2. Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Tom Cruise as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick

Sequel to: Top Gun (1986)

The original Top Gun is an ’80s classic, that much is undeniable. However, its cultural relevance somewhat outshines its actual quality: in retrospect, it’s essentially glorified propaganda for the US Navy that glosses over predatory behavior. Though Top Gun has managed to remain something of a cult hit, it’s hardly one of the greatest films ever made, particularly when judged by modern standards. Therefore, when it was announced that it would get a sequel over three decades on, the prospect seemed a little strange.

As it so happens, Top Gun: Maverick proved to be a massive improvement upon the ideas of the original movie. Taking Tom Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and making him an instructor at the US Navy’s TOPGUN program, Top Gun: Maverick was able to recapture the spirit of the original film while also grappling with much deeper and more interesting themes. The sequel’s story came with personal stakes for Maverick stemming from the events of the first film, tying Maverick to the original Top Gun while also expanding upon its story.

Top Gun: Maverick was a somewhat unexpected Earth-shattering success. The spectacle of Cruise’s impressive aerial stunts made the film visually arresting, while solid writing and acting made it an emotional journey, too. With Top Gun: Maverick absolutely nailing the legacy sequel formula, it’s almost impossible to deny that it’s better than the original Top Gun.