Top Gun: Maverick

Well, the crazy sonofabitches did it. They made a 36-years-later-part-two to TOP GUN. Tony Scott had actually developed a script and scouted locations before he died. Eventually the duty fell upon Joseph Kosinski, who had previously directed Cruise in OBLIVION (2013) and who ushered in the age of legacy sequels with the 2010 smash hit cultural sensation TRON: LEGACY [This review’s factual accuracy is disputed].

I gotta admit that I was unreasonably excited just to hear the electronic beat of Harold Faltermeyer’s TOP GUN anthem over the production company logos – I love that synthesized gong sound – and it’s kind of comical how much they mine that type of nostalgia at the beginning of this movie. The original opening title card, the original theme, “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, similar footage of jets landing on an aircraft carrier – is this just gonna be a re-enactment?

Then we reunite with Captain Peter “Pete” “Maverick” “Mav” Mitchell (Tom Cruise, THE MUMMY), fittingly working as an experimental test pilot. He dons his old patch-covered leather jacket and aviators (both kept in places of honor as if he understands their iconographic significance) and rides his motorcycle very fast to the hangar.

If this was really about being a challenging work of art and not just nostalgia, it would always move beyond what was done in the first movie, and therefore it would not settle for just the same old driving fast on a motorcycle. In such a work, Maverick would feel the need – the need for doing a wheelie and then going off a jump and doing a flip. Unfortunately Cruise probly insisted on doing the stunt himself and some suit probly told Kosinski it was too dangerous and also just a bad idea for the movie and Kosinski, being a normal person/responsible adult, thought they had a point and decided not to do it. An act of complete artistic/wheelie cowardice.

But here’s how they make it work even without wheelies. The original TOP GUN is famously set on the highway to the Danger Zone. The sequel has Maverick spending a whole lot of time in the actual Danger Zone. He might apply for dual citizenship by the end. Right here at the beginning his experimental jet test program (“the hypersonic Darkstar scramjet,” according to Wikipedia) has been cancelled by a mean old stinker (Ed Harris, ABSOLUTE POWER), so Maverick pulls a total Maverick, does the test run anyway and risks his life to break a speed record nobody including him thought they were anywhere near ready for today. Why not? What’s there to lose?

There’s an interesting detail, though, that he believes this will end his career but save all the other people working on the project. So he’s still the world’s biggest show off like when we last saw him, but now he’s found a way to do it as a selfless act.

After becoming the new Chuck Yeager or whatever he gets reprimanded and told to clear out his locker because for the first time after so many decades of getting away with being the absolute worst just because he’s the absolute best he is finally going to have to face some accounta— whoops, scratch that, Admiral Kazansky has a special assignment for him, he will receive no negative repercussions let alone time in the brig. Maverick, you rascal!

Kazansky is, of course, Val Kilmer’s part 1 character, call sign Iceman, who very justifiably objected to Maverick’s wildly irresponsible (and in one case fatal) cavalcade of aviatory dick-waggling, and therefore was portrayed as an uptight party pooper. But at the end Maverick managed to pull off a good thing where he only killed the people he was supposed to, so there’s a “You’re alright, LaRusso!” moment.

I feel it’s unearned, but I’m a sucker for fight-brotherhood, so I like that we learn here they have been very close friends ever since, to the point that Iceman has used his clout to keep Maverick from losing his career over all his shenanigans. Kilmer does appear briefly in the movie and I was concerned they would do some kind of bio-digital jazz because of him losing his voice from throat cancer, but they found a nice way to do it.

Maverick’s new assignment is to return to the elite flight academy from part 1 and train the best young pilots in the world for some extremely risky business. A mission impossible, if you will. This American made legend is gonna have to teach a few good men all the right moves or they’re gonna be collateralled into oblivion and somebody’s gonna play “Taps.” You see those are the names of some of the Tom Cruise movies is why I wrote it like that.

I think this is interesting because the first film is not really an action movie, it’s more about fuckin around with jets and then falling in love and then they have an exciting but very small international incident toward the end. A sequel that small would be disappointing so they wisely took the IRON EAGLE path. Specifically, the plot is kinda like IRON EAGLE ON THE ATTACK (young pilot from part 1, now older, is recruited by old friend to teach young pilots) meets IRON EAGLE II (young pilots train for a dangerous mission to destroy a compound and prevent an enemy from gaining nuclear powers). Of course, MAVERICK has greater production value than the entire IRON EAGLE series combined, but I’m glad they pay their respects to the originator.

Written by Ehren Kruger (REINDEER GAMES), Eric Warren Singer (AMERICAN HUSTLE) and Christopher McQuarrie (JACK REACHER), story by Peter Craig (BLOOD FATHER) and Justin Marks (STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI) based on characters created by Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr. (ANACONDA), MAVERICK unsurprisingly builds off the most notable event in part 1: that time when Maverick was too competitive in a stupid fucking training engagement and got his best friend killed. Now it’s kinda awkward because Goose’s orphaned baby son has grown into Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller, FANTASTIC FOUR), one of the pilots Maverick has to train and possibly send to his possible death.

On one hand they kinda let Maverick off the hook about Goose’s death, because we find that he’s had a relationship with Rooster throughout his life and the tension we’re seeing here is about a different thing that Rooster’s mad at him for. On the other hand, Maverick clearly feels guilt about it and fears getting Rooster killed just like he did to his old man. As he says, if he sends Rooster he could die, and if he doesn’t send him Rooster will never forgive him. A good dramatic situation.

Obviously this is a pretty similar idea to CREED – the kid following in his late father’s footsteps, the father’s friend feeling a responsibility to him. It’s nice to have that relationship at the heart of the movie. It is different than CREED, though, because it’s not TOP GUN: ROOSTER. It’s still centered on Maverick. I like how the introduction of the young characters happens while he’s sitting at the bar where the pilots hang out (meant to be one of the same ones from the first film, I think). He’s having a beer and watching the reboot of his life happening over by the pool table.

