Welcome back to the danger zone. You may not think you need a sequel to the best movie of the 80’s, but Top Gun: Maverick is a lot more wildly entertaining than it is entitled to be. Flying to theaters on May 27, Top Gun 2 restarts the shocking aerial action of the original film, the infectiously funny drama with the characters and military fetishism don’t think too hard in a winning spectacle of cinematic escape.

More than 35 years have passed since the release of the original Top Gun Tom Cruise he used his widest smile as a U.S. Navy pilot with a point of proof and childish enjoyment of playing with high-speed toys (which are just designed to kill people, but whatever). Cruz has reportedly resisted for decades, but it turns out that if you wait long enough, the story presents itself. He returns to the cockpit as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, still feeling the need for speed, no matter what the superiors say. And now enough time has passed since the death of his co-pilot Guz in the original film for Guz’s son to become a fully grown man.

Played by Miles Teller, the son is a chip from an old wedge flying under the call sign “Rooster”. When Maverick is summoned to train the next generation of cocky children on a suicide mission in the style of “Dambusters Meeting-Death”, the couple is locked in a trapping course. “And here we go,” as one character ironically notes about Maverick’s anti-authoritarian antics, but he can speak of a complete re-creation of the shiny thrills of the original film.

Miles Teller is the next generation of cocky jockeys on the cockpit of Top Gun: Maverick.


From the moment you hear the instantly recognizable sound of the synthesizer bell in Harold Faltermeier’s thrilling anthem of Top Gun, it’s as if the last 30 years have never happened. The introductory captions describe Maverick, like the original, as a production of Don Simpson / Jerry Bruckheimer, although Simpson died in 1996. The caption explaining the concept of the US Navy’s School of Combat Weapons uses the same wording as the first film. And everywhere, director Joseph Kosinski and cameraman Claudio Miranda faithfully recreate the cinematic style of the late Tony Scott, from a lighted, lively cockpit to straight silhouettes lined up in a hangar. This new version even begins by throwing you into the controlled chaos of the aircraft carrier’s cockpit by recreating the iconic intro of the first film (probably).

This cockpit sequence has nothing to do with what follows, but it’s still a pretty great introduction that instantly immerses you in the familiar feel of a movie you may have watched many times or may not have watched for years. More importantly, it is felt real, the film that exposes its stagnation from the start: It’s about real things like fighters and sailboats and proper old-fashioned stunts, not fake things like drones and phones and computer-generated spectacles. Marketing does a great job of how actors really got on planes, and while there are undoubtedly many invisible CGIs – as in any movie, whether you notice it or not – At least every shot feelings as if it was really done. Unlike recent blockbusters (um, Marvel movies) that keep you out of action with obviously impossible camera angles and super-peak CG effects, Top Gun: Maverick uses the original’s visual language, claustrophobically crashing into the cockpit or crashing into the cockpit. shakes as he struggles to cope with a screaming jet.

Making this explicit connection to such a favorite movie is a risk, of course. The first film was full of iconic moments and quotes, and the sequel does nothing more than rearrange the planes in the cockpit. Still, he is quite reserved with phrases and callbacks. Yes, the Maverick leather jacket and motorcycle get their own themed tune. But the fighters and aircraft carriers provided by the United States Navy are not the only great weapons used in the sequel: the best pistol in Top Gun’s arsenal is Cruise’s still explosive charisma.

While the film once again evokes credibility with the deification of Maverick and his divine flying abilities, Cruz’s secret weapon is always his desire to look stupid. So the over-action is balanced with attractive humor and even a bit of pathos in Cruz’s relationship with the younger pilots and his renewed romance with a bar owner. It is played by Jennifer Connelly, another star who rose in the 80’s (see who sang in the jukebox when he first appeared). With Connelly as his old flame and Teller as his surrogate son, Cruz’s aging Maverick provides enough heart to keep things going as he struggles with the prospect of leaving the danger zone behind.

Take to the skies in Top Gun: Maverick.


There is no disguise that much of the story is a repetition of the original. For example, Cruz takes on the role of Kelly McGillis, just for fun. But somehow, despite the fact that everything is focused on a mission of life or death, the bets do not feel as immediate as the first time. The original film was fueled by the feeling that Maverick was really dangerous to the people around him, but this new model does not capture the same rapid inflow into the danger zone. Partly because younger models look more like models than warriors. But the main problem is that the mission is so incredibly specific to the needs of the plot. The G-force of narrative stupidity will begin to crush your brain, especially when a late-stage turnaround triggers afterbursts and jets to the point of absurdity that may tempt you to catapult.

There are certainly reasons why you don’t like a movie like this, whether it’s about Cruz’s personal life or the film’s undeniable attitude toward war. Matthew Modine and Brian Adams were among the stars of the ’80s who refused to participate in the original because of its jingoistic tone, which was a reaffirmation of American military (and male) power after Vietnam. Even Cruz resisted for a while because he did not want to glorify the war. It’s weird that Top Gun: Maverick is so bloodless and undisturbed by ambiguity that it hardly feels like a war movie. These are just boys with toys. There’s a vague plot about John Ham’s pencil neck in the tower that makes the pilots complete the mission and not so much come back alive, but that only makes the film’s explicit disregard for unmanned drones somewhat confusing. In fact, a much truer sequel to Top Gun: Good Kill was made a few years ago, in which Ethan Hawke plays the pilot of a Cruise-style fighter exiled on duty with a drone, losing his mind in a metal box in the Las Vegas desert while pushes a button and kills civilians thousands of miles away.

Top Gun: Meanwhile, Maverick doesn’t even tell us who Tom is fighting. There is an unnamed impersonal adversary, black helmets and boogie, deprived of sovereignty or even humanity. The eternal enemy, out there, is doing vaguely defined, bad-sounding things that need to be blown up by missiles, helicopters, and aircraft carriers. Your tax dollars at work.

But who cares about that? This isn’t Private Ryan’s Rescue, this is Top Gun. Don’t ask who the synthesizer is ringing for, because the synthesizer bell rings for anyone who loves a great action popcorn movie that’s as enjoyable as it is ridiculous. Top Gun: Maverick is great. The film continues to insist that this is Maverick’s latest post, but this polished action movie is a fun way to fly to sunset.


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