Opening with the familiar beats and chimes of Harold Faltermeyer’s electronic score to Tony Scott’s 1986 film and the tub-thumping battle cry of Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone as fighter jets take off from an aircraft carrier, Top Gun: Maverick blasts Tom Cruise back into the box office stratosphere.

Director Joseph Kosinski, who previously worked with Cruise on the 2013 sci-fi thriller Oblivion, shares his daredevil leading man’s need for speed, orchestrating edge-of-seat thrills on land and in the air to disprove the theory that sequels linger in the slipstream of the original.

A heavy reliance on physical action sequences rather than digital effects – Cruise is at the controls of almost every flight sequence and co-stars trained extensively in F/A-18 Super Hornets – delivers a pure, unadulterated adrenaline rush of nostalgic pleasure.

In emotional scenes, Cruise wrings out genuine tears but he’s almost upstaged by Val Kilmer, who reprises his role as Ice Man and breaks hearts to smithereens with half a dozen lines of tenderly whispered dialogue.

Jingoistic dialogue tees up the derring-do of a white-knuckle final mission that is admittedly rather protracted. For once, Maverick ignores the need for speed.