It’s nice that one of the boys gets to be a woman this time – Monica Barbaro as Lt. Natasha “Phoenix” Trace. But she’s one of those characters who’s there and gets some lines and then doesn’t get to amount to much by the end. The most memorable new character besides Rooster is Lt. Jake “Hangman” Seresin (Glen Powell, SPY KIDS 3, EXPENDABLES 3) who has obvious parallels to Iceman – he’s the cocky frontrunner pilot, he has issues with Maverick and Rooster, he comes across as a total dick even though he’s right, then they make up at the end.

But there was a little bit where I went from thinking “oh, this guy’s supposed to be like Iceman” to thinking all the insufferable smirking and bragging was to make him like Maverick, so Old Man Maverick could have sort of an Ebenezer Scrooge experience here and see his youthful adventures through new eyes. But either I was reading too much into it or they didn’t go very far with that. He ends up being kind of a Ryan Reynolds style “ain’t I a stinker?” loveable dickhead type character. It works.

But the scene loses me a little when Rooster plays piano and leads everyone in a singalong of the 65-year-old song “Great Balls of Fire” like his dad did in the first movie when it was a 29-year-old song. Is it supposed to be a coincidence, or does he remember that his dad did that one time? Did someone tell him? Even if he knows his dad liked to do that, why would he do it? Who the fuck does the same weird thing with their friends that their dad did with his? If they must have a piano callback, I think they should do a different song. And if it must be a reference, it should be Daft Punk’s theme to TRON: LEGACY. Obviously.

The more natural callback/remix part is the famous beach volleyball scene, which has become beach football. I like that they put a sort of KARATE KID spin on it where Maverick is having them do it for training reasons.

The central story of TOP GUN was about Maverick following his teacher into a public restroom and later getting her to suspend good adult judgment and have an unethical relationship with him. Charlie is not mentioned in MAVERICK, and Kelly McGillis has stated publicly that they’d never want her back because she unashamedly looks like a normal person of her age. I know she’s right and it’s gross but also, story-wise, I don’t think that relationship would be interesting to expand on anyway. What I actually wish they would’ve done (unless she wasn’t interested) is have her as one of the superior officers. [UPDATE: I have been reminded she was a civilian, so I guess she’d have to be the school principal or some shit.] Since she’s not I can only assume there was a huge scandal over her sleeping with her student and her career was ended but he was given a medal.

Anyway, Maverick rekindles a younger old flame when he runs into Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly, PHENOMENA), mentioned in the first film as an admiral’s daughter he (I thought) got in trouble for making a pass at. This seems to offer a different interpretation so that we don’t do the math of their age difference and consider the implications. Just like with Rooster, there’s a whole history in the interim between movies – they’ve seen each other off and on over the years, Maverick knows her teenage daughter Amelia (Lyliana Wray, MAXIMUM RIDE) and is confirmed not to be her father (phew).

Penny is a fun character, and she’s not as central to the story as Charlie was, but fittingly it’s a more mature relationship, and doesn’t seem like as poor of a choice for the characters. Also it switches Maverick from trying to impress by peacocking to trying to prove he can be better than he used to be.

There have been many responses to this movie that can only be described as rapturous, both from fans and non-fans of the original. I’m not even sure which of those categories I belong in so maybe that’s why I only think it’s good and fun and not the best whatever since you name it. I don’t think it’s one of those sequels that tries to subvert the original – it’s not a reconsideration of TOP GUN’s glorification of the military and/or douchebags.

Comparing it to the original, I think it’s a little less dumb and ridiculous, which could be a good thing, could be a bad thing. And while Kosinski and his regular d.p. Claudio Miranda made a nice looking and well constructed movie with some nods to Scott in its sunsets and stuff, it’s not, like, intoxicatingly beautiful. Nor does the music credited to Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga and Hans Zimmer (because Gaga has a song near the end) have nearly the same power as doing it for real the first time. No offense to soundtrack producer Lorne Balfe (), but there’s only one Giorgio Moroder in this world and his name isn’t Lorne Balfe, it’s Giorgio Moroder. Scott’s movie was pure cinema – a combination of visual style and music that was more important than plot or substance (see also: FLASHDANCE, from the same producers. Or TRON: LEGACY, from Kosinski himself.) I don’t think MAVERICK matches that.

But there’s one department in which the sequel undeniably holds its own and in fact blows the original out of the sky like a bogey, and that’s the aerial footage, which was largely shot with the actors flying around in real jets with cameras attached to them. Honestly I have no idea which parts of the movie are visual effects – I assume some things must be, but it all looks real to me. And that’s legitimately thrilling at times, even if the flying can’t be choreographed as clearly as a special effects dogfight movie like RED TAILS that’s basically animation with a camera that can do the impossible. Here the dialogue helps explain what’s going on in these ludicrously dangerous looking training exercises, and that’s okay. It’s a worthwhile trade off for giving us a ride up into the sky.

Oh also there’s a pretty intense sailing scene (Penny likes sailing) and I don’t think there’s any sailing in the first movie so part 2 has the superior sailing scenes.

When it comes to just being an action movie, I much prefer the sequel. I like the training-for-a-mission format, the OCEAN’S-ELEVEN-security-system level difficulty of the task, that the Navy considers it a likely suicide mission and is okay with that but Maverick insists on finding a way for them to do it without dying, and I especially like the oh-so-Maverick way he gets the higher ups (Jon Hamm, SPACE COWBOYS) not to cancel his plans. And the highs of the action intersect with the character drama since it’s all about the Maverick-Rooster relationship, and trying to semi-redeem himself for getting Goose killed for absolutely nothing by keeping his son safe doing something really important.

Also, extra points for giving us a little bit of time on the ground in enemy territory even while maintaining the part 1 tradition of never specifying the nationality or region of the enemy or showing any of their faces (the military recruiting movie equivalent of the adults in the Peanuts cartoons or Nanny on Muppet Babies). It’s pretty absurd that none of those things are mentioned even in the mission briefings. And I like absurd. So thumbs up to that aspect.

To summarize, this sequel can’t quite recreate the same magic as the original TOP GUN, if you agree with me that the magic of the original TOP GUN is complete ludicrousness and overwhelming visual and musical style. On the other hand, it is less stupid, I’m kind of more into the character drama, and it has some incredible jet fighter action. So it pales in comparison but also is way better.

