(CNN)Nimbly mixing nostalgia and full-throttle action, "Top Gun: Maverick" soars higher than it has immoderate close to, constructing a mostly terrific sequel 36 years aboriginal (including a Covid merchandise delay), utilizing a bully but not large movie arsenic its jumping-off point. That mightiness not beryllium capable to instrumentality your enactment away, but arsenic brawny summertime amusement goes, it comes shockingly close.
The archetypal featured Tom Cruise connected the aboriginal cusp of his movie stardom, but helium demonstrates that adjacent arsenic an older feline there's inactive plentifulness near successful the tank. If you needed bookends for astir 4 decades of roles, you could bash a full batch worse than this.
Older but not needfully wiser describes Cruise's Pete Mitchell, a.k.a. Maverick, the daredevil Navy aviator whose vocation hasn't matched his high-flying skills, mostly due to the fact that helium has a atrocious wont of sidestepping orders and flouting authority.
"I'm wherever I belong," Maverick says, erstwhile asked wherefore he's inactive a skipper aft each these years, pursuing an instauration to the Kenny Loggins opus "Danger Zone," conscionable to reset the mood.
On the verge of paying the terms for that, he's fixed the proverbial past chance, called backmost to Top Gun to bid pilots for a top-secret mission, among them Rooster (Miles Teller), the lad of the spouse that Mav famously mislaid successful the archetypal movie.
There's much to it than that, including an accidental to reconnect with aged person Iceman (Val Kilmer, whose off-screen wellness issues are nicely woven into the story); butting heads with the commanding serviceman (Jon Hamm); and an aged occurrence (Jennifer Connelly). And yes, the movie replicates the competitory jockeying among these hard-charging pilots, though the ranks person been expanded to impact much radical of colour and a pistillate (Monica Barbaro) who tin much than clasp her own.
Cruise reunites with "Oblivion" manager Joseph Kosinski, moving from a publication credited to a trio of writers, among them the star's predominant collaborator Christopher McQuarrie. Somehow, the movie manages to putty successful the intervening decades connected the, um, fly, coating a representation of a feline whose "need for speed" has some propelled him guardant and held him back, particularly successful presumption of committedness and rootlessness.
Even the seemingly bushed crippled of Maverick carrying astir guilt implicit Goose each these years, and fretting astir adding his kid to that wreckage, works unexpectedly well. Part of that has to bash with the movie's affectional moorings, which are sentimental without becoming syrupy. (A dedication to the precocious Tony Scott, who directed the original, is different bully touch.)
Still, it's called "Top Gun" for a reason, and the aerial sequences are visceral and effective, conveying the adrenaline unreserved and carnal toll of hurtling done the entity arsenic good arsenic the mentality required to eagerly brave those risks.
Somehow, "Maverick" manages to recycle those second beats -- with an exceptionally good formed people of caller pilots -- and inactive consciousness contemporary, each portion approximating the old-fashioned virtues of the benignant of movies that flourished successful the '80s but person recovered the theatrical skies considerably little affable successful caller years.
Paramount waited a agelong clip successful bid to motorboat "Top Gun" successful theaters, and that stake seems apt to wage off. Because portion you could ticker Maverick's heroics successful the comfortableness of home, similar the antheral said, the large surface is wherever helium belongs.
"Top Gun: Maverick" premieres May 27 successful US theaters. It's rated PG-13.