Warning: This review may contain spoilers.
It was with great anticipation that we went to see the new movie, Top Gun: Maverick, which is the sequel to the original that came out in 1986. Maverick was supposed to be released in 2019, but it was delayed twice—once for technical reasons and again because of the COVID pandemic. Let me just say that it was well worth the wait. It is a very entertaining film. It has the potential to single-handedly revitalize the struggling movie industry. The word of mouth on this movie is off-the-charts.
In this latest film, Tom Cruise’s character, Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, again finds himself on the outs with Navy leadership after a disastrous stint as a test pilot . But his old friend, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, Commander of the Pacific Fleet, played by Val Kilmer, asks him to come to Top Gun to teach a new crop of students and prepare them for a special mission. The catch is that one of the young pilots is Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Goose, Maverick’s former wingman, who was killed in an accident in the first film while flying with Maverick.
One of the great things about this movie is that it works on all levels—story, action, special effects, acting, writing, etc. Not only is the movie extremely entertaining, it is full of great lines and moments that suggest a non-woke and pro-American perspective.
First of all, there is no LGBT or social justice agenda in the film (and that is refreshing)—just an old-fashioned heterosexual love story between Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly’s characters. When Maverick goes sailing with his new love interest (Kelly McGillis wasn’t asked to return for the sequel), there is also a large American flag on the boat.
Tom Cruise’s character by nature is non-woke. His name, Maverick, means an independent, non-conformist person who dissents or rebels against the conventional way of doing things. This is a very non-woke idea since being woke is all about conformity. When Maverick stands before the young pilots on his first day of teaching, the first thing he does is throw out the tech manual to the F/A-18. He knows that the real world is a lot different than the one the intellectuals imagine it to be.
At one point in the movie, Cruise justifies his tough treatment of the young pilots whom he’s training by telling Vice Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson that they have been told their whole lives that they are the best, and he suggests that they need a reality check for this mission. I see this line as an attack on the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality so prevalent in our current culture.
After Maverick is relieved of his duties by the above mentioned vice admiral, Maverick jumps in his F/A-18 and shows them that the mission can be done. This goes along with his “Do, don’t think” advice that he gives to Rooster. This is another example of non-wokism since the woke left is always lecturing people about something they themselves won’t do.
A man versus technology theme also runs throughout the film. The issue of why Americans were having to go up against an enemy with fifth-generation fighters was subtly raised. America has fifth-generation fighters like the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning, but in this film the Americans are flying fourth-gens. This could be a commentary on how China is beginning to surpass the USA in military technology, but it could also serve to reinforce another piece of advice from Maverick—that it’s not the plane, but the pilot inside, that makes the difference.
The woke have a disdain for the older generation, but in this film, it’s the younger generation who get shown up by the older Maverick. When the young pilots make a deal with Maverick that whoever gets shot down in training has to do push ups, it’s not the instructor who is out sweating on the tarmac.
When Maverick tells Cyclone that completing the mission isn’t enough—that he also wants the pilots to come home afterwards, I thought of the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Now the film was made before that event. But this line could be seen as a criticism of the callousness of political elites, who no longer show the same concern that they once did for the men and women in uniform making sacrifices for freedom.
One of the most touching scenes is when Maverick goes to see Iceman, who has throat cancer. This plot line reflected reality as the actor Val Kilmer also had cancer. Iceman tells Maverick that he chose him to teach these pilots because the Navy needs people like him. I especially liked this line considering the woke infiltration of our military in recent years. Iceman also encourages Maverick to let go of the past so he can help Rooster and teach him what he needs to learn. It was great to see these two veteran actors together in this emotional scene.
Some interesting trivia about the film: the P-51 Mustang in the film was Tom Cruise’s own plane; also, according to PopSugar.com, the actors had to go through several hours of actual flight training, including experiencing 8 G’s. In addition, there was a Taiwanese flag on the back of Maverick’s leather jacket that was taken out for the trailer but later put back in. When it was put back in, China became upset. A Chinese investor in the film also pulled out when relations between the United States and China soured.
The film does a good job of combining elements from the first movie with new characters and plot lines. Maverick brings nostalgia and excitement at the same time. It touches your heart, but it’s also an adrenaline rush that packs plenty of action into 2 hours and 10 minutes. Who knows? You may even get to see an F-14 Tomcat make an appearance. That was the icing on the cake for me.
Top Gun: Maverick is a movie that you don’t want to miss, especially if you’re a fan of the first film. This new film will entertain you, but it will also make you proud to be an American. And that is something that is rare these days in Hollywood. The film is rated PG-13 for language.