You can now book your Cineworld tickets for Top Gun: Maverick, so feel the need for speed and claim your seat, pronto.
The long-awaited sequel to the era-defining, testosterone-laden Top Gun is poised to be one of the biggest movie spectacles of the year. The film is playing out of competition at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and will be treated to a UK Royal Film Performance on May 19th, so you'd better believe this is going to be huge.
Here's why you need to get your tickets right away.
1. It's the sequel to the 1986 movie classic
Back in 1986, a relatively unassuming movie about the fictional Top Gun naval academy stormed Hollywood and, indeed, the world.
In hindsight, Top Gun was emblematic of a bold new era of filmmaking, in line with the emergent MTV pop video generation. The movie was slick, glossy and placed a significant amount of emphasis on hardware, bringing us the story of a group of cadets vying for supremacy at Top Gun Academy.
Directed by the late Tony Scott, the movie was an early example of the Jerry Bruckheimer/Don Simpson production aesthetic, one that would eventually come to dominate action cinema of the 1980s and 1990s (Bad Boys; The Rock et al).
With its good-looking cast and glossy surfaces, the movie practically invited the audience to look past its implausibilities and revel in an impossibly macho narrative. The cheesiness of the original Top Gun is part of its charm: the movie is very much of its era, but possessed with enough sharp lines and ironic wisecracks to punch through and establish a level of appeal in the modern-day.
The new movie is directed by Tron: Legacy filmmaker Joseph Kosinski and promises to recapture the magic. There will be jets, there will be beach sports and there will be plenty of face-stretching G-Force on display.
2. It reunites us with Tom Cruise's signature character
In the mid-1980s, one Tom Mapother Cruise had achieved a steady string of movie credits, among them the acclaimed Risky Business and the Ridley Scott fantasy epic, Legend. But these were mere appetisers for Cruise's star turn in Top Gun, which sent him into the A-list stratosphere.
The role of the daredevil Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell cemented many of the Cruise trademarks with which we're now familiar. Everything from the cocksure bravado to the beaming smile is evident in the performance, and audiences at the time of Top Gun's release were bowled over by Cruise's charisma.
From there, Crusie catapulted to critical successes such as Rain Man and Born on the Fourth of July, before eventually carving out his own blockbuster franchise in the form of the Mission: Impossible series. The seventh one of those is on its way in 2023 with the eighth movie arriving in 2024.
Some 36 years later, Cruise now sinks back into the role, although there's no clear evidence of bagging wrought by the intervening years. It's established in the trailer for Top Gun: Maverick that Mitchell's reputation still precedes him, as does his fearsome ability in the cockpit.
Somewhat reluctantly, Mitchell's superiors have now elected him to train a brand new squad of cadets, which could either be the best or the worst idea in the world. However, one glimpse at that familiar Cruise smirk confirms to us at least that it's a very good idea indeed.
3. It extends the Top Gun mythology
One imagines that Maverick will be grappling with the weight of history in the new movie. This manifests in the form of new cadet Rooster (Whiplash star Miles Teller), the son of Maverick's late wingman Goose (Anthony Edwards).
Goose's tragic death in the original Top Gun made for the film's most heartbreaking sequence. It has clearly cast a pall over Maverick's life and we're anticipating the no doubt prickly tension between Maverick and Rooster, who appears to hold the former responsible for his father's death.
With these inter-character dynamics set to cut through the noise as per the original movie, one might wonder: where is Val Kilmer's nemesis turned ally Ice mn? The rivalry between him and Maverick sustained the first movie before ending in the most enjoyably corny kind of macho bromance.
It turns out that Iceman aka Tom Kazansky is now a high-ranking Admiral in the Navy (we glimpse his framed photo in the film's trailer). How this fits in with Maverick's current life situation and ambitions remains to be seen. One senses that Kazansky may have pulled a few things to get Maverick his latest training gig, so we're assuming they're still friends albeit at wildly different ends of the spectrum now.
4. There's going to be a killer soundtrack
In the original movie, Harold Faltermeyer's quintessentially eighties synth soundtrack was further juiced by two tracks that stormed the charts. The first of those was Berlin's 'Take My Breath Away', the theme for the relationship between Maverick and astrophysicist Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis, who is sadly absent from the new movie). The tune went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Kenny Loggins' go-for-broke, brash 'Danger Zone' is used in the first Top Gun no less than three times, and the artist has revised his signature tune for a new presentation in Top Gun: Maverick.
Faltermeyer is back to score Top Gun: Maverick and he's drafted in help in the form of one Hans Zimmer. The Oscar-winning composer of The Lion King, The Dark Knight and Dune is certain to add more propulsive momentum to the movie.
And it doesn't stop there: Lady Gaga has also contributed a new song to the soundtrack, 'Hold My Hand.' Will this rival 'Take My Breath Away' in terms of its success? Can it possibly win Lady Gaga her second Oscar for Best Original Song after A Star Is Born?
5. The movie has been optimised for IMAX, 4DX and ScreenX presentations
Much has been made of Top Gun: Maverick's audacious filmmaking techniques. Tom Cruise not only compelled his younger co-stars to get in the jets and fly them for real, but he also got them to act as their own cinematographers.
The end result is dynamic, seat-gripping cockpit photography the likes of which we haven't seen before. The movie was shot with IMAX cameras and its eventual IMAX presentation promises to be one of the most thrilling cinematic experiences of the year.
Looking to take it up a notch? The moving seats and scents of 4DX will make you feel like a Top Gun cadet yourself. And the 270-degree presentation of ScreenX will envelop you as the Top Gun characters go for missile lock and break the sound barrier.
Click here to book your tickets for Top Gun: Maverick, opening in Cineworld cinemas on 25th May.