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‘Top Gun: Maverick’ ascends past the Danger Zone with Certified Fresh Rotten Tomatoes score

'Top Gun: Maverick' can now be considered as part of a rare breed of movies where the sequel is actually better than the original.

Top Gun Maverick
Image via Skydance Media

With Top Gun: Maverick flying into theaters Friday, the Tom Cruise-starring sequel about U.S. Navy fighter jet pilots has achieved the impressive feat of ascending past the Danger Zone so many sequels face and clenching a “Certified Fresh” critical score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

In fact, the rating would be considered quite high for any movie, let alone a sophomore effort of a previously established franchise. At an eye-popping 97 percent, the film is flying high with critics, to say the least.

What’s more, critics are even claiming the movie has surpassed the quality of the 1986 original, something very few movies — outside of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Godfather Part II, and The Empire Strikes Back — have achieved.

Although it is considered a classic among movie fans today, particularly for its impressive aerial action footage at the time and being the epitome of 1980s cheese, it may surprise you to know the first Top Gun film actually has a rotten critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, at just 56 percent.

With Cruise’s reputation for bringing never-before-seen real-world stunts to the big screen, which has only seemingly ramped up in recent years as evidenced by his Helicopter-dangling antics in 2018’s excellent Mission Impossible — Fallout, as one example, it’s no wonder Cruise once again brought his A-game by featuring real footage of himself inside a jet while it performed multi-G-force inverted dives, even if he didn’t technically pilot the jets as it was happening.

Top Gun: Maverick is in theaters now.

Danny Peterson
About the author

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'