With the amount of hype that Top Gun: Maverick (2022) received last year and given that I am indeed a movie reviewing blog, you’ll probably be surprised to hear that no, I have not yet watched the film. You may be even more shocked to hear that I just watched Top Gun for the very first time just a couple days ago. Rest easy though because Top Gun: Maverick is up next! Starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, and Tom Skerritt, Top Gun is an action drama cult fan favourite. Despite the film’s strange romantic subplot and random shirtless add ins, I can’t deny that the action sequences were both exhilarating and captivating to watch.

Goose and Maverick in Top Gun class

In terms of quality for the acting and writing of Top Gun, I wouldn’t necessarily say it was amazing. While Cruise certainly has that “star quality” that helps him shine as a protagonist, I wouldn’t call his acting in this film top notch. In a way, Cruise is once again playing his usual typecast character – someone arrogant and cocky. But underneath all the extra fluff that was thrown his character’s way, I did find myself rooting for Maverick and wanted to see him develop into a team player.

Thinking back on the film, it’s kind of funny because I’ve realized that Top Gun consists of maybe 50% unnecessarily cheesy content and 50% actual plot. Random shirtless volleyball scene on the beach? Shirtless locker room shots? A poorly written romantic relationship with an instructor? I can’t say any of those added much meaningful value to the film. I was far more interested in the more serious aspects of the plot that led to actual development.

Maverick and Instructor Charlie

To be honest, because I have little knowledge about the air force or what it takes to be a naval aviator, I did find it a little difficult at times to keep up with all the lingo and terms being used. Sometimes it was bit hard to understand what was going on, but in a way, I did appreciate how it made Top Gun feel strangely more authentic and real.

But what I’m sure people love so much about this film, and why Top Gun: Maverick was received as well as it was, is because the aerial sequences are truly spectacular to watch. There are some really really cool shots throughout this film and I loved how it got up close and personal to the pilot’s face when they were in the aircraft so we could really see their emotions shine through. My favourite moments from Top Gun all happen while they’re in the air and I think the film manages to capture the intensity of combat pretty well. If anything, I’m even more excited to see how amazing the combat scenes in Top Gun: Maverick will be given how old this film is and how it still looked fantastic. I’ll admit I struggled at times to piece together who was who and what was going on because some shots looked a bit jumbled, but that didn’t take away from the suspense or adrenaline I was feeling.

Iceman and Maverick congratulate each other

I’m quite happy to say that I’ve now finally watched Top Gun which is a beloved film to many. While the aerial scenes met my expectations and were thrilling to watch, I am surprised by how, dare I say, gimmicky the rest of the story felt. Aside from a couple key moments such as Goose’s death, a lot of the film seemed to lack substance. There were far too many shirtless scenes and not enough personal growth being shown on screen. While I’d still say I had an overall enjoyable experience watching Top Gun for the first time, boy, was it not exactly what I expected. Given these reasons, I’ve decided my final rating for Top Gun is 6/10. The film definitely isn’t bad, but it’s not as great as I hoped it to be. Still, I’m extremely excited for Top Gun: Maverick, and I can’t wait to see how the sequel will compare to the original in this day and age.