Watching Kosinski’s ONLY THE BRAVE right before this might’ve been a mistake. As much as I liked Teller and Connelly in this, they both have much stronger characters to play in the fire fighter movie, and to me it’s a much deeper story about bros and danger and mentors and sacrifice and life. So seeing that and hearing all the superlatives for this maybe I hoped for something more. But without that, this might’ve been more than I expected. So I can’t complain. This is certainly a worthy TOP GUN 2, whatever that could mean.


If we must rank legacy sequels (as I’ve seen people doing) CREED is the champion. It’s just a perfect movie that builds off of its connection to ROCKY without ever leaning on it hard. It honors the series but stands on its own.

I think STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI qualifies and I love it for honoring the characters and the world by putting them in new places and expanding on their philosophies.

I am also fond of BLADE RUNNER 2049, I liked THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS, I suppose DOCTOR SLEEP counts but it’s really the less-SHINING-connected stuff that’s best about it.

And maybe TOP GUN: MAVERICK hovers somewhere just below those. It’s up there. It’s a good one.

(Some people include MAD MAX: FURY ROAD which obviously is better than all movies but I don’t think it fits this particular category.)


*cutting from emotional conversation to other characters seeing that it’s happening but not being able to hear it

*Jennifer Connelly spotting someone outside a window looking sad

WACKY BLUNDERS, BLOOPS AND HUMILIATING FUCK-UPS: The opening title card claims “the Navy calls it Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call it: Top Gun Maverick,” but we only ever hear it called “Top Gun.”


I hope the blu-ray has an extended version of that end scene where Penny tells her daughter “Can you go in there and get his attention? I’m going to stay here and pose by the car.”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2022 at 7:23 am and is filed under Action, Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

88 Responses to “Top Gun: Maverick”

  1. This is the second review in 24 hours that basically tells me that if you hate the original as much as I do, don’t waste your time and money on this sequel. Fair enough, I’ll watch something else then.

  2. Peter Campbell

    May 31st, 2022 at 8:56 am

    I had a similar reaction. Its good and enjoyable but not great. I also saw Only The Brave not long before this one and think that’s a much better film. In regards to the original I prefer Days Of Thunder even though its a bit of a mess.

  3. pegs: I kinda with you on this one. I don’t hate TOP GUN by any stretch, but I think it’s a pretty terrible movie that I only enjoy ironically. It’s not even really a movie; it’s a demo reel for what Tony Scott and to a lesser extent Tom Cruise could accomplish if somebody gave them a story worth telling and a part worth playing. (Still better than FLASHDANCE, which isn’t even that.) There isn’t a single thing in it worth being nostalgic over, so I am highly skeptical that this one’s magic is gonna work on me. The only thing I’m curious about is the aerial photography, and that barely gets a mention in this review. The Cruiser has earned the benefit of the doubt so I’ll check it out on video, but if it’s just two more hours of douchebag lifestyle porn and YVAN EHT NIOJ, I’m not sure I’ll get much out of it. The best I can hope for is that I’ll find it hilarious.

  4. Great review. A few random points:

    – Unlike on the first film, Maverick´s motivations aren’t selfishness and various insecurities. He at least tries to put other people’s interests before his pretty much the whole movie.
    – I think Hangman is definitely a young Maverick stand-in, what with his putting his own glory before others´safety, It says a lot that he (Spoilers!) doesn´t make the cut. It´s no deconstruction, but at least it offers a course correction.
    – Hamm is so good as the genre-mandated ballbusting, by-the-book superior officer.
    – Rooster´s “getting his Maverick on” was ridiculous, but at that point the cheese is everywhere, and I felt it was earned.
    – “Use the force, Maverick”
    – So, to make things symmetrical, can we get Friedman and Seltzer to make a shitty spoof of this one? They could call it Jet Movie, and include jokes about Marvel and whatnot.

  5. Count me into the “I can’t bring myself to watch this” club. I really don’t wanna piss on anybody’s enjoyment of 2P GUN (Or TOP ONE), but “The actors were actually flying the jets for real and IMAX cameras are now GoPro size, so this time we are flying with them!” isn’t enough of a selling point for me. Plus: Tom Cruise, whose ability as stuntman I do acknowledge, but who never gave me anything as an actor. It’s like Hollywood thought: “Hey, that CJ Holden guy really sucks. Let’s make a movie that gives him the ultimate Meh, so that everybody else can spend 2 hours in a movie theatre without worrying about him suddenly walking in and sitting in the same room as them.”

  6. “It’s nice that one of the boys gets to be a woman this time”
    There’s actually at least one other female pilot in the training program, callsign Halo. She doesn’t get any lines, except maybe one during the dogfighting training montage, but I like that she’s at least there instead of them being ostensibly progressive enough to not make them all men, but only have one woman.


    I like that they build up to acting as if Maverick is going to die on the mission, probably sacrificing his life for Rooster, and then just deny him that, and after the funny awkwardness of them arguing about it, it turns into a brief buddy comedy version of Behind Enemy Lines

  7. Yeah, I’m always surprised when people my age speak of Top Gun as a great movie from their childhood, like it was Star Wars or Indiana Jones. I had the soundtrack record checked out of the library forever, and knew that front to back, but the film is mostly about the influential aesthetic Scott set for that time (something I think a 40-year-later sequel has an impossible task of matching). I remember first seeing the poster for Top Gun at the multiplex as a little kid and being confused by what it even was. It looked less like a movie poster than a military-themed perfume commercial.

    I mostly agree with Vern on the sequel (though I think he liked it a little better). It’s more an immaculate monument to an old thing than am equivalently stylish new thing.

  8. For me, this one blows the first movie to pieces. I’ve always found that movie to be kind of annoying for reasons that Trey Parker eventually hit right on the head when discussing their Bruckheimer parody Team America World Police: “Instead of starting with the reluctant hero that sort of has to grow into manhood and has to accept his quest, [Bruckheimer] just sort of starts with a guy who is fuckin’ rad and thinks he’s rad. Sort of in the middle [he] starts thinking maybe [he’s] not so rad, and then in the end decides he’s really rad again. And that’s sort of the Jerry Bruckheimer hero. [It’s] really a horrible structure when you really look at it.”


