Tom Cruise has returned to his most iconic role with Top Gun: Maverick, as Maverick from Top Gun. The long-in-development, often-delayed movie was a big risk in many ways. A movie star the caliber of Cruise returning to a character after decades could seem like the cap on a career, or a sign of desperation to reclaim past glories. However, Top Gun: Maverick has not only opened to a mammoth beginning box office gross, but it is also getting some of the best reviews of Tom Cruise’s entire career. As of right now, Top Gun: Maverick is sitting at an astonishing 99% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which means pretty much every single person who saw the movie loved it and by extension, Tom Cruise.
Top Gun: Maverick was first announced to be in development all the way back in 2010, but the suicide of original director Tony Scott in 2012 caused it to be put on pause. Previous Tom Cruise collaborator Joseph Kosinski (who directed the star in the 2013 science fiction movie Oblivion) was brought on board, and the scripting of the film occurred during the filming of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, because the man knows how to multi-task. Original co-star Val Kilmer was brought on board at Tom Cruise’s insistence, and Miles Teller was cast as the son of Anthony Edwards’ character Goose. At one point, the Chinese multimedia megacorporation Tencent was going to invest a large percentage of the film’s budget but pulled out due to concerns that the film’s topic of the US military (and possibly Tom Cruise) could upset the Communist Party of China.
The film was originally filmed in 2019 and it was scheduled to be released that same year. It was first delayed due to the complexity of the stuntwork (which fair enough, they are flying incredibly expensive hardware at incredible speeds). Then it was delayed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and then more for various scheduling issues, and a full three years after the initial release date, we finally get to see Tom Cruise back in action as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
Tom Cruise was given an honorary Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, which is one of the most prestigious and coveted awards in the film industry. Top Gun: Maverick also received a five-minute standing ovation when it premiered there, which means that not only do theatrical audiences love the movie, the most discerning of critics do too. That is reflected in the 97% critics rating that Top Gun: Maverick currently has on Rotten Tomatoes, which ties the movie with the highest accolades that Tom Cruise has ever gotten in his entire career.
Tom Cruise’s next project after Top Gun: Maverick has been announced to be the next installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, a two-part movie titled Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning. Maverick himself seems to be on a roll, so we will just have to see if the critical applause keeps coming for Tom Cruise.