The 1986 explosion”Top Guns“It is both a movie and a pop culture moment.
The latter is more important, given the tenor of the times. President Ronald Reagan lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW DC, and his confidence boosted the nation. Pop hits like “Danger Zone” and “Take My Breath Away” have smashed the Billboard charts, and rightfully so.
The movie’s star, Tom Cruise, couldn’t be the more handsome or powerful movie star in the industry – even if 1985’s “Legend” showed his commercial flaw.
“Top Gun” is the right movie at the right time, even if the movie itself isn’t great.
So that leaves “Top Gun: Maverick?”
Delayed sequel can’t replicate Reagan-era optimism or rah-rah patriotism of the original. This is 2022, and cheering for an outspoken white male military hero is problematic for a small but vocal minority that runs the culture.
Don’t say that to Cruise.
The ageless star has complete control over his cinematic destiny, and he’s clearly helped “Maverick” avoid most, if not all, of the pitfalls of culture war.
No hand squeezes out the military prowess or expansive calculations of its mighty hero, for starters. No lecture on America’s imperfect past or gender inequality.
And, suffice it to say, “Top Gun: Maverick” wasn’t awakened at all. However, it is testament to American excellence and ability to hit the target regardless of the odds.
It’s classic. Really… refreshing.
Cruise is back, of course, as Pete Mitchell, better known by his call sign, Maverick. He’s been rocking around the Navy for a while, never rising above Captain status.
Maverick doesn’t play by the rules, in case you weren’t paying attention.
However, he is still assigned his most formidable task yet – training the newest class of Top Gun graduates to implement a nuclear enrichment facility in an unknown country.
Yes, the movie “Top Gun” once again sparks war against an unknown enemy. It’s quaint and strangely welcome in our tribal times.
Maverick is no teacher, at least on paper. He’s the best of the best, a pilot like no other. That’s not to say someone despises manuals and lecturing kids on air combat techniques. Plus, one of the Top Gun graduates is Rooster (Miles Teller, excellent), the son of Maverick’s old friend Goose (Anthony Edwards), who died in “Top Gun”.
That guilt hasn’t subsided for over 30 years.
“Top Gun: Maverick” isn’t afraid to trace back a blueprint from the 80s.
- Leather jacket
- Characteristic shades
- Long song fueled by testosterone
- Beach scene with tanned skin
It also couldn’t hold back the nostalgia, from the endless pictures of Goose and his companions. to a heartfelt reunion with Iceman (Val Kilmer). Try to keep the lump in your throat at bay during the process.
“Top Gun” flame Kelly McGillis hasn’t reunited, but Jennifer Connelly could keep the romantic storyline intact as another woman from Maverick’s past. She is strong and fierce, but she is here to control her old self while making him a better man.
This isn’t your stupid Maverick, and that’s understandable. He’s older, and his arrogance has grown in ways that make the character more appealing.
The smug baton passed to Glen Powell, the most arrogant of the rookies. He’s a handsome guy with a leisurely attitude, but the movie realizes he’s not the center of attention.
It’s Cruise, grappling with his past and the Rooster’s future.
Director Joseph Kosinski, who previously teamed up with Cruise for the gripping “Oblivion,” is very focused on the sequel’s IMAX possibilities. We are dealing with several fly sequences, each outperforming the last. Few movies are designed specifically for summer viewing like “Maverick”.
There’s humor here, too, enough to puncture some of my assembled egos and give the sequel a sense of humanity. This may be a flashy blockbuster, but the potential for loss of life gets pretty big attention.
The “Fast & Furious” franchise should have some caveats.
– Top Gun (@TopGunMovie) May 11, 2022
We were assigned not one but two authority figures for Maverick to torture. Ed Harris got too little screen time in that role, while Jon Hamm took over early as the Colonel’s Attorney & Regulation.
The Top Gun graduates all acquitted themselves, but the story didn’t give any of the pilots enough time to reveal themselves.
The exception? The Storyteller’s Rooster. The talented star leans in his fury, and the tension between him and Maverick is what powers the dizzying third act.
The passage of time never turned off the screen for too long, even if Cruise refused to age. Maverick is dubbed by opponents as a relic, a creature of the past. They are not wrong. What Cruise’s Maverick does in this great sequel is show them, and Hollywood, you never count on a hero.
Hit or miss: “Top Gun: Maverick” is the best kind of sequel. It includes source material and improves it whenever possible. Maverick is far from flying.