News

Top Gun: Maverick First Reviews: The Most Thrilling Blockbuster We've Gotten in Years

Critics say the long-awaited sequel is a must-see on the big screen and not only potentially better than the original, but also one of the best Tom Cruise movies ever.

by | May 12, 2022 | Comments

Tom Cruise returns to the cockpit in Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited follow-up to the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. And if you’re not already feeling the need for speed — again — then you might want to reconsider, because the first reviews for this legacy sequel are clear of the danger zone. In fact, many are even calling it a better movie than the original, and maybe even one of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time.

Here’s what critics are saying about Top Gun: Maverick:


Will Top Gun fans be happy?

On the whole, this is a thrilling sequel which is bound to delight fans of the first film. – Linda Marric, The Jewish Chronicle

It’s a follow-up that will thrill every Top Gun fan. – Philip De Semlyen, Time Out

Mainstream audiences will be happily airborne, especially the countless dads who loved Top Gun and will eagerly want to share this fresh shot of adrenaline with their sons. – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

This follow-up, directed by Joseph Kosinski, deals in the same unexpected-itch-scratching bliss: it’s crammed with images you didn’t know you were desperate to see until the second you see them. – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

In the opening moments… you don’t know if you’re watching the original 1986 Top Gun or a new one. – Brian Truitt, USA Today

Tony Scott’s admirers may miss that disreputable edge, the unrepentantly vulgar sensibility that made the original Top Gun a dreamy, voluptuous hoot. – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times


Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

(Photo by Scott Garfield/©Paramount Pictures)

How does it compare to the original?

Top Gun: Maverick improves on the original. It’s deeper, it’s not corny, and it has thrilling effects. – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

The dogfights, chases, and mid-air sequences are truly remarkable — far clearer and far more intense than anything in the original Top Gun. – Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

A superior sequel. – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

If Top Gun was a fun film because it invented Tom Cruise, Maverick is a great film because it immortalizes him. – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

Maverick ideally would be less formulaic – and for the record, it doesn’t quite match the magic of the OG Top Gun. – Brian Truitt, USA Today


Is it a worthy legacy sequel?

Few Hollywood reboots can boast this blend of nostalgia, freshness and adrenaline. You will want to high five someone on the way out. – Philip De Semlyen, Time Out

The film is a true legacy sequel. In the tradition of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s a carefully reconstructed clone of its predecessor, tooled not only to reflect changing tastes and attitudes but the ascendancy of its star Tom Cruise to a level of fame that borders on the mythological. – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

The sequel follows the original beat for beat, to a degree that’s almost comical. And yet, as formulaic as it is, there’s no denying that it delivers in terms of both nostalgia and reinvention. – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

Tom Cruise remains deeply ambivalent with the notion of passing the torch to a new generation onscreen and so Top Gun: Maverick remains focused on Maverick and his story, sometimes to the detriment of the young cast. – Matt Singer, ScreenCrush


Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

(Photo by ©Paramount Pictures)

Is this one of the best blockbusters we’ve gotten in recent years?

Top Gun: Maverick is as thrilling as blockbusters get. – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

Top Gun: Maverick is the most fun I’ve had watching a big dumb Hollywood blockbuster for a while. – Linda Marric, The Jewish Chronicle

Takes to the skies as no blockbuster has before. – Peter Debruge, Variety

The movie soars – a reminder of how good Hollywood can be at popcorn entertainment when it sets its mind to it (and Cruise is involved). – Philip De Semlyen, Time Out

It is unquestionably the best studio action film to have been released since 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph


How does it rank against other Tom Cruise movies?

We have surely arrived at the Cruisiest film he’s yet made. – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

It’s not a Tom Cruise movie so much as it’s “Tom Cruise: The Movie.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

In terms of performance, this is one of Cruise’s best pictures. – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

It fully surrenders to the grandiose fun that’s marked the best of Cruise’s recent star vehicles. – Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

Cruise finds new ways to add depth to his signature character (sorry, Ethan Hunt) without sacrificing any of his essential qualities. – Brian Truitt, USA Today


Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

(Photo by ©Paramount Pictures)

How is Val Kilmer’s return as Iceman?

Kilmer’s brief cameo, in what has the feel of a swan song, carries far more weight than anything directly related to the story. – Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

The film’s most moving element comes during the brief screen time of Kilmer’s Iceman. – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

If there’s one scene that really takes your breath away, it’s his. – Brian Truitt, USA Today

In one fictional moment, he gives us something unmistakably, irreducibly real, partly by puncturing the fantasy of human invincibility that his co-star has never stopped trying to sell. – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times


Are there any other standouts in the cast?

Miles Teller [gives] an oddly alluring performance that really shouldn’t work as well as it does. – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

Teller, with his best turn since Whiplash, factors in as a worthy emotional foil. – Brian Truitt, USA Today

Jennifer Connelly brings a lot to a thankless role. – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap


Does Top Gun: Maverick deliver as an action movie?

