Action-packed fighter pilot scenes, Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” and the return of Tom Cruise? The new “Top Gun” sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” has smashed the original movie out of the park and quickly become a must-see.

  • “Top Gun: Maverick” follows Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (played by Cruise) as he makes his way back to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, known as TOPGUN, to train a group of flight school graduates for an extremely dangerous mission.
  • One of the graduates Maverick oversees is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the resentful son of his deceased best friend and naval wingman from the first film, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw.
  • Maverick reunites with an old flame along the way, Penny Benjamin (played by Jennifer Connelly), which adds just the right amount of romance to this action/drama movie.

The good parts: “Top Gun: Maverick” is the perfect sequel. It does a great job of incorporating parts of the original “Top Gun” without confusing viewers who haven’t seen the first movie.

  • The movie offers an ideal blend of old and new, paying homage to the original movie with nostalgic ’80s hit songs (hello, “Great Balls of Fire”) while reimagining famous scenes in creative ways (Spoiler: This movie’s “dogfight football” scene is way better than the original movie’s volleyball montage, in my opinion).
  • “Top Gun: Maverick” takes you on a gripping adventure that will leave your jaw and knuckles sore from tensing the whole time. The plot is thrilling; just when you think you know what happens next, the film throws you for a loop in the best possible way.
  • Oh, and did I mention that Tom Cruise, along with his cast members, actually went through flight training in order to accurately film the fighter jet scenes?

The cast: Tom Cruise is exactly what you expect and more: daring, charming, funny — a well-liked guy who gets away with bending the rules sometimes.

  • Miles Teller, who plays Rooster, does a great job portraying the bitter-turned-appreciative lead with wonderful character development throughout.
  • Val Kilmer makes a sublime reappearance as “Iceman” and shares a tear-jerking scene with Cruise that will leave you reaching for the nearest tissue box.
  • Jon Hamm is the perfect admiral in charge — stern, gruff and effectively authoritative. Given his award-winning role in “Mad Men,” it comes as no surprise.

The bad parts: Honestly, I can’t point out a single “bad part” in this movie.

  • While some are calling Maverick’s chemistry with love interest Penny Benjamin “flat,” I actually enjoyed their light romance and appreciated the lack of sex scenes. (If you are looking for a more provocative on-screen romance, the first “Top Gun” will supply you with plenty.)

The bottom line: “Top Gun: Maverick” is a fun whirlwind of a movie that takes you right into the “danger zone.” Its never-ending action will leave your heart racing and your palms sweating. I definitely recommend it to people of all ages, but especially to those who grew up watching the original.