Samir Mehta: “It sucked.”

This review contains spoilers. Reveal it.

− June 12, 2022 • more by Samirlog in or create an account to reply

Erik Bates: Haven't seen this one yet, but I'm with you on the original. We watched it a couple weeks ago, and managed to get through the whole thing.

Actually, you know what? I'm inspired. − July 4, 2022 • more by Erik

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Erik Bates: “It ruled.”

Ok, so this was fun. I recently watched the original, and could barely make it through. It was so incredibly cringe-worthy. This was a much more fun and engaging movie. Not worth seeing it in the theater, but definitely worth a watch, and a potential re-watch.

− December 29, 2022 • more by Eriklog in or create an account to reply

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Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

My initial reaction to this apparent cash-grab of a sequel was similar to Samir's above: The aerial action scenes were entertaining and the technical craft of the film was impressive, but the story was generic and predictable, the characterization was ultra-thin for every character whose name was not in the title, and the dialogue was sparse and forgettable. I was shocked that this screenplay was nominated for an Oscar.

But I'm glad that I didn't review it right away, because over the next few days, my mind kept returning to it. I kept re-watching the best scenes on YouTube out of genuine desire to thrill at them again, and noticing new technical details each time, like how you can hear the clicking of the planes' control sticks as they're jerked around like arcade joysticks, and I appreciated how little details like that really make you feel like you're sharing tactile reality with the characters. I wished that I had seen this in a theater as it was intended to be seen, where I could better appreciate the feeling of immersion thanks to the cameras inside those tiny cockpits.

But most of all, I came to appreciate the spartan screenplay's conservative approach: It didn't say any more than it absolutely needed to say, didn't waste energy being verbose just to show off how clever it could be like Quentin Tarantino or Aaron Sorkin would have, didn't burden minor characters with unsatisfying subplots that would have made the film feel overstuffed. The filmmakers cast actors who understood the assignment: Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly might say only ten complete sentences to each other (I didn't count), but they're able to project a lifetime of mixed feelings about one another and pull off intense personal chemistry in very limited time, and the supporting cast do a lot with even less screen time and dialogue. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that perfection in a work of art is attained not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away, and Top Gun: Maverick has more in common with classic films that understood the virtue of simplicity in ways that modern films have forgotten. Many of the most beloved films in cinema history have a similar directness of purpose in their storytelling; since Cruise's Mission: Impossible films have been mocked for over-complicated plots that needlessly double back on themselves, I don't blame him for getting to the point here.

This is a satisfying entertainment that earned its broad popularity honestly, by doing what it needed to do extremely effectively and not trying to show off outside of its stunning aerial scenes. Whether it has artistic value is debatable; whether it's very good at what it's trying to be is not, I think.

− August 25, 2023 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

Samir Mehta: Ultimately, I wonder if the gap for me was this - I find airshows pretty dull too. And this felt like a filmed air show. − February 12, 2024 • more by Samir

Scott Hardie: That makes sense. Air shows have limited appeal for me too. But this was no mere air show; the cameras inside the cockpits were one key difference. If I could see the strain on the pilots faces, feel their exuberance in pulling off aerial maneuvers, and follow their (admittedly simple) story from the ground to the air, I'd be a lot more invested. Hmm, maybe tiny cameras inside football helmets will finally get me into the NFL. − February 15, 2024 • more by Scott

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Evie Totty: “It ruled.”

Whoa, did I not review this?
Despite my not wanting to support Scientology, I went and saw this twice opening weekend last year. The second time was in baby IMAX (regular theater converted to IMAX)

And despite me wanting to hate it, I loved it. Was there some suspension of disbelief at work here? Absolutely.

Nearly the whole movie required it. But the moments weren't so much of a stretch.

And in retrospect, after a year and 3m - I realize the worshipping at the alter of Maverick was in full force, but that was part of the suspension I guess.

But the main draw of the film was the planes themselves and what they could do. I had wanted to be a military pilot when I was a kid, but knew I had these things blocking that path:..

• Horrific astigmatism
• Height: 5'3"
• Gender: I graduated hs in 1987 and despite getting the highest ASVAB score of my class, the report came back with "Clerical". I will say the nuclear sub program sent me a ton of letters that I ignored, which leads me to:
• Problem with authority: I simply thought I was smarter than almost all my teachers and definitely smarter than my managers at McDonald's. (I have since matured.)

I do wish I'd done the sub thing... Oh well.

Anyway, the power of the planes sucked me in, I'm ngl.

It was cool how they brought Val Kilmer back. And to my horror - I realized, as an adult, that Iceman was not the bad guy at all. With the Navy recognizing it accordingly.

I wonder if I'll watch this 20 - 30 years from now and realize that Mav didn't really learn his lesson in TG1 at all and kept doing what he wanted over the years. (A suspension was not going "Why hasn't he been kicked out a long time ago?)

The film fed heavily on nostalgia for sure and that was nice - I was torn about the lack of six packs in the football game tho... (ashamed)

And there you have it - my rambling about this movie.

− August 25, 2023 • more by Evielog in or create an account to reply

Scott Hardie: This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − September 6, 2023 • more by Scott

Evie Totty: Re height for pilots: I just looked it up and it is 5'4" to 6'5".

I'm 5'3".

Gosh, I hope they don't do a sequel! − September 8, 2023 • more by Evie

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