It [has] what is surely one of the most impressive plane-based action scenes ever committed to film. – Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

The real draw here is, of course, the action, and Kosinski asserts his gift for large-scale filmmaking across the film’s runtime. – Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

The commitment to filming practically-everything practically feels like the cutting-edge equivalent of Howard Hughes’ history-making Hell’s Angels. – Peter Debruge, Variety

You have a series of character-driven, heart-in-your-throat dogfights more vivid than anything in the first previous film. – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

Breathtakingly balletic, and grounded in the increasingly rare pleasure of the tangible… it’s a true feat for director Joseph Kosinski to make something this ambitious look this effortless. – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

The action scenes [have] a breathtaking beauty and urgency: the play of light and gravity on the actors’ faces, and the way the landscapes spin and drop away balletically through the canopy glass, puts other blockbusters’ green-screened swooping to shame. – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

The best thing this movie does is boost visceral analog action over the usual numbing bombardment of CG fakery. – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter


Jennifer Connelly in Top Gun: Maverick

(Photo by Scott Garfield/©Paramount Pictures)

Are there any major criticisms?

One would have appreciated a slightly more effective female-centric subplot. – Linda Marric, The Jewish Chronicle

The film, unfortunately, doesn’t extend as much of a loving hand toward the women of Top Gun. – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

Women are few and far between, and even the more prominent ones get mostly perfunctory treatment. – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

It would’ve been nice to see Meg Ryan return as the widow/mom, but the rules are cruel when it comes to aging female actors. – Peter Debruge, Variety


Do we need to see this on the big screen?

This is definitely a film that benefits from the IMAX experience, and the big-ass soundscape that comes with it. – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

This movie needs the big screen, preferably as big as you can find. I saw it in an IMAX theater, and now I have some idea of what it would feel like to take off in a fighter pilot from an aircraft carrier. – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

The result is the most immersive flight simulator audiences will have ever experienced, right down to the great Dolby roar of engines vibrating through their seats. – Peter Debruge, Variety

It’s the kind of edge-of-your-seat, fist-pumping spectacular that can unite an entire room full of strangers sitting in the dark and leave them with a wistful tear in their eye. – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent


Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

(Photo by ©Paramount Pictures)

Will it leave us wanting more?

One can imagine future spinoffs involving any of these characters. – Peter Debruge, Variety

[It’s a] launching pad for a potential second or even third sequel with its young cast at the center of new adventures. – Linda Marric, The Jewish Chronicle


Top Gun: Maverick opens in theaters on May 27, 2022.