    Trey Parker and Matt Stone pull strings with 'Team America'

    Ever since "South Park" made its 1997 debut on Comedy Central, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have been the premiere satirists of American culture. On the show Stone and Parker co-created, they have been the most vulgar and hilarious commentators on everything from religion to government.

    In the new one Maverick is awesome but he’s so much more sympathetic because this time from the first act onward he’s devoting his skills and winning qualities to solving the challenges of a real mission with real stakes, instead of just trying to prove how awesome he is. The whole mission sequence was masterfully done, too. I knew they’d succeed but didn’t know if everyone would make it out alive and it had me right there on the edge. I dug it.

  9. As always, a fair and balanced review from Vern.

    As I mentioned in my own comments in the original TOP GUN thread, it’s interesting to note that this is striking a chord in a demographic that’s generally been theatre-averse since the lockdowns and who don’t consider every MCU release such a Cultural Touchstone they need to storm theatres on the first week of Dr Strange 2, having booked tickets a week in advance.

    Instead, I saw this the second time with a group closer to my age, and some of them are stepping into a theatre after almost 3 years. When asked what broke this enforced cinematic hibernation, I get “Shit! It’s fucking TOP GUN man!”

    So, there’s a demographic that probably feels they’ve been under served, whose cinematic G-Spots MAVERICK is touching.

    Although I can’t completely sympathize with them, when it’s the same group that didn’t turn out in equal numbers for EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE and NORTHMAN. Who bitch and moan about how we’re not getting any GLADIATORs, TROYs and BRAVEHEARTs nowadays, and then proceeded to ignore THE LAST DUEL because Affleck and Damon had funny haircuts.

  10. Franchise Fred

    May 31st, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    I think part of what’s generating this enthusiasm is the sheer rarity of a movie spectacle delivering this well. I mean we used to always complain about the proliferation of Armageddons and Transformerses until a Dark Knight or John Wick came along to give us sustenance.

    I’m sure it was always a rarity, that’s why the Face/Offs and T2s stand out from the ID4s. But man in a world of Marvel and The Rock/Ryan Reynolds vehicles, this is one of the last tentpole movies that actually delivers a self contained thrill. The Mission Impossibles are the other and I guess we’ll get another John Wick next year.

    So I don’t think it’s the second coming but it’s doing what every damn studio movie should aspire to instead of slacking off like most do. I agree it’s no Cteed (or Cobra Kai) but it does way more than Ghostbusters Afterlife or many others do. And Top Gun only had 1 other movie to build off of!

    I also thought Charlie could’ve been a veteran instructor now. Hell she could’ve had the Jon Hamm role. Would’ve made sense why she didn’t like Maverick’s methods. Kosinski also brought back the boys but not Cindy Morgan for Tron: Legacy. It’s not a dealbreaker but it’s a bummer.

  11. Looking forward to the soon-to-be greenlit Jerry Maguire: Maguire and Jack Reacher: Reacher.

  12. I think this is the perfect “they don’t make them like they used to” analog of a movie.
    The epitome of a crowd pleaser, the pinnacle of responsible and audience friendly blockbuster film making.

    It thrills. It pulls your heartstrings. It (not once, not twice, but at least three times) has you on the edge of your seat BELIEVING what you see on screen via a combination of REAL jet fighter footage REAL cockpit footage and REALLY WELL HIDDEN special fx.

    The movie is the total package.
    Whoever doesn’t wanna see it because of his dislike or just no-interest for the original, fear not, this movie has callbacks BUT also has a totally different structure, real stakes, real emotions and will make you scream “FUCK YEAH” at the top of your lungs when the mission is over.
    Do yourself a favor, give your senses a gift, go see Top Gun Maverick. Cruise is the ONLY GUY working so hard to make blockbusters that are real MOVIES. Give him that!

  13. dreadguacamole

    June 1st, 2022 at 1:32 am

    I dunno.

    I hate the first one, but knew I had to watch this when I saw some of the fighter footage. I went in with extremely low expectations for everything else; I´d heard it had near universal acclaim, but so do a lot of movies I don´t like, a good example being the Mission:Impossible films – I go see them for the incredible action scenes, but find everything around them bloated and boring.
    The airborne scenes here are just as good as the previews make them look, and are plentiful. All the real footage means the planes have a weight and tactility that´s mostly missing in modern movies, and it´s the type of maximalist spectacle that really benefits from being seen in the biggest screen possible.
    The non-action ended up being good cheesy fun, much more nuanced than any Top Gun sequel had a right to expect. It´s also a very likeable film, which I find kind of incredible given its lineage.

    But it´s only my third favorite new movie I´ve seen this year so far, and I fully expect it to lag further behind before the year is done (Nope, Bullet Train, and have you guys seen the trailer for 3000 years of longing?) It´s still, like most movies these days, too long for its own good, and a bit too safe. If the flying bits in the trailer didn´t make you perk the fuck up like they did me, then it´s probably safe to temper expectations.

  14. Well this one ended up being a letdown for me.

    I just didn’t get it – I guess the big deal was the flying scenes – but I was sitting in the Cinesphere Imax theatre in Toronto in 2004 watching a documentary about fighter pilots filmed in Imax, and you can watch thousands of hours of cockpit high def footage from inside fighter jets on Youtube on my 80 inch tv screen (and have been able to watch this stuff since GoPro cameras became ubiquitous a decade ago) – so again – big deal about all the footage in this film. And those YouTube pilots have about as much character development as any of the characters in MAVERICK.

    And not to crap all over this too much – but some reviews have been making noise about how great it is that now there is a female fighter pilot – we’ve moved on so much from the 80s, except in the original TOP GUN the female lead was the goddamn expert teacher who taught them how to fight. Seems like more of a demotion for women in this one to me. Now the female lead runs a bar.

    And America – spending over 800 billion dollars a year on the military – threatened by Iran (25 billion dollars a year/3% of the US,) yeah sure.

    At least America had the balls to go toe to toe with a superpower in the original.

    And Joe Kosinski is a perfectly fine b – grade director, but he doesn’t have any of Tony Scott’s berserk tendencies or wacko verve.

    I mean there is not a single thing in MAVERICK that can be seen as a metaphor – the movie is entirely about exactly what it is saying or being about. Tony Scott was absolutely sure in the original about what the metaphor was when he was filming it.

