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Review: Top Gun Maverick

Top Gun Maverick

I know what you are thinking, Top Gun Maverick doesn’t have anything to do with hiking. You might be right, but there is some amazing scenery of some mountains so I figured I could do some creative writing gymnastics and make this blog work. Plus, my ego often writes checks that my body can’t cash, so lets try something new. This movie is pretty amazing! I had to tell someone so I figured I would put it out there for everyone! This will contain a few small spoilers that are mostly in the trailers.

Top Gun Maverick shows us that it is okay to keep fighting. It gives us inspiration. I saw myself in that movie. Not in a fighter jet but at a trailhead. Surrounded by younger, talented folks but still with the will to move forward up the hill. The hero that filled us with wonder, awe, and inspiration back in 1986 has returned to fly again and let us know it is ok for us to still be great. Although, most of us probably prefer the pace of a hiking trail than a fighter jet. Top Gun Maverick brings the hero story of Pete Mitchell to legend status.

Top Gun Maverick Trailer courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Back to the Future

As a child of the 80’s, Top Gun helped shape my youth. I was seven or eight when the movie came out. I remember crying when Goose died. (Oops, spoiler if you haven’t seen the 1986 version yet). I remember cheering during the final battle. While there is no video to prove or disprove this (thank the lord) I may have even done a lip sync to You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling at an elementary school talent show with a buddy. Top Gun was everything and I wore out the VHS (ask your parents.)

In this land of remakes and reboots I had hesitations of ruining a piece of my childhood. At the very least I knew the flying would be cool so I went. What I found was a story as well told or better than the original. While I am sure there were special CGI effects, I didn’t notice any. The flying felt incredibly real. You could feel every G-force that the actors felt. Every bank was jarring like you were in the suit. This wasn’t a green screen behind an actor in helmet movie. This was actors in cockpits feeling every turn. I found myself holding my breath, leaning to counter a turn, and reaching for an imaginary control stick. I wasn’t watching the cockpit, I was in the cockpit!

Top Gun Maverick training.

One side note that I thought was cool, and this is a bit of a spoiler, but shout out to the opening credits that included the late Don Simpson on the Simpson/Bruckheimer credit slate.

The Last Crusade

I honestly don’t watch a lot of Tom Cruise movies. Nothing against him, I just never got into the Mission Impossible stuff. Despite the gap in seeing him I instantly connected back to Maverick. He was the same but different. The cockiness of Pete Mitchell from 1986 was there but in more of a “I will because I have to” than “I will because I can”. There was a subtlety to his performance that a lot of kids of the 80’s will probably relate to.

Miles Teller played (small spoiler) an extremely nuanced role as the son of Goose. Combining his ambition to be the best and holding on to the hesitations of his past. He has a few moments and lines that brought me immediately to my families living room in 1986. His performance was top notch.

The rest of the cast have a balance between the arrogant fighter pilots of the first film and a more reverent approach to the task at hand. Watching their action scenes was what separated them. They all pushed the limits of their craft and came out on top.

Jennifer Connelly brought some needed light and I would have liked to see more of her, and there was a heartwarming cameo that I don’t want to give away.

Top Gun Maverick: Get to Know Maverick

Stand By Me

Top Gun Maverick succeeded where so many of the reboots and remakes have failed, it told a new chapter to the story. The younger crowd who never saw the first one will immediately enjoy the non-stop action. For those of us who were around for the first one there is something different.

I immediately felt connected to Maverick. Not because me and Tom Cruise have a lot in common. We do have a combined net worth of hundred of millions of dollars. Tom is internationally known and I get phone calls from many countries. He still has the build that he did in 1986 and I also still have a body. Not for those reasons. I connected because Maverick is someone who has to look back at his last 20 years and make a choice, keep going or step aside.

The writing never tries to tell the same story as in 1986 just with younger and new actors. Instead it takes you on the journey of Maverick, and of Pete Mitchell. It shows how the character has changed and how he now handles the conflicts in contrast to how his younger self would. This is where Tom Cruise really did an amazing job. Even though he hasn’t played Maverick for decades, he still made you believe that there were now 20 some years of wisdom behind his eyes. That is what kept that connection for me. He was talking to both me at 42 and me at 8 years old.

Top Gun Trailer Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Stand By Me

This was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. There were moments when I had tears in my eyes. Other moments my heart was in my throat. The action sequences are some of the most realistic and impressive I have ever seen. They even used actual F-18 jets to film the movie. The visuals are absolutely unbelievable.

The visuals never took full control of the movie though. The story continued to be the driving force. The story didn’t have to hide behind the effects or the action. It pulls at you and you will go through every emotion imaginable.

I highly suggest that everyone sees this movie but if you were a kid in the 80’s it should be required viewing. Just to see the hero return one more time and let us all know that it is still okay to be great.

More from The Fatman

If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy more of the posts on my Fatman’s Rambling page. They are more hiking in your 40’s style and less about movies. Blogs such as “Hiking Alone not Lonely Hiking“, “Winslow, Arizona” and “Screw it, I’m Trying” as well as many others may interest you there. If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover, feel free to email me at Or you can keep the conversation going by following me on any of the below social media platforms.

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