laird’s review published on Letterboxd:
At an elite fighter pilot school known apparently as Top Gun: Maverick, the entire first movie plays out again with some slight furniture rearranging and better all-around writing (there's still some laughable dialogue, but whatever)/acting (though a flashback to the original movie with it's film grain and fussy lighting shows how much more impoverished this is in the "looks" department). Big difference: this time there's a clear mission (minor spoiler: it's pretty much exactly the Death Star trench run with a few more obstacles), and the cockpit footage is mostly real (or faked really well) so the action has more weight and better geography/spatial relationships between jets. Really comes alive in that final half hour or so of spectacle, but as others have pointed out Tom Cruise is evil and this is jingoistic military propaganda, so my enjoyment is directly contributing to making the world a worse place. Sorry. (oh these kids and their noble ideas. If only we could "correctly" consume ourselves out of the mess we're in now). Though honestly, if so much of my tax dollars are going to go to these fucking jets, the least they can do is let a 60 year old cult member with a death wish fly around in them for my amusement. Gimme some circus with that bread!