Top Gun: Maverick scores rave reviews, 36 years since original

Thirty six years.

This is how long fans have been waiting to see Maverick shoot into the sky for a Top Gun sequel.

The 1986 cult action flick was so popular it earned a spot on the National Film Registry and was instrumental in launching the career of a bright-eyed Tom Cruise.

While diehard enthusiasts might say you can’t improve on the original – it looks like the follow-up may have, if the critics’ reviews are up to snuff.

Ahead of Top Gun: Maverick’s May 26 release, review aggregator sites are already posting stratospheric scores for the sequel.

Camera iconTom Cruise plays Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun. Credit: Scott Garfield/Scott Garfield

Rotten Tomatoes has a positive rating of 96%, while Metacritic has a Metascore of 81, indicating “universal acclaim”.

In the new edition, Cruise is back in the cockpit as Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who refuses to be grounded by a rank advancement despite his 36 years of service.

Val Kilmer also reprises his role as Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, while Miles Teller is a new recruit as Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s best friend Nick “Goose” Bradshaw.

A handful of the film industry’s most respected critics gave Maverick a perfect five out of five stars, including Empire, The Telegraph and BBC.

They agreed that it outperformed the original due to its rising streaks and smooth performances, with Collider reviewer Ross Bonaime going so far as to call it “one of the greatest sequels ever made”.

“It’s also hard not to say that it could have some of the most thrilling action scenes to ever hit the skies, and gives Cruise one of his best performances returning to the role that made him a stars,” he wrote.

The BBC’s Nicholas Barber agreed.

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