So, finally saw Top Gun: Maverick yesterday. The original holds a dear place in my heart - it was a part of a growing up ritual, when we had a small sleepover party in a friend's place with no parents home, and we could watch the movie from a big screen since they had a video projector and a sound system. I recently rewatched the original with my kid who's 13, and with a few more years under the belt I realized how incredibly well made the movie is. It's not high art, but it is absolutely beautifully shot and lighted. Many of the scenes in it are iconic, and for good reason.
So Top Gun: Maverick had some very, very big shoes to fill. It succeeds in some and fails in some. It's very much a sequel in writing and style. I don't know if it's better or worse, but it is the sequel that the original Top Gun should have. Aerial shots are as gorgeous as ever, plot holes are wide enough to ride an F14 through, characters are thin - but this is all what we would expect. Where this movie trails the original is the cinematography and shooting. It beautifully replicates some shots from the old movie (and the beginning is absolutely a blast to watch, music and all), but doesn't quite elsewhere live up to the same level of iconic imagery. But it does make it up on the flight imagery, of which there is a lot, and it's a beautiful mix of real-life extreme flying and CGI.
I was not at all unsatisfied watching this movie in an IMAX theatre. It's a movie that was worth making, and worth watching, if you were into the original.
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