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You get a pretty high entertainment value for your buck in this unabashed crowd-pleaser, especially in the astutely executed aerial fights.

Like so many sequels to childhood favourites Top Gun: Maverick is fuelled in large part by nostalgia. Despite a prologue that hints at drones gradually phasing out the need for human pilots the picture never follows through on that theme, as it rehashes the ingredients that made the original such a popular eighties staple.

Cue a new batch of cocky cream-of-the-crop pilots who - accompanied by a string of power ballads, both old and new - take to the skies in preparation for a dangerous mission that might cost them their lives. The twist here is that their instructor is Tom Cruise's Maverick, as brashly anti-establishment as he was in 1986, and that one of the new pilot's is the son of Goose, whose death still haunts Maverick.

It all makes for predictably patriotic, testosterone-filled hijinks but you do get a pretty high entertainment value for your buck, especially in the hardly revelatory but astutely executed aerial fights in a crowd-pleasing final act.

So did we really need Top Gun: Maverick? No. But did those two hours in the dark fly by? They sure did.

release: 2022

director: Joseph Kosinski

starring: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer


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