After 36 Years, Top Gun: Maverick Is Set to Inspire Once Again

This week, one of the most anticipated movies of the last three years will finally hit theatres. Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the first movie released 36 years ago, was set to debut in 2019, but after the pandemic hit, plans changed. Now, Tom Cruise’s upcoming action flick, which received a five-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, is ready to take flight — and critics love it.

One of those critics is me. I was lucky enough to watch the movie a few weeks ago, and the truth is, I didn’t know what to expect. I, like many others, love the first movie, but we all know Hollywood doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to sequels. However, Top Gun: Maverick is sure to keep fans on their toes, and for all the right reasons. 

It’s been a long time coming, but Cruise and his fellow Top Gun actors nailed not only their performances but the storyline, making sure it appeals to all generations. Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Monica Barbaro, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm, and Jay Ellis add to the stellar cast. 

Top Gun made waves in the ‘80s, and is one of Cruise’s most recognisable roles — and that’s saying something, considering most of his films are guaranteed blockbusters. The pressure to get this sequel right was enormous, not just for the original members of the film such as Val Kilmer, but also for those just entering the franchise. 

“It didn’t scare me, but I quickly realised the responsibility of stepping into this world and what it means to people,” Ellis, who plays Payback, told The Latch. “I grew up in the airforce and so I got to see it first hand, and see how this movie influenced aviation as a whole. So for me, this respect and this responsibility of making sure the pilots who do this day in and day out, are represented well.”

Cruise is a known perfectionist. His eye for detail and his attitude around filmmaking is second to none. The Hollywood heavyweight performs his own stunts and makes sure everything is in order while filming, and Top Gun: Maverick was no different. His efforts along with his teams is evident throughout the movie and you can really see how much people poured their heart and soul into this project. 

“Working with Tom is amazing, it’s mind-blowing. You see him, and you meet him for the first time, and you’re like, ‘oh my God, that’s Tom Cruise, am I dreaming?’ and then you start working with him every day and you realise just how much he loves it. He loves making movies,” said Ellis.

Paramount Pictures

“One of the most amazing about working with Tom is seeing how much he’s constantly thinking about the audience. Every single person matters to him, so you then take that on and you start to realise how important this is.”

Cruise wasn’t the only one doing his own stunts. Instead of using modern-day technology to film flight scenes, the cast was required to go through vigorous training and fly the planes themselves. Yes, they delivered their lines and acted out their parts, all while flying F18s.

“We started flight training a couple months before we started shooting. We probably did six months in total, around 45-48 hours before getting into the F18s. While we were doing that, we were also working out with the Olympics open water swim coach, who was preparing us for this big swim test that we had to take — that’s not even in the movie — but is a requirement to be able to get in an F18. That was one of the most intense things any of us have done,” admitted Ellis.

Top Gun: Maverick is set to inspire and reach a new legion of movie buffs, all while giving the original fans exactly what they’ve been waiting for. It’s action-packed and emotional and will certainly be discussed for years to come. 

Top Gun: Maverick hits HOYTS cinemas nationwide on May 26, 2022.

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