Opinion: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ was the best action movie of 2022

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Many highly rated action films, including “The Batman,” “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and “The Adam Project” all competed against each other in 2022. However, there was one film that stood out against the rest, not only for its carefully crafted action sequences, but for the incredible attention to detail during its production. 

“Top Gun: Maverick,” the highly anticipated sequel to “Top Gun,” follows Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) as he’s tasked with preparing a team of highly skilled pilots for a nearly impossible mission: bombing a country’s unsanctioned uranium enrichment plant, defended by both missiles and fighters at a nearby air base.

After making it out of the canyon, two pairs of fighter pilots must invert and dive upside down into the low point of a mountain and hit their target; an impact point less than 3 meters wide. If either team misses the target, the mission is failed. 

They are expected to complete the full task in two-and-a-half minutes. If they don’t make it within this time, they will be met with fifth-generation fighters, who they have no chance against in their F-18s. Every plot point in this action film screams “high stakes”.

There was a large effort from the producers to make this film as realistic as possible, and it translated well to the big screen. My eyes watched the screen as if they were glued open, and I was anticipating new conflict the entire time. 

In addition to the risks of being a fighter pilot, this film is also about friendship, sacrifice, love and redemption. There was so much character work done to ensure the audience was rooting for the team. I smiled when they were successful and anxiously bit my nails when they faced the treacherous obstacles assigned to them. 

Although the action in this film alone makes it worth every penny spent to see it, the experience is so much more than that. I’ll admit I cried multiple times the first time I saw this film, and it still makes me choke up every time I rewatch it.

Knowing the story of the first Top Gun film isn’t necessary before watching the sequel. However, I would strongly suggest it since the main storyline of this sequel focuses on a relationship whose main conflict stems from the original story’s events.

[Miles Teller plays Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw in Top Gun: Maverick.]
Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films

“Top Gun: Maverick” contains callbacks to the first film, such as the live performance of the song “Great Balls of Fire” by Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller) and a bird strike during training that forces a team of pilots to eject, which hits a lot harder with the knowledge of what happened to Rooster’s father, Goose, in the prequel. 

I also think that by seeing the original beforehand, you get the full scope of how legendary Maverick really is, not only as a fighter pilot, but as a character himself.

The story of “Top Gun: Maverick” was 34 years in the making with Tom Cruise behind it, ensuring that the story was told the right way. With a fantastic set of actors including Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Miles Teller, this film was clearly cast for success.

In order to keep the film’s authenticity when filming the flight scenes, the actors went through rigorous flight training. This included water survival training with Olympic coaches and underwent intense testing. This training is mandated by the Navy before a person is able to get inside a Boeing F/A 18F Super Hornet. 

The dedication to these roles and the physical strain the actors underwent through production shows how committed they were to the integrity of the film.

According to an article by Kyle Deguzman of StudioBinder, in order to film the sequences inside the fighter jets, cockpit camera-systems had to be specially installed into the pre-existing threaded holes of the F/A-18 by 1st AC Dan Ming and key grip Trevor Fulks.

The actors needed to be their own camera men and makeup artists while in the air and experienced real in-flight g-force which you can see in the film.

The film was directed by Joseph Kosinski and grossed $1,488,732,821 in world-wide box office sales, putting it in second behind “Avatar: The Way of Water” for highest grossing films of 2022. 

With a fantastic director and the soundtrack album done by none other than Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga and Hans Zimmer, the film was set up for success. The care and unwavering attention to detail made this movie the best action film of 2022. 

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