Sequels to popular films that arrive decades afterwards are a funny thing.
They have a reputation as a cash grab for stars whose popularity have peaked, and are seeking to capitalize on “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” or “Bridget Jones’s Baby.”
There’s also plenty of cases where a studio has pushed for a sequel that didn’t really need to exist.
But they do it simply because a title has enough name recognition to bring out an audience, regardless of the film’s quality.
Francis Ford Coppola has long said he was basically forced to make “The Godfather Part III,” which is nowhere near as well-regarded as the masterpieces that preceded it.
Tom Cruise Is Sticking With Franchises
Setting aside Tom Cruise’s personal life and involvement in Scientology, the past decade was an uneven one for him.
Once the greatest star in all of Hollywood, he’s struggled as the industry has reoriented to become less dependent on A-List stars.
Now it is more geared towards well-known intellectual properties and franchises.
It’s not to say that he’s not a draw anymore, but the days when his name or — anyone’s name — alone would make a film a hit are long past us.
Cruise seems to understand this, but his attempts to adapt to the new climate have been hit or miss.
His installments in the “Mission Impossible” series have been hits and a great deal of ridiculous fun, and the fact that two more are on the way seems a bit much, but you can’t blame him for sticking with what works.
But 2017’s “The Mummy,” was a notorious mess and box office bomb.
It completely derailed Universal’s likely doomed attempt to create a “Dark Universe” franchise around all of its monster characters — Dracula, Frankenstein, etc. — to compete with Marvel.
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Cruise also seems unlikely to do anything other than big action films, which is a shame for viewers that appreciate when he digs deep and goes dark for roles such as “Magnolia” or “Eyes Wide Shut.”
On The Other Hand …
To be fair, long-delayed films don’t have to be bad, desperate cash grabs.
With the right property, director and actor, revisiting a familiar property can sometimes yield fresh results. An example is the “Creed” films, which continue the saga of the “Rocky” films.
After all, 1986’s “The Color Of Money,” a long-delayed follow up to “The Hustler,” won Paul Newman an Oscar, and helped to convince the world that Cruise was more than just the pretty boy actor from “Risky Business.”
So What Are Critics Saying About “Top Gun: Maverick?”
When the “Top Gun” sequel was first announced, there were no shortage of eyerolls.
Many called it a naked attempt by Paramount Studios (PARA) to squeeze life out of a dormant intellectual property that didn’t seem to need to exist.
But now that the film, directed by Joseph Kosinski, is out, and the reviews are mostly strong.
The film centers around Cruise’s pilot character Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell training a new generation of pilots, including the son of his old friend and flying partner Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, who blames him for the death of his dad.
The Hollywood Reporter chimed in that the sequel is actually better than the original.
The first installment was fun but also silly and dated in many ways, while this one is more grounded in character and emotion.
Entertainment Weekly says that while the new class of pilots are fine and all, this is a showcase for Cruise to show he still has it.
Also, Lady Gaga Has a Song in This
Look, it wouldn’t be a “Top Gun” film without an over-the-top anthem, right?
According to Mel Magazine’s Tim Grierson, Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” is a worthy heir to Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.”