Top Gun is back, and all is right in the world. Well, maybe not all. Maverick still has problems, as he did three decades ago, and people like Iceman still want to see him crash and burn. But for moviegoers who cherish the 1986 original that introduced Tom Cruise as Maverick and Kenny Loggins as badass, the good news is that writer-director Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick is a formidable sequel, roaring into theaters with 140 decibels of delight.
If fans are hesitant to accept another Top Gun movie with open arms, it’s to be expected. It’s hard to imagine this being anything more than an attempt to profit off our love for Tony Scott’s original, or our affection for Maverick, Goose and Iceman. But there’s plenty of new stuff here–new characters, new locations–that mesh perfectly with the OG’s mixture of steamy dialogue, epic action sequences and shirtless pilots who seem less suited for the Navy than they are for a Calvin Klein ad.
It’s been 36 years since Jerry Bruckheimer made his mark as a blockbuster producer with the first film, and his crowd-pleasing sensibilities are on display here. Bruckheimer’s resume includes two other sequels, Bad Boys 2 and National Treasure 2 (his more recent projects were stand-alone entries) and his skill with follow-up films is evident. Though most sequels focus on the past without exhuming the present, Maverick manages to do both.