“Top Gun: Maverick“Not made for awards season.
Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s continuing adventure from 1986’s “Top Gun” is hoping to get some tickets sold out into the sweet summer.
That’s not where the story should end.
Film critics, who often but rarely love populism, rallied after “Maverick”. The film has gained a great deal of satisfaction 96 percent “fresh” rating, along with a 99 percent score from the general audience. (In view, the original “Top Guns“Has 58 percent “rotten” reviews from critics)
Today, cultural homogeneity is rare. We are used to seeing quite a divide between the two groups.
Which brings us to the Oscars 2023.
The following year’s ceremony faced sizable headwinds, from falling ratings to the public fed up with the broadcast’s makeover. The Oscars aren’t as important, culturally, as they are, and the movies that win the night’s biggest awards rarely attract audiences.
Consider the box office receipts for the six most recent Best Picture winners (according to BoxOfficeMojo.com):
- CODA: N/A (Apple TV + release)
- Nomadland: $3.7 million (affected by the pandemic)
- Parasites: $53 million
- Green Book: 85 million dollars
- Shape of water: 63 million dollars
- Moonlight: 27 million dollars
No movie has ever come close to the $100 million mark. And many second-place films earn much less.
The ultimate Best Picture winner to completely unify critics and audiences? “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” ($378 million) nearly 20 years ago.
It’s time for more hits to disrupt the Oscar party. And few are as deserving as “Top Gun: Maverick.”
The film offers a near-perfect combination of action, nostalgia, heroism, and heart. Tom Cruise’s Maverick appeared towards the end of his military career when an old friend pulled one last rope for him.
He is tasked with training a group of talented but rudimentary Top Gun pilots for a dangerous mission. They had to get under the radar to eliminate a uranium site run by an unidentified government.
That’s right, “Maverick” continues the franchise’s trend of keeping the bad guys as vague as possible. The geopolitical game is not the problem. It is about honor, sacrifice and humility.
– Top Gun (@TopGunMovie) October 27, 2022
Director Joseph Kosinski (“Oblivion,” “Only the Brave”) kept the aerial sequences as tight and realistic as possible. There may be some CGI trickery going on, but the feel is organic, not artificial. (The Blu-ray edition boasts of the film’s “realistic” origins, and it shows.)
Maverick’s enduring relationship with Iceman, given its off-screen gravity in co-star Val Kilmer’s battle with cancer, offers a double dose of nostalgia and sickness. Their scene together, brief but powerful, reminds us that “Maverick” is not calorie-laden popcorn.
Cruise remains an underrated actor who is never close to calling in a gig. Kilmer, though subdued but still capable, makes this chain a Kleenex killer.
Then again, the strength of the movie depends on the characters and their respective journeys, not just the IMAX-friendly action. Maverick knows that his flying days are almost over, but he wants to go out on his own terms. His unresolved grief over the loss of his winger, Goose (Anthony Edwards), gives the sequel a pounding heart.
Maverick’s difficult relationship with Goose’s son, Rooster (Miles Teller, excellent), adds another emotional layer to the story.
That’s why “Top Gun: Maverick” didn’t receive a Best Picture nomination as a desperate ploy to lure viewers back to the Oscars TV show.
The sequel earned it.
This is also the kind of film that the Team Oscars should celebrate. It connects with common men and women, doesn’t provide unnecessary wake-up bromide, and finds everyone at the top of their pro game.
The Academy has expanded the Best Picture category from five to 10 spots in recent years, but some of the resulting nominations have been nominated only in spirit. They had no chance of winning the top honor of the night.
The film also deserves strong consideration for Cruise (Best Actor), along with Kosinski (Best Director) and various tech categories (Editing, Sound Design…) .
If “Top Gun: Maverick” disrupts the 2023 Oscars party, we could see some people start rewatching the gala in earnest.
The film’s Blu-ray edition gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s elaborate production.
“I’m not ready to do a sequel until we have a story in particular worthy of a sequel,” Cruise said in one of the Blu-ray additions, “Deleted to Take Off.” That may sound like a Movie Star, but the existence of “Maverick” backs up his claim.
The actors went through rigorous training before they ascended to the sky, and we see them pass their steps with professional shots.
It’s all a game, if a little scary, of what’s to come. And that makes sense. They had to endure tough training on the water, G-force exposure and more before they were able to recreate the film’s flight sequences.
“Breaking New Ground” reveals up to six cameras were used on different planes to capture the necessary footage. And Cruise’s passion for flying is reflected in “Love Letters to Air”.
“It’s really the kind of movie they don’t make anymore,” said Christopher McQuarrie, a longtime Cruise collaborator and co-writer of “Maverick.”
Those are all more reasons that Oscar voters should invite “Top Gun: Maverick” to the 2023 Oscars.