Well, the simple answer to that would be a resounding YES!!!!!
After a wait of 34 years, the highly anticipated sequel to the 80’s classic TopGun finally reached the cinemas. I decided to return to the same theatre where I watched the original in May 1986, at the time I had just applied to the South African Airforce and was awaiting a reply. Sadly, I didn’t crack the nod, but aviation had already infested my very being and watching TopGun made me determined to be involved in this beautiful industry one day.
But I digress.....
The original TopGun was ripped to pieces by some aviation critics claiming that many of the scenes were at best highly unlikely and at worst totally impossible. But who cares, it was and will always remain a brilliant movie that inspired an entire generation of aviators. The movie had such an impact that the US Navy set up recruitment tables at the exits to chat with enthusiastic young people as they left the cinema, the original movie still to this day remains the greatest recruitment tool the Navy ever had.
Tom Cruise became a household name after that and most people I know will always remember him as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell long before any of the other roles he has played. TopGun Maverick I believe not only did the original proud but totally surpassed it in all departments. The storyline is amazing, referencing the original but not depending on it completely, a person that for some inexplicable insane reason had never seen the original will still enjoy Maverick for what it is and not be left with a feeling of not totally understanding what was going on. Just a quick heads up, the multiple trailers for Maverick masterfully used the art of misdirection to create the belief of certain outcomes that do not play out as expected.
From a technical perspective, the realism in Maverick is mind-blowing, the experience one feels while watching this masterpiece has never been reached before and I doubt it will any time soon. All the flying scenes were “real” except for the minor detail that the actors were not in control of the aircraft themselves the intensity of the flying can be felt by the audience. I may be in a fortunate position of having experienced high ‘G’ aerobatics flights before, so I have something to reference when seeing the face of the actors being contorted by gravity. I’ve watched the cometary of a few real-life Top Gun graduates, and according to them every flying manoeuvre shown in the movie they have done in an F18 Super Hornet, maybe not in such close formation but nevertheless all manoeuvres are possible and have been performed in a real aircraft.
TopGun Maverick, in my opinion, is the greatest aviation movie ever made, I realise that is a bold claim, but I just can't think of any other movie that has captured the reality of flying a fighter jet anywhere close to this. I will advise anyone planning on watching this brilliant piece of cinematography to take the time to watch the original again before going, there are certain innuendos that pop up that will make way more sense if one is well versed in the goings-on of the characters 30 years before.
Finally, if you haven’t booked your tickets or seen Maverick yet- Why not? I am sure that no one will walk out of the theatre in any way disappointed. If Tom Cruise and his team were not hailed as cinematography genuinenesses before this movie, I’m sure they have proved it to be true now.