“I feel the need … the need for speed!”
Top Gun is one of those movies that is synonymous with the big movies of the 80s. It was a big budget movie with lots of action, drama and a universal story. After thirty-six years, the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, is finally here. Although this sequel is not very innovative, it is a good start to the summer season of blockbusters.
More than thirty years after graduating from Top Gun, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is still serving in the Navy. He is currently a test pilot for a branch of the military testing a new supersonic aircraft. He is asked to return to the Top Gun by his former opponent and now good friend Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer). There he is tasked with preparing a group of the best fighter pilots for a secret and very dangerous mission.
†Remember, boys, no points for second place “
The original Top Gun movie was a big hit. It was the most-watched film of 1986. The film was also successful in other areas: the film increased sales of bomber jackets and Ray-Ban’s famous Aviator sunglasses. In addition, the film also proved to be a good recruitment video for the U.S. Navy. Following the release of Top Gun, the number of registrations increased by five hundred percent.
Although the film was a huge success, Cruise did not immediately see the need to make a sequel. In an interview with BBC Radio 1, he indicated that the film studio Paramount wanted to make a plan for a sequel, even before the original film was released. Cruise, however, was not interested. He would first focus on other roles. A sequel always haunted his mind. But only if everything (the story, the film style and the moment) were right would he play the role of Maverick one last time. In 2017, the moment came and filming started.
“Talk to me, goose”
In addition to the many action scenes with planes, the film also has some dramatic story lines. Among the pilots Maverick will be training is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller). He is the son of Maverick’s late best friend Goose. At the beginning of the film, one notices that there is some tension between the two. In the film, it is discussed in detail and you also get to know a little more about what happened to both characters between the two films.
Charlie (Kelly McGillis), Maverick’s love interest, does not return in this movie. She was not asked to repeat her role. Instead, Jennifer plays Connelly Penny, Maverick’s ex. And that was unfortunately one of the film’s negative sides, because even though Connelly is a very good actress, her story did not quite come out. Clearly, she and Maverick were a love couple with a complex past, and that can not just be explained in a few scenes.
†It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot ”
The film does not make much use of CGI. The action scenes you see in the movie are all filmed with real F18s. For this, the film crew received help from the real Top Gun school. The actors took seats in the back of an F18 and even operated the cameras with which they recorded their scenes. Meanwhile, the pilots performed the various stunts.
Before the cast was allowed to do this, they had to go through a three-month training course. The goal of the training was to prepare the actors in the best possible way for all the jokes and G-forces they would experience during flight and movies. The training was largely composed by Tom Cruise himself. This was because he had the most experience in doing stunts in aircraft, and also because he himself has a pilot certificate.
“I am where I belong”
Throughout Top Gun: Maverick, there are also many nods to the previous film. It opens, for example, with a musical cover of the song Take My Breath Away by Berlin, which turns into the song Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. There is also a moment in the film where Rooster sits at the piano and plays the song Great Balls of Fire, just like his father Goose did in the first film. And of course, there are also many different cheesy one-liners, just like before.
Top Gun: Maverick is more than a worthy sequel to the classic. Where in the original one could say that the characters were a bit one-dimensional and the action scenes were not completely composed, this is certainly not the case here. The film is a Tom Cruise special. It delivers what you would expect from his film: spectacular action scenes without CGI and an entertaining story. Made with great care, this is a movie that will surely delight old fans but also introduce new fans to The Need … The Need For Speed.