It’s been 36 years since "Top Gun" first flew into movie theaters in May 1986, and fans of the film have been waiting ever since then for Hollywood to produce a follow-up to it. Fortunately, that wait is nearly over, with "Top Gun: Maverick" set to hit theaters this May. The sequel, which has been delayed multiple times, will pick back up with Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) several decades after the events of the first "Top Gun." It’ll follow Cruise’s hotshot test pilot as he is forced to train a group of recent Top Gun graduates for a special mission.
Among the group of graduates is Lieutenant Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of the late Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards), Maverick’s best friend and Radar Intercept Officer from the first "Top Gun." In addition to Cruise, Val Kilmer is also set to reprise his "Top Gun" role as Tom "Iceman" Kazansky in "Maverick." The new sequel was not, however, directed by "Top Gun" director Tony Scott, who passed away in 2012. Instead, "Tron: Legacy" and "Oblivion" director Joseph Kosinski was brought on to helm the long-awaited "Top Gun" sequel.
Now, with less than a month to go until "Top Gun: Maverick" finally hits theaters, the first reactions to the film are starting to emerge online.
Critics are praising Top Gun: Maverick’s action sequences
Ahead of the film’s late May theatrical release, several critics were shown an early screening of "Top Gun: Maverick" at this year’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas, NV.
While "Top Gun" fans should likely expect to see more reactions to the film hit social media in the coming weeks — especially after its screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival — it looks like the initial responses to "Maverick" have all been overwhelmingly positive so far. In fact, many of the critics who were lucky enough to catch the film’s CinemaCon screening are going out of their way to praise its action sequences. /Film editor Ben Pearson, for instance, tweeted that "Maverick" has "absolutely killer air action. It’s exactly what fans will want."
Elsewhere, Shaurya Chawla tweeted, "’Top Gun: Maverick’ is a lot of fun, loaded to the brim with some jaw-dropping flight sequences (Tom Cruise is really a madman for some of this)," while Germain Lussier wrote, "I’m a huge ‘Top Gun’ fan. But I think even if I wasn’t, I would have LOVED ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’ The action is intense & gorgeous." Collider editor Steven Weintraub also tweeted, "Absolutely loved #TopGunMaverick. Blown away by the cinematography and flying scenes."
Of course, anyone who has been paying attention to Tom Cruise’s career over the past few years probably won’t be surprised to hear that the action sequences in "Top Gun: Maverick" are impressive. In recent years, the actor has continued to truly push the envelope with what can be accomplished and performed on-screen, and all of the early trailers for "Top Gun: Maverick" have gone out of their way to spotlight the film’s practical flight sequences.
That said, it’s not just the action scenes in "Top Gun: Maverick" that seem to have landed well with critics.
Critics are calling Top Gun: Maverick a surprisingly emotional sequel
In addition to the widespread praise that’s being directed toward the film’s action sequences, "Top Gun: Maverick" is also receiving early acclaim for its story and the performances given by several of its cast members.
After leaving the official CinemaCon screening of the film, Erik Davis tweeted, "I was not prepared for how emotional it was," while Jeff Sneider wrote, "’Top Gun: Maverick’ is the perfect blockbuster. Not only did it feature dazzling aerial combat sequences, but I actually cried, it’s that emotional." Drew Taylor even went so far as to write that "#TopGunMaverick is a profound cinematic experience and easily the best film of the year."
For their part, Deadline’s Pete Hammond also noted that "Tom Cruise [gives] a movie star performance for the ages … this soars and [is] so worth the long wait." Steven Weintraub, meanwhile, finished their reaction by writing, "This is the kind of movie you want to see on the biggest screen possible."
In other words, it sounds like "Top Gun: Maverick" really is the complete package. Assuming the overwhelming positivity present in these early reactions ends up being indicative of what the overall response is to the film, it looks there’s a real chance "Maverick" may very well manage to do what few sequels can and exceed the expectations of all the "Top Gun" fans out there who are already planning on seeing it.
The good news is that those fans don’t have to wait much longer to find out whether or not "Top Gun: Maverick" truly is the sequel they’ve been waiting to see for over three decades. The film is currently set to hit theaters in the United States on Friday, May 27.