“Top Gun: Maverick” is undeniably one of the summer’s most anticipated blockbusters, but it also comes with plenty of question marks. The sequel features some serious star power in the form of Tom Cruise and is almost certain to contain plenty of jaw-dropping flight sequences. But considering that 36 years have gone by since the original “Top Gun” hit multiplexes, many fans have wondered if the quintessential 80s franchise could adapt to be relevant in 2022.

The film will have quite the rollout, as it has been confirmed to play out of competition at Cannes next month, a longtime goal of the festival’s programmers. But before the film goes to France, it had to make a stop in Vegas. CinemaCon attendees got their first look at the full film, and reactions were across-the-board stunning for the first-ever screening, with praise for the movie’s throwback calls to the original, its aerial cinematography, and its heart-on-its-sleeve storyline. See a roundup of first reactions below.

The stunt-heavy film recently attracted attention when Joseph Kosinski revealed that the team shot over 800 hours of footage, more than all three “Lord of the Rings” movies combined. And Cruise, one of Hollywood’s biggest proponents of practical stunts, revealed that it was an all-hands-on-deck effort to get the complex shots.

“We had to teach the actors about lighting, about cinematography, about editing,” Cruise, who was not at CinemaCon, said in a recent interview. “I had to teach them how to turn the cameras on and off, and about camera angles and lenses. We didn’t have unlimited time in these jets. If they were going up for 20-30 minutes, I had to make sure that we got what we needed.”

“Top Gun: Maverick” was directed by Joseph Kosinski, working from a script by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie. In addition to Cruise, the film features Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Lewis Pullman, Monica Barbaro, and Val Kilmer. Cruise’s Maverick is now working as a teacher at the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, helping train the next generation of fighter pilots as the military adapts to the increasingly complex world of drone warfare.

Paramount will release “Top Gun: Maverick” in theaters on May 27.

 

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