Faced with the most arrogant pilot in naval aviation history, Rear Admiral Chester Hummer Kane (Ed Harris) is not surprised. “Your species is on the verge of extinction,” he told Pete Maverick’s only Pete, Mitchell. The admiral talks about the aging of fighter pilots in an era when bombs were dropped remotely from a shopping center near Las Vegas. But he also speaks in a metatextual way about the legend who plays that legend: Hollywood’s aging but ageless golden boy, Tom Cruise, pushes 60 but still climbs the cockpits at a time when his “appearance” – the movie star, which is equally irrelevant to the film – it really added to the list of endangered species.

This kind of wink is common in so-called inherited sequels, a very self-conscious strain of the modern franchise sequel. And yet there is hardly a hint of irony in it Top Gunn: Maverick, decades later a sequel to one of the most anomalous hits of the 80’s. At the beginning of the film, Cruz removes the tarpaulin from that old motorcycle, the one he rode in ’86, and the moment is so overwhelmed with awe that you almost expect it to be accompanied by a 21-gun salute. This is a film deeply in love with its protagonist and the movie star, who repeats this role, and perhaps even in the fantasy of a reviving America.

It’s a little fun to see such muted reverence applied Top Gun, of all the box office sensations. Made with the collaboration and final approval of the script by the US Navy, this film was a celebrated (and quite successful) recruitment commercial, backed by the sleek craft of its director, the late Tony Scott, and his sweaty faces and bodies. cast. It was popcorn propaganda with all the depth and soul of a Pepsi ad. Top Gun has endured mostly as a kitschy object, an antique of superficial patriotism and an excess of the 80’s. But Maverick takes him seriously, which is one of the keys to his glittering romantic charm.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, who works with Cruz Forget itbut more appropriately targeted Throne: Inheritance (another expensive, gentle upgrade from a one-of-a-kind 80’s movie) fills Scott’s big boots, devoting himself entirely to his aesthetic of the magic hour. The first few minutes come a staggering distance from the scene of a frame-by-frame remake, as the same opening epigraph fills the screen with the same font, while the same synthesizer score by Harold Faltermeier rises majestically on the soundtrack. One beat later, it was replaced by the familiar sounds of Kenny Logins and the familiar sight of massive metal birds taxiing around the track, passing through clouds of smoke from a music video. The film is ritual in its replicas.

Maverick correctly accepts a Top Gun plot too. Which is to say, there is hardly one. After avoiding raids for decades, as any incorrigible rebel should, the cruise veteran pilot has been reassigned to his old treadmills outside San Diego, where he will take several young pilots under his wing. We remind you that the actor participated in a hereditary sequel the same year Top Gun came out playing the hot protégé in that of Martin Scorsese The color of money. Nearly four decades later, he is now in the role of Paul Newman. His group of selfish millennial hot dogs with colored call signs includes the socially awkward Bob (Louis Pullman), the steel breaker of the Phoenix Boys’ Club (Monica Barbaro), and the team’s cowboy antagonist, The Executioner (Glen Powell).

Miles Teller Stews.

There is also Rooster (Miles Teller), whose shades and hairstyle reveal his secret identity as the son of Gus, the hero of Anthony Edwards, tragically killed in the original. The rooster snorted in indignation at Maverick, who had been trying for a long time to keep the kid, the offspring of his dead wing, away from the sky. This is the boldest dramatic choice of the film, building the whole emotional conflict of the story around the continuing guilt of our hero and the shock waves of the degenerate Goose incident, sent down through the generations.

Kosinski’s aerial actions are breathtaking. Like Scott, he knows how to convey altitude and speed and consistently cross between cockpits to turn any training exercise into a group show of dilemmas and volleys. The screenplay, co-written by frequent Cruise collaborator Christopher Macquarie, devises an emergency ritual to complete the new class: an attack on a uranium plant that is like the Death Star operation, cut short by frightening chances of Mission Impossible set piece. Of course, the real enemy remains nervous, strategically undiscovered, just as it was in the first film – the faceless international “fraudulent state”. As always, Top Gun exists in a geopolitical Bermuda Triangle, abstracting war into a kind of “big game” at the end of a sports film free of larger global stakes.

Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly hug on the track.

Maverick is too fetishistically committed to the old blockbuster plan to appear fully as its own film. But scene after scene, this is a better time than Top Gun – more agile, more exciting, more soulful. This abandons Scott’s self-parody habit of queuing up the same songs without nausea. And the film seems to understand that bromance has always been more important Top Gunpopularity than romance. Kelly McGillis is apparently absentthe civil love interest from the first film. Maverick fills the void by farther courtship with ’80s girlfriend Jennifer Connelly, who plays a cocktail waitress who Maverick is said to have courted before. (Her character is briefly mentioned in the first film.) The two stars have calm chemistry as old flames rekindle the flames, although none of their scenes are as impactful as the one Cruz shares with Val Kilmer, stopping by for a cameo that works The real battle of the latter with throat cancer in history.

The real love story here is between the camera and Cruz. It’s kind of intense and relaxed, bringing in some of that characteristically charismatic determination, while withdrawing from the slight melancholy of Maverick’s journey through the memory tape, taking stock of how he changed after those quiet days in Reagan’s America. (This is really him on the plane, of course – as in Mission Impossibleby Ethan Hunt, it can be difficult to tell where the fictional daredevil ends and the real one begins.) Kosinski enjoys the controversy of Cruz’s stellar power as an older statesman of multiplex coolness: What we’re watching is a summer film Adonis Admits Advanced his years, enduring cracks from old times, even when he jumps into each cascade with a vain challenge to the aging process.

Maverick provides, as inherited sequels so often do, that his characters are analog relics in the digital world – what you need to put Top Gun in modern times it is an act of anachronistic fulfillment of desires. But frankly, the original was also quite anachronistic: opening up at a time when aerial combat was fast becoming a thing of the past, it applied a kind of romanticism of the greatest generation to the more volatile pillars of the Cold War door; His presentation of future recruits was a vision of military life (and fame) that had little to do with modern reality. This makes Maverick mirage of mirage, nostalgia for a world that never existed. That’s why it’s such a perfect vehicle for Cruise, Tinseltown Dorian Gray, whose impossibly preserved physique is his own organic aging technology. He is a timeless movie star, shining brightly in a dream of America.

Top Gunn: Maverick opens in cinemas everywhere on Friday, May 27. For more reviews and writing from AA Dowd, visit his Author’s page.

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