It’s hard to put words to the genre of film Top Gun: Maverick is, and part of that is due to the film’s true nature of being the definitive action movie, as well as Captain Pete Mitchell’s own philosophy of doing first, asking questions later.
You see, while Dominic Toretto’s rise from mechanic and part-time street racer to James Bond security clearance level is an impressive feat, the Fast and Furious the franchise could never hope to achieve the same mastery of the genre that Joseph Kosinski, Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise did with Top Gun: Maverick. It does this by exalting the role of the hero, creating several conflicts and working as one hell of a motivational montage, in addition to having a romantic trim which, combined with its nostalgia, made it the greatest film of 2022.
Upon its release, one of the most puzzling aspects of Top Gun: Maverick was the lack of a concrete antagonist, and while that may be a consequence of the choppy political waters and heightened cultural sensitivities these days, it’s amazing how little the movie really needs one. There are several views on this, as one could argue that soldiers rarely look their enemy in the eye to acknowledge their humanity, especially in modern warfare (not the Call of Duty genre), something the film perfectly captures by never showing the enemy pilots’ faces.
However, a smarter angle might be that the Superior gun The sequel doesn’t require a fixed enemy like the Soviet Union, as it’s devoid of the Cold War narrative that existed in so many action movies dating back to the original’s time. Let’s be clear, nuclear proliferation and any awareness of contemporary events point to Iran as the “enemy”, but none of that matters, because the real antagonist are the personal battles to which the former captain have to face.
Maverick is a “better to apologize than ask permission” type, and while he’s always been happy to deal with the repercussions, at this age they start to get a little too much. The Navy is about to clip his wings, only Iceman being alive kept him safe, he was never able to commit to the only woman he still has feelings for, and Rooster, the thing the closest he has to a son, despises him because Maverick once thought he could make decisions that were his.
Admiral Cain is the first symbol of the era to catch up with Maverick, who is yet another victim of automation these days, but the antagonistic forces are building up in the form of his commander in the new mission, taking on Rooster. , Penny acting as “the one who got away”, and – of course – the deadly mission itself. These strengths also exist within the Top Gun program, where every pilot knows they face the biggest challenge of their young career, whether it’s Rooster managing his nerves or Hangman learning a thing or two about the job of crew.
Is it the most compelling plot imaginable? That’s hardly true, but no one goes to see an action movie for that reason, instead it’s believable enough to invite moviegoers to the cinema to see something that sometimes doesn’t seem to belong in the present.
The rest at its best
In the vein of the films he embodies, Top Gun: Maverick is incredibly predictable because no matter how much he wants the public to believe that Cruise is going to die, there’s no way that idea will land. It’s easy to see Hangman fly in to save the day, as the entire movie stages a hero’s welcome for Maverick and Rooster.
The almighty Maverick is shot down not just to save Rooster, but to make the whole mission more epic, regardless, the movie doesn’t exaggerate as much in the action genre. The same goes for its romantic subplot, it’s there because it’s fun, because 35 years later, Maverick is getting all aspects of his life in order, and if that aspires to be the modern homage to classics of the 80s and 90s, it would have been better to come romance, but not as cheesy as it was then.
While it’s sad to see that Val Kilmer’s health is the very circumstance that makes his reunion with Cruise so emotional, it reflects the sentiment of the two characters coming together at that point in their lives when death begins to strike, perhaps. -to be one of the most human experiences for a man entering his sixties. The fact that it’s all wrapped up in a stunning package of some of the finest, most realistic action Hollywood has to offer, with no overworked VFX artists guaranteed, is just icing on the cake.
Top Gun: Maverick is a sequel that shouldn’t exist, as that was the belief of its creators before it miraculously came to life, but it’s also a sequel that doesn’t have to be as good as it is, it didn’t need to be to become profitable, yet it’s out of pure love for the art of cinema. There is no greater testament to the greatness of this film than the fact that no other film in recent memory has done so well without the help of the force, dinosaurs, superheroes or China’s endorsement because Maverick, much like Tom Cruise, is his own superhero, the kind that come Halloween many will want to dress up as.
MORE: What PS5 Jailbreak Means For The Console