    It’s too bad about Cruise – up to the mid 2000s (right around the time he made COLLATERAL in 2004/ WAR OF THE WORLDS in 2005 he was still ‘acting,’) working at his craft and collaborating with the great directors/filmmakers. When he found the right part, he was actually one of the best actors around – and he made a habit of working with directors who could get the best out of him. That has largely left him in the 15 years since then.

    Quite frankly as a person who loves great films I would love to see a ‘legacy’ sequel to the best film he made in 1986 – THE COLOR OF MONEY – it’s too bad he won’t have anything to do with Paul Thomas Anderson now – because a sequel to that film written and directed by PTA would be friggin’ amazing.

  15. BuzzFeedAldrin

    June 1st, 2022 at 7:07 am

    This sequel does sound like it’s trying to confer “legendary” status to the first Top Gun like the last two Ghostbusters movies did to their original. At this point, every property from the 80’s is somehow considered holy scripture and you must genuflect by making deep-cut references in your sequel.

    I’m glad to see that, so far, no one here holds Top Gun as “the best movie ever, brah!” which tracks with how I’ve witnessed the movie play out over time. Last i checked it was mainly viewed as a campy, testosterone – fueled romp made at a time when everyone in Hollywood was housing cocaine like it was water. So I probably won’t watch this as it sounds like it’s not doing anything really different than the first except that it’s self-aware. No thanks. Call me for the next installment where Tom Cruise has to manually steer a nuke away from the Capitol building using only an American flag or something.

  16. I think the first TOP GUN is a staple “movie liked by people who only like a few movies” movie. There are a lot of people out there who aren’t particularly into the art of cinematic storytelling but think planes are cool or had their first wedding dance to Destination Unknown by Marietta Waters or whatever. It’s the kind of thing you’d see in the household of people who only had three VHSs, nestled between THE LION KING and THE WIZARD OF OZ. Now I certainly wouldn’t have guessed (and indeed didn’t) that there were still $300million worth of such people out there primed and ready to see a sequel in less than a week, if that indeed is a large part of what’s happened here, but it doesn’t completely shock me. What surprises me is the extent to which the critics have come on board. As far as I know the critical reputation of the original has only improved incrementally since it earned mediocre reviews on its release, and has mostly gained “respect” along the lines of “well it must have done something right” or “it’s certainly iconic” or “those 80s were quite something, huh?” I guess maybe I’ll figure out why when I actually see it. Which I will um… sometime. Probably.

  17. Let’s forget the all-important “worst fucking people in the world” demographic.

    Top Gun: Maverick Is the Right’s Latest Culture-War Crusade

    Conservative media figures are hailing the blockbuster as a patriotic, anti-“woke” display of militarism and masculinity.

  18. Let’s *not* forget

    (Actually, we all SHOULD forget these people, once they’ve all died of dick cancer and been buried in unmarked graves underneath the sewage treatment plant, but for the purpose of this rhetorical-type device I’m using here, we should not forget them.)

  19. How does this one compare to Bill and Ted Face the Music?

  20. The Color of Money is the best legacy sequel, in my opinion.

  21. The Color of Money is the best legacy sequel, in my opinion.

  22. I really liked this one. I have a little bit of nostalgia for the original, but it’s not like I think it’s great or anything. I knew this was getting good reviews, but wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. I think it’s better than the original in all ways – action, humor, emotion, stakes. The aerial action in the original, in my opinion, is at worst kind of boring and at best just fine. The aerial action in this had my actually clutching my hands together in tension. The humor in the original was sparse and included such gems as flipping the bird and the instructor lady and giggling. It’s not like the humor here is outstanding, but I enjoyed him walking into the middle of nowhere diner looking like a spaceman who just had a rough landing in his UFO and the buddy movie shenanigans in the final action set. The emotion is much better here, being sprinkled throughout the entire movie with a more deft hand than the pile on in the original with Goose’s death. And the stakes of being trained for an actual, dangerous mission, is miles above the dick measuring contest of the first one.

    I loved getting more of the smiling, charisma machine Cruise. We don’t get to see him like that much anymore. He definitely wasn’t the charisma monster of his youth, like the original, but it was still nice. And I thought he did a great job going from that to the more emotional beats. I loved that one scene where he’s sneaking out of Penny’s house only to have her daughter standing at the window and watching him drop down from the roof and how it goes from him laughing at getting caught to really feeling the emotional impact of how he could really fuck up this woman emotionally if he wasn’t careful.

    I loved that they got Kilmer back, too. As I was sitting down I was thinking it’s a shame he couldn’t come back for this one and then saw his name pop up and wondered how they were gonna pull that off. Turns out, pretty well. I do think it’s bullshit that Charlie didn’t even get a reference. They could’ve had her be a 2nd guardian angel for Maverick’s career. They could’ve simply said, “Now that Charlie has retired from her big, important position at the Pentagon, you’ve only got Admiral Iceman pulling strings for your career, so don’t fuck up this chance, Maverick.” Or something like that.

  23. Alan

    “Color of money” WAS a legacy sequel itself.

  24. This movie is fine, pretty much exactly how you would expect a Top Gun sequel to be constructed (and let’s face it, the plot and character motivation are so close to the last Mission: Impossible, Christopher McQuarrie should win an ecological award for recycling).

    But I have to say it really bother me that neither Kelly McGillis or Meg Ryan were even ASKED to be in this fucking thing. It’s pretty gross misogyny that we’re all gonna let slide because the movie is fairly entertaining.

    Also had to wonder if it was weird for Val Kilmer to act in and watch this movie where his character has basically the same health condition he has in real life (for obvious reasons) and then have his character die in the movie. Must be surreal, hope he is good with it.

  25. Well, I guess it was bound to happen. After quite a few times of being cool on a movie you all are high on, here I am thinking this is one of the year’s best. Everything Everywhere All At Once and The Northman are about the only reasons it’s even a competition. People, please go see the next Jurassic World–I’m pretty sure that will remind you of what the average blockbuster is like these days and how exemplary this one is in comparison. But, maybe not, The Fast And The Fighter Jets just isn’t for you. Okay.

    Just please acknowledge that the flaws you’re seeing are that it doesn’t have fanservice-y cameos for Kelly McGillis or Meg Ryan and let me know how that works out for Jurassic World: The Return of Malcolm, Grant, & Sattler.

