GOOD – Top Gun: Maverick

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

Released: 27 May 2022

The original Top Gun may have proved itself an ’80s classic, but there were many who were skeptical about whether a sequel could live up to its reputation. Enter Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise’s triumphant return to the cockpit after an absence of over three decades. (That’s on-screen, of course – Cruise has been honing his skills as a pilot for years at this point.)

It’s not easy to quantify how surprising Top Gun: Maverick‘s success truly is, if only because it’s down to a combination of factors. The first is that though Top Gun is considered a classic, it wasn’t a massive success upon its release. The second is how thoroughly ’80s the original is, with it being unclear how the sequel would translate to modern aerial combat. The last is the chasm of decades spanning the two films’ respective releases, introducing another unknown element in just how interested audiences would truly be.

Repeatedly delaying the film’s release to enable the broadest possible theatrical run paid off in spades, with Top Gun: Maverick earning $1.48 billion at the box office. This staggering success comes by merit of the fact that it’s simply an excellent movie, with huge thrills and an engaging story that hits more than a few touching notes. Top Gun: Maverick‘s success might make perfect sense, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t one of 2022’s biggest surprises.

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