Top Gun: Maverick first reactions are in. And they're good.

Tom Cruise celebrates in Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

If you were on the fence about Top Gun: Maverick perhaps the reactions from the movie's first public screening will convince you. The long-awaited sequel to 1986's Top Gun got its first-ever public screening at the 2022 CinemaCon convention, an annual gathering of movie theater owners, and those in attendance were quick to share their thoughts about the Tom Cruise movie. By the sound of things Top Gun: Maverick may turn out to be one of the best 2022 movies.

Top Gun: Maverick sees Cruise return to his iconic role as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell. Taking place 30 years after the events of Top Gun, Maverick is now working as a test pilot and actively attempting to dodge the advancement in rank that would force him to stop flying. However, his career ends up taking him back to Top Gun, where he must confront his past as he is charged with training a new squadron of fighter pilots.

In addition to Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick stars Jennifer Connelly (Snowpiercer, Labyrinth), Miles Teller (The Offer), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Monica Barbaro, Glen Powell, Manny Jacinto (Good Girls), Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman, Jean Louisa Kelly, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer, reprising his role as "Iceman."

The movie is set to be a big summer blockbuster, releasing in theaters worldwide on May 27 (Memorial Day weekend for the US). It gets its first official premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in France, which takes place May 17-28.

While we still have a little bit of a wait before official reviews come in for Top Gun: Maverick, the reactions to the screening at CinemaCon were incredibly enthusiastic. Some early reactions are calling the movie "the perfect blockbuster" and "a big-screen spectacle," while some are already labeling it as one of the best movies of the year.

There were some who were more reserved in their reactions or even tempering expectations a bit:

Movie fans have just a few weeks before getting to see what Top Gun: Maverick is all about for themselves. As befitting the big-screen blockbuster spectacle, the action movie is playing exclusively in movie theaters.

But they won't have to wait that long for Top Gun: Maverick-related content, as Lady Gaga's new song for the movie soundtrack is out on May 3.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.