  26. I’m not sure “too excited for JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION” is necessarily a charge that really be levelled at our citizenship. I think even our OG JURASSIC PARK enthusiasm levels might be below par (though ironically our LOST WORLD enthusiasm levels might be a little above).

  27. Yeah, they weren’t interested in “fan service” and that why McGillis and Ryan were left out, give me a fucking break.

  28. So you’re saying they used the same structure as the original, remade the opening montage basically shot-for-shot, included “Danger Zone,” invented new AI just to get a Val Kilmer cameo in there, and shot an extensive shirtless beach sports sequence…but they weren’t interested in fan service?

    That is…unlikely. It sure seems to me that the only fan service they weren’t interested in is the kind linked to actresses the target demographic doesn’t want to jerk off over anymore.

  29. Saw this in a special trip to an IMAX theater with my 82 year old father, and he stayed awake the whole time, which is a surprising rarity. I think the last two movies he saw in theaters were MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 6 and JACK REACHER 2. So make of that what you will.

    Anyway, I thought it was great. I say this as a not-big-fan of the original, though I revisited it in prep for this one and it was better than I’d remembered. (The first Top Gun is a movie about teeth, the color orange, and homoeroticism.) The first movie got by more on vibe– this one has more plot, but also takes time for character stuff. Vern points out one of my favorite bits, when we realize Jon Hamm is willing to send pilots to their deaths, but Maverick is not. The third act is incredible in more than one sense of the word, but I loved that it basically becomes a Mission: Impossible movie. You may see a lot of plot beats coming, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t satisfying.

    I agree that this movie is a throwback to the blockbuster movies of yore, and, like Maverick, is there to show the hotshot movies of today how it’s really done. And it succeeds! Maverick, like Cruise, is older and a little wiser and sadder– most of his friends are dead and he’s wrecked a number of his other relationships. But he’s still willing to push his body to the limit and risk death to complete the impossible mission and save his people/the theatrical movie experience.

    As far as the IMAX footage: It’s neat, though probably unnecessary. But I love that they strapped cameras to the real jets. And it gives the audience a visceral POV into the various aeronautic goings-on.

  30. Haven’t seen this. Will not see this. But there’s a new interview up with Kosinski that’s great. Link:

    Joseph Kosinski’s Vast, Lonely Worlds

    The Oblivion and Tron: Legacy director knew just how to pitch a Top Gun sequel to Tom Cruise: “Maverick is still Maverick,” he said. “But he’s alone.”

  31. “The first Top Gun is a movie about teeth, the color orange, and homoeroticism.” I know we don’t generally do this around here, but: LOL.

  32. Bill, I would like to add sweat to that list. I rewatched it after seeing MAVERICK and it has to be one of the sweatiest movies ever. What movie is it where the characters are debating what is the sweatiest movie? I remember BODY HEAT and COOL HAND LUKE were contenders. You could include TOP GUN.

  33. I’m not saying the movie isn’t guilty of fanservice, just that MORE fanservice isn’t the solution.

  34. I actually agree. These days, I am actively antagonistic toward fan service, Easter eggs, references, any of that shit. My feeling is, if you’re really a fan of something, you should respect it enough to let its energy guide your own ideas, not just do the same thing over again. John Carpenter didn’t stick an asparagus-headed monster in THE THING. David Cronenberg didn’t make Jeff Goldblum say “Help me!” in a helium voice. They made their own movies that did not go out of its way to make you think about previous movies.

    That said, if you’re doing a fan-service heavy movie but you draw the line at asking back actresses who have committed the unforgivable sin of not being fuckable anymore, I find that suspect. Val Kilmer can’t even speak without a robot and they considered him a more viable screen presence than Kelly McGillis. Its not gonna stop me from checking out the movie eventually, but I think that’s kinda fucked up.

  35. Well, I don’t mind a modest amount of fanservice–it’s when it’s just about the whole movie, like how Black Widow seemed to be all about providing context for every line Natasha had about her past in the Avengers, or Solo featured every major event in Han’s pre-ANH life happening in one week, that I become a grumpy old man about it. “Oh, Arnold’s saying ‘I’ll be back’ again, SO original.” But like I just exampled, if it’s an Arnold movie having him say I’ll Be Back, I don’t mind a fun little reminder that I’m watching a bunch of actors playing pretend. It’s the difference between making a joke and mugging for the audience, if that makes any sense.

    I believe Kilmer was the only person besides Cruise to come back. If they brought back Tolkan to say “I want butts!” and he bumped into Michael Ironside and Tom Skerritt was there too, telling Maverick another story about his dad, then I’d agree it’d be conspicuous that Ryan and McGillis weren’t there. But Kilmer is serving a plot purpose in explaining who’s keeping Maverick out of trouble and then raising the stakes when he can’t do that anymore. I’m sure they could’ve done the same thing with, say, Samuel L. Jackson as an old friend Mav made between movies–“Thanks for saving my ass in Bosnia, Pete.”–but it being Iceman is a nice pay-off to their dynamic from the first one (see above re: modest amount of fanservice). Seems to me the two female characters showing up would just be like that Kyle Reese deleted scene in T2… either needlessly elaborating on Rooster’s characterization or needlessly double-booking the Jennifer Connolly ‘patching things up with an old girlfriend’ subplot.

  36. I don’t mind it so much when it’s in-universe. Like, BLACK WIDOW’s callbacks and whatnot are clunky, but at least the calls are coming from inside the house. They don’t take me out of the movie the way more meta style referencing does.

  37. All I said is it seems clear the current appearance of the co-lead of the first movie is the specific reason why her character is not seen or mentioned. She has said it. Kosinski sidesteps it by saying it was decided before he was involved. As I said in the review I don’t think they should’ve revisited that relationship. I just think that the undeniable ickiness of the “sorry lady, we’re replacing your old ass with a younger woman” situation would be assuaged a little bit with some gesture of respect for the character of Charlie and/or the actress who played her, who last time I saw her was still great despite aging in the manner of a normal human of Earth.

  38. Maggie: it was Cheers, debating the sweatiest movie. Body Heat, Ben Hur, Alien, and Rocky 2 were all suggested. Cool Hand Luke won, I believe.

