Aneatly framed autograph of Tom Cruise taken during his visit to India while promoting Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol hangs on the wall of one of my rooms. Although, a prized possession, I hadn’t managed to look at it in a long time. Today, I look at it with new fondness. Probably because watching Top Gun: Maverick took me back in time, reminding me of how, as a child, I would enjoy watching all his films with my father, especially the Mission Impossible series, which, by the way, is going to be the actor’s next big release.

I was just born when Cruise, 24, gave us one of the most iconic characters Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell with Top Gun which was released in 1986, the film that catapulted him to superstardom. Cruise is back into the cockpit after 36 years and so it’s time to get out your leather jackets, aviators and the Kawaski bikes back as Cruise soars through this worthy sequel.

In one of the climax sequences in the film, we see Cruise along with young pilots butt heads, and state-of-the-art F-18s fight it out with rusty old F-14s, somewhere trying to give a hint that veteran actors can still give the young lot a run for their money. Whether he’s scaling skyscrapers or jumping in the valley with a bike in a new Mission: Impossible adventure or showing a bunch of fresh-faced pilots how it’s done, Cruise, 59, is just pushing the boundaries and setting new goals for himself when it comes to doing some amazing action sequences in his film.

The film takes us through the journey of Maverick who in his late 50s is now a test pilot. Just like in his young days, Maverick still owns a certain arrogance and knows how to tick off his superiors, as we see in an exciting opening sequence where he pushes a new plane beyond its limits. Partly as punishment, he’s ordered to return to TOP GUN, the elite pilot-training school, and train its best and brightest for an impossibly dangerous new mission.

One of his trainees is a hot-headed young pilot called Rooster, played by Miles Teller. Rooster is the son of Maverick’s beloved wingman, Goose, who tragically died while flying with Maverick in the first film. Goose’s death affects his relationship with Rooster and this conflict is something that has been explored brilliantly in the film.

The aerial action sequences are much more thrilling and immersive than in the original. You feel like you’re really in the cockpit with these pilots, and that’s because you are: The actors underwent intense flight training and flew actual planes during shooting. It’s simply outstanding how the footage, much of it captured by the cast in-cockpit as they physically strain through high-G manoeuvres, will surely take your breath away. The dogfights are so thrilling and most of the fight sequences are visually exciting. The cinematography especially in the action sequences is sharp and the editing propulsive. This also warrants the film to be seen on the largest screen available near you, especially in IMAX format. Through these action sequences, the film also finds a way to pay homage to the iconic moments of Top Gun.

The sequel will take you back to the original film as we some characters being a part of the new film. Jon Hamm who played Cyclone in the original film is now promoted as Vice Admiral. He is one of the film’s primary antagonists. Hamm is diametrically opposed to everything Pete Mitchell stands for. Cruise even got Val Kilmer, who has stepped back from the screen after being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017, to make a small appearance as he reprises his role as Iceman, Maverick’s former nemesis-turned-friend. Jennifer Connelly as Penny, the admiral’s daughter offhandedly mentioned in the first film, is now a bar owner and a single mother is seen as Maverick’s love interest in the film. But it doesn’t spark the same chemistry that Cruise had with Kelly McGillis in the original.

Top Gun: Maverick is a marvel of a film, one that will truly take your breath away. It is a trippy reboot that takes you on an exhilarating ride which is loaded with pure nostalgia. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.