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

obituary laika Epix Martial Arts Adult Swim Amazon FXX psychological thriller cancelled television venice The Purge cartoon stand-up comedy Comedy Central crossover rt labs Fargo Countdown Winter TV ABC Signature Fantasy Video Games screenings football romantic comedy rom-coms History cats SDCC Crunchyroll LGBTQ docudrama Mudbound adventure Tarantino posters Oscars festivals Prime Video art house Holidays Spike Syfy doctor who video Lucasfilm Netflix Comedy reviews BBC independent new york TCA 2017 comic book movies crime thriller 2015 Song of Ice and Fire Elton John nbcuniversal Arrowverse mutant pirates of the caribbean YouTube Red basketball FX Holiday vampires franchise 72 Emmy Awards latino New York Comic Con El Rey Tumblr singing competition technology leaderboard Drama Best Actress renewed TV shows serial killer Trivia Television Critics Association FOX french award winner Oscar YA ViacomCBS zombies American Society of Cinematographers aapi justice league book Chernobyl IFC cops Premiere Dates Winners Musicals A24 GLAAD crime Christmas kong Family Biopics police drama asian-american A&E HFPA 21st Century Fox 2017 Starz spanish The CW teaser TCM DirecTV BET VOD children's TV lord of the rings green book spider-man dark Endgame DC streaming service slasher mcc rt archives BAFTA comic what to watch all-time Hollywood Foreign Press Association japan saw italian Interview YouTube Premium fresh blockbusters Netflix Christmas movies IFC Films free movies popular live action Broadway Amazon Studios Hulu Pirates Musical child's play concert VH1 comic book movie golden globe awards toronto international Lifetime Pixar Podcast Best Director Best and Worst Wes Anderson Indigenous Black History Month critic resources critics interviews blaxploitation Walt Disney Pictures The Walt Disney Company cancelled TV series Set visit Tubi San Diego Comic-Con casting facebook TIFF cinemax dragons political drama batman Reality Competition deadpool 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards composers miniseries TV movies Box Office indiana jones spain Marvel Studios Stephen King SXSW 2022 BET Awards Avengers PBS Sci-Fi genre 79th Golden Globes Awards golden globes Marathons Showtime 90s Crackle historical drama Comic Book TBS razzies debate strong female leads Apple docuseries SundanceTV Ovation TCA Awards die hard trailers Trailer Emmys CMT harry potter dexter Universal Pictures Super Bowl Hallmark talk show Anna Paquin TNT remakes Photos 2018 archives Columbia Pictures Universal Pacific Islander Star Trek ghosts biopic Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt halloween best FX on Hulu Legendary Peacock Best Picture chucky kids comics cars Black Mirror medical drama Masterpiece Quiz unscripted spanish language Lifetime Christmas movies ratings PlayStation films APB festival action-comedy mob travel RT History classics Geeked Week ITV TruTV mockumentary Rom-Com Mindy Kaling Sundance Now game show Awards Turner Classic Movies dramedy Writers Guild of America Bravo GIFs 2021 universal monsters 2019 Women's History Month gangster PaleyFest blockbuster OneApp monster movies Pride Month Star Wars Celebration a nightmare on elm street Nickelodeon CBS All Access disaster screen actors guild ESPN Trophy Talk 93rd Oscars Lionsgate zombie NBA south america period drama Marvel transformers game of thrones elevated horror name the review HBO Go social media Cartoon Network target Action USA Network marvel cinematic universe ID superhero cancelled TV shows boxoffice Native 45 Classic Film Spring TV stoner Superheroes Acorn TV movie Cannes halloween tv Spectrum Originals Paramount Pictures 73rd Emmy Awards spy thriller Logo Sundance Exclusive Video AMC Best Actor DGA christmas movies slashers Character Guide black Film Festival sports The Witch scene in color film series Alien Apple TV Plus 71st Emmy Awards dceu Pet Sematary E3 james bond Warner Bros. 007 TV renewals TV Travel Channel 2016 tv talk science fiction comiccon sitcom 1990s Red Carpet fast and furious obi wan TV One joker Star Wars japanese MTV royal family TCA Winter 2020 Turner Extras The Academy dogs richard e. Grant CNN Sneak Peek toy story Paramount Plus Baby Yoda WGN DC Comics Creative Arts Emmys rotten movies we love Animation Image Comics Western telelvision Discovery Channel australia Heroines revenge scene in color series National Geographic See It Skip It Tomatazos ABC Family Cosplay Tokyo Olympics anthology binge Kids & Family X-Men wonder woman parents politics scorecard emmy awards broadcast Thanksgiving scary movies canceled natural history First Reviews Toys MGM ABC superman new star wars movies 99% BBC America cancelled prank Television Academy new zealand Reality target scene in color Mary Poppins Returns quibi dc The Walking Dead HBO Max young adult aliens Opinion indie Teen diversity summer TV 20th Century Fox SXSW Disney Plus criterion hollywood jurassic park supernatural Certified Fresh Focus Features CW Seed 94th Oscars feel good news E! marvel comics Rocketman Nat Geo USA kaiju Esquire comedies 24 frames DC Universe RT21 cooking legend satire rt labs critics edition Awards Tour foreign Nominations worst theme song Chilling Adventures of Sabrina true crime boxing godzilla space South by Southwest Film Festival streamig comic books Film movies sequels versus Valentine's Day discovery cults Ellie Kemper Country hispanic NBC book adaptation Funimation Election Sony Mystery Paramount Network Freeform MSNBC witnail Year in Review OWN war Grammys AMC Plus TV Land YouTube king arthur Comic-Con@Home 2021 First Look women LGBT Disney anime Neflix king kong breaking bad television dreamworks nature Sundance TV Amazon Prime Video thriller Disney Channel The Arrangement Infographic MCU hidden camera Sony Pictures suspense trophy Shudder Tags: Comedy WarnerMedia Comics on TV CBS animated sag awards Fall TV HBO Rock BBC One zero dark thirty streaming Marvel Television worst movies biography Academy Awards stop motion Emmy Nominations Dark Horse Comics Hallmark Christmas movies Mary poppins TLC adenture Brie Larson streaming movies summer preview nfl GoT directors crime drama sopranos Horror Mary Tyler Moore Watching Series olympics 4/20 IMDb TV Paramount jamie lee curtis twilight high school rotten Pop TV Summer reboot series finale documentary Britbox TCA canceled TV shows Ghostbusters President spider-verse Apple TV+ Food Network Shondaland Instagram Live documentaries Captain marvel Binge Guide video on demand black comedy heist movie romance Music sequel Superheroe Fox News Calendar hist Disney streaming service based on movie Vudu spinoff VICE Disney+ Disney Plus summer TV preview scene in color mission: impossible werewolf scary hispanic heritage month Amazon Prime Pop 2020 psycho adaptation Hear Us Out Polls and Games vs. live event Schedule know your critic robots Fox Searchlight Rocky NYCC