    For some reason, this scene, and Coach’s mnemonic song to help Sam with a geography test, are forever with me.

  39. Well, I’ve said my piece on the great Kelly McGillis debate, but one thing I’d like to bring up that I haven’t seen covered: the original was, in its scattered, cocaine haze way, about how Maverick had to straighten up and fly right, the Navy way, if he wanted to be a hero.

    This movie seems a bit more critical of that, more nuanced. Maverick is still a nonconformist, but now it’s framed as him having an old-fashioned, chivalric code of honor that emphasizes doing the right thing over mindlessly following orders and keeping his teammates alive over carrying out the mission at all costs. I wouldn’t go so far as to characterize the thing as anti-war, but it’s at least musing about the downside of aerial drones that do whatever they’re programmed to do and the upside of individuals with individual accountability. Maybe that’s a small thing, but after Spider-Man: Far From Home had its heroes gleefully giving themselves the power to carry out drone strikes all over the world…

    Sorry if there’s a link attached to this comment, I can’t seem to get rid of it.

  40. Crudnasty, yes, it was Cheers that I was thinking of. Thanks. There’s a lot of that show that is forever with me.

  41. I think that’s a good reading of it, Kaplan.

  42. I guess the nuance Kaplan mentions is there because every single time a military movie order that’s sort of close to real events comes from the top, we learn afterwards that it was some invented bullshit to get the tax payers onboard. Better to leave a tiny door open for some maverickery.

  43. Agree Kaplan but I would go one step further… Tom Cruise is 100% playing Ethan Hunt in this movie, right down to the “can’t let anyone get killed” ethos. This is a Mission: Impossible movie reskinned for Top Gun.

  44. Mr. Majestic, since you brought it up several times. Why is it wrong for the movie to not include Mcgilis + Ryan? And why is your argument that they did it cause “people wouldn’t want to jerk off” to them relevant JUST for them as in misogynistic?

    Did you see all the other Top Gun guys, Rick Rosovich etc naked at 65+ playing football on the beach and Mcgilis was wrongfully excluded??

    It’s a SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER. Aside from the “deal with the devil” never aging / last movie star Cruz, everybody else in the movie up to and including the freakin admirals is chiseled abs and hunky looks, plus a very beautiful young woman and a stunning FIFTY TWO year old love interest for Cruz.

    Is every movie a crime for something? Is this movie’s crime that it chose a 52yo great looking woman as the love interest for Cruz instead of a retired from acting / limelight 65yo one? That is our line in the sand for a movie with obligatory naked from the waist up sports?!?!?!?????

    And let’s face MacGilis is the only one “missing”. Meg Ryan became a MEGA star afterwards and surely the main reason for her absence was monetary and not looks.

    Nobody jerked off in my Theatre when Cruise met with icemans wife, I’m sure they could handle Meg Ryan if she was in the movie.

  45. My feelings are tottaly aligned with Kaplan on this one.

    “last movie star” Cruise busted his ass off (again) to make one of the most realistic looking action movies in decades, he thrilled us and transported us for a couple of hours in a way blockbusters fail to do repeatedly, and everybodys complaining about minutiae and perceived grievances of actors who could easily be cut out of a sequel anyway for STORY reasons as well.

    What did you guys expect?
    “Top Gun: Maverick hapilly married for 35 years”???

    Sequels change the dynamics and the Co leads all the time for dramatic purposes.

  46. We’re not really disagreeing on much here. We all agree that they didn’t want THE CO-LEAD OF TOP GUN to return or be mentioned in the sequel because they don’t know how to use a woman in her 60s in a movie like this. Most of us think that the movie is good despite that sad reality, two people seem upset that anyone mentions it. But I haven’t seen anyone deny it because that would be fuckin ridiculous.

  47. First of all, it’s always a badge of honor to have a responce from you Vern, good or bad. I’m a loyal reader for soooooo many years.

    I need to rant a bit and hopefully it will make sense to you guys if you read it. Sorry for the long post.

    I understand I am sometimes the outlier in this blog’s readers opinions. So that in itself COULD mean I’m in the “wrong”, or at least that I see things differently than the readerships concensus.

    I come from a different country. Maybe it’s part of the reason I don’t feel the need to find the (perceived or real) grievance in EVERY movie. Different culture different themes.

    For example, in my country too many of our critics are (far) left leaning, so you get like 1 stars out of five for this movie JUST for it being an “America fuck yeah” kind of show. They don’t really “see” the movie, they just see politics. America = imperialistic = bad, end of story.

    On the other direction, I read too many US publications / blogs etc myself and in a case like this movie, I feel people are TRYING HARD to fault it for tottaly bullshit reasons.

    I am a recording artist in my country. With a good number of hits on my belt. Males AND females in my industry, the music industry, have to train / do solarium / do face lifts and 100 other things to look young. Look better. Look like they did 20+ years ago. And it’s very nice and cosy to say “that’s agist, that’s misogynistic” or whatever in a blog, but the depressing thing is, in the end of the day, it’s called show BUSINESS, it is there to entertain the MASSES, and those masses that comment here how BAD it is to not cast a real 65yo looking woman are the SAME PEOPLE who would dismiss the EXACT SAME MOVIE if it did it.

    Do you like Jennifer Lopez?
    Do you like Tom Cruz?
    Do you like Daniel Craig as James Bond??

    How do you THINK they look like they do at 50+/60 yo?????

    Would you watch the Jlo superbowl if she was singing “let’s get loud” without dancing cause she is out of breath with natural 50+ yo fat on her???

    Would you shell out 550 million dollars in two weeks to watch Tom Cruz complain about his arthritis and pass out from the strain of the g forces?

    Would even my 70yo mother go to “no time to die” if Daniel Craig had not been for a FULL YEAR at the gym, pumping his body full of steroids and eating chicken and broccoli???????

    I’m sorry to say, in the instance of this movie at least, you are hypocrites. You don’t REALLY want a geriatric romance from top gun 2022. You just like to hop on the grievance bandwagon of the day, and this day’s one is the ABSURD ask of making a movie famous for MODEL LEVEL LOOKING people naked from the waist up, being remade with your REAL parents or grand parents.

