paper – hinted, there’s a generous Ethan Hunt character in the film – their relationship becomes even more strained. more straight.

Due to practical limitations of time, Top GunsThe dog fights are strong at first but always a bit hard to follow. Here, they are the real bones of the movie – in a spectacular way and based on the increasingly rare pleasure of tangible things. Cruise and his co-stars sat in the actual cockpit. The aerial stunts are (mostly, at least) real. It’s a real feat for director Joseph Kosinski to pull off something so ambitious without this effort. He’s also worked on language and tone on Cruise’s recent collaborations with Christopher McQuarrie (screenwriter of the series). Edge of Tomorrow and the last two Missions: Impossibles) that Maverick acted as much as the movie Top Gun as well as the movie Cruise. And, as might be expected by now, the star attacks the film with such dedication that it completely outshines every element around him.

Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

(Paramount Pictures / AP)

Luckily, that does a pretty good job of hiding it Top gun: Maverick structured as Top Guns. Entire scenes – including “Highway to Danger” – which opens with a sonic boom as the jet takes off – were removed from the original film. The rookies are almost reimagined versions of old characters: we have a new Iceman in Glen Powell’s The Hangman (he found the right level for the role), while Phuong Monica Barbaro’s queen is like Kelly McGillis’ Charlie before her, a woman on the grounds with any line. This time, at least, she gets to be one of the pilots. Rooster doesn’t really look like his dad, but he dresses like he does – right down to his sunglasses and unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt.

But Top Gun: Maverick not really packed with the kind of frantic nostalgia we’re used to these days. It’s smarter, more refined, and completely more human. Kosinski allows space for Val Kilmer’s Iceman, whose confrontational relationship with Maverick is integral to the original, to be celebrated, without which the film brutally disparages Kilmer’s loss of voice due to cancer. letters.

Unfortunately, the film does not extend its loving arms to the women of Top Guns — neither McGillis nor Meg Ryan, who played the Rooster’s mother, are returning. Maverick, instead, has a new love interest in the form of Penny by Jennifer Connelly, the daughter of the admiral aptly mentioned in the first film, now a bar owner and single mother Dear. Once again, there comes a time when we need to talk about why Hollywood only accepts older women with good looks. Until then, who could be responsible for getting swept up in this damn fun movie?

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ hits theaters on May 25

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