Andrew Boley’s review published on Letterboxd:
Jimmy Kimmel saw this film, loved it and then said to Miles Teller “did you really need to go and fly in jets? I couldn’t tell if it was real or not.” This is the death of cinema mindset, something works, and you think the way they did it was unnecessary. Why do something different? Who cares? Even if you can’t intellectually reason with why it had to be done practically the fact that you reacted positively to it seems like the answer. Just because you can do something easy doesn’t mean you should.
The amount of physical torment that the cast went through does seem intense. But, this is a topic that has been publicly discussed for almost a decade now, since the Me Too movement started. Just because something is successful but cast/crew suffered was it worth it? The Shining is one of the most beloved movies ever, but Shelley Duvall was intimidated and bullied to get her performance. Was it worth it? Was Zodiac worth driving both Gyllenhaal and Downey into near insanity? Was Mad Max Fury Road worth the insane production nightmare and Tom Hardy & Charlize Theron being pushed to their breaking point? These questions are important to ask, but I think a universal “just make movies easier to make and remove risk” is a really dangerous position to take. Because the only people willing to oppose that will be the directors and actors. executives and producers will always want easier methods. The average audience won’t really know what to think and social media will always push for a “nice and safe place to work.”
This is a long winded way of saying that Top Gun Maverick was made in a overly complicated and difficult method that almost everyone will appreciate the results. And the sad fact that executives and producers will take away the wrong lessons, social media is always going to side with “nice and easy” and most CBM fans will take the practical nature of the shoot as an afront to their movies. But sometimes you have to let this slide off your back and just appreciate a movie that distills half a decade of work into a 2 hour experience.