    Reality check = your REAL PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS went to this movie in unprecedented numbers to live for two hours in a fictional world, where 60yo men look like 40yo, 52yo women look like 35yo, a lot of 30yo are naked at least once and the good guys win.

    I was first asked why I haven’t already erased my forehead lines via botox by a make up artist when I was 36yo!!!!!!! Do I think it’s fair? No. It’s not.

    But it has NOTHING to do with misogyny. It’s universal. Top gun maverick is not a PBS documentary on seniors. It’s a 150 million budgeted Hollywood movie.

    It is to be applauded for starring a 60 and a 52yo and a 51yo in 3 of the 4 leads. But noooooooooo, how dare they not include a practically retired from acting 65YO? SHAME.

    You love the abs, the great faces, the great bodies, your MONEY speaks on that in every facet of the movie + music industry. I am at the gym right now, started first time at 37yo to keep myself young and try to look better for my JOB. I KNOW how hard everybody has to train the sacrifices they have to make.

    You lap that up and then cry “foul” because it’s trending. If you guys were real I would applaud you. If you guys were real, Chris Hemsworth would look like he did in “Ghostbusters” Nad the Michael Mann movie in EVERY movie, not DOUBLE that size. If you guys were real Daniel craig would have played bond like it’s was George Smiley, not like a suimsuit model.

    If you guys were real Madonna would look her age.

    If you guys MEANT IT the industry would have given it to you. People talk with their WALLETS. That’s the sad truth.

    To conclude, in my opinion, this is the worst kind of “crying foul”. The one where you do it to just be “in the moment” and not really to change anything.

  48. PS

    People seem to have totally forgotten that pop culture / popcorn movies etc have an ASPIRATIONAL element to them as well.

    We WANT to look like Cruz at 60 even if it’s impossible. We WANT to have a husband looking like John hamm at 51 / cruz at 60 / Ed fucking Harris at 70+. We want to have a wife looking like Jennifer Connelly / Jlo / Mery Streep / cate Blanchett at their respective ages and beyond.

    This will not change. And it’s is LUDICROUS to start the petitions for it in a movie called TOP GUN, instead of applauding it for changing some of its protagonists ages to 30+ years older for the sequel.

    In the original everybody was TWENTY!!!!!

  49. “those masses that comment here how BAD it is to not cast a real 65yo looking woman are the SAME PEOPLE who would dismiss the EXACT SAME MOVIE if it did it.”

    No, they’re not. I’m sorry to say you are full of shit.

  50. What an irritating, condescending, full of shit rant. Shut the fuck up.

  51. Thank you JTS, I had “double unnecessary vulgar attacks” on my lengthy post’s responce bingo card. You did not dissapoint.

  52. Um, except for Michael Ironside… and Tom Skeritt…and James Tolkan. Pedantic? Yes! Untrue? No!
    “People…have forgotten that popcorn/pop culture movies have an ASPIRATIONAL element to them…” Not to be picky but that’s not really true, PetrosMT. Any movie that becomes popular is a pop culture movie, so The Godfather, Jaws, Star Wars, Kramer Vs Kramer, Aliens, Beetlejuice, Predator, Pulp Fiction, Die Hard With A Vengeance, As Good As It Gets, were, in the past, all pop culture movies and even “popcorn” movies because they were POPULAR. I don’t know if anyone aspired to be Vito Corleone, Martin Brody, Obi-Wan, Carter Burke, the predator, the Shane Black character, Zeus (even if he was played by Samuel L. Jackson), whatever Jack Nicholson was called, or Zed.
    Sure, you COULD argue – as you appear to be doing -that Top Gun Maverick is aimed at mostly/only at twentysomethings with narrow minds except it’s a sequel to a thirty-six year-old movie, so the makers MUST have thought it would have a broader appeal but they are pretty conservative people and THAT’S why Kelly McGillis isn’t in it and why the hot Jennifer Connelly is (she’s in her Forties but that still makes her rather younger than Cruise). While Ms McGillis’s phrasing doesn’t sit well entirely with me, she’s surely right that they wouldn’t have Cruise with a woman the same age as him (and if they weren’t cosmetically altered no matter how ludicrously – that includes fillers et al there’d be NO chance!) And one that looks like she does now. They wouldn’t have gorgeous women from Patricia Clarkson to Holly Hunter or Bebe Neuwirth to Julia Louis-Dreyfus either because they’d be seen as too old (not that they’d want the role anyway). It’s a double standard and one that goes beyond looks (which is bad enough) to age.
    Of course, you’d probably be right to argue that Top Gun (and Top Gun He’s Back and as Fuckin’ Rad As Ever) had a major right-wing aspirational element. It was a movie for people who aspire to be as big an asshole as Pete Mitchell, one of those high concept movie characters who is almost always right to ignore ANY rule that anyone else follows because he’s just so right in his rightness because he’s right! Even his callsign is the supersubtle MAVERICK because he’s, like, y’know, a maverick. Bwa-ha-ha! In real life those kinds of people are scary, dangerous, narcissistic assmonkeys so should be shunned (as life shows this two often doesn’t happen, which is terrifying when they are dominant or even leaders in certain countries) but in *certain kinds* of pop movies they ARE aspirational figures to particular people and are what I believe is known as The Shit!

  53. My reply was exactly as long and exactly as profane as your rant deserved.

  54. First of all Petros, thank you for sharing that about your background, I appreciate the context. But again, you are saying a way more extreme version of the same thing we all said, only you’re saying “this is great that it only respects young beautiful looking people.” And we’re saying “Too bad they disrespected Kelly McGillis. Oh well.” The movie is a huge critical hit in the U.S. I haven’t seen anyone too mad about this stuff. I don’t know if you read my review, but I addressed this in it and also in several comments. I liked the movie. I liked what they did. I specifically said he should not be in a relationship with Charlie. But the idea that Kilmer can have his scene yet you can’t even imagine it in your mind that McGillis could be in the movie briefly… I’m sorry to say, there’s a word for that.

    Also, why did Majestyk’s comment about jerking off upset you so much before, and now you’re saying that it is the actual job and responsibility of the entire entertainment industry to mold their bodies into jerkoff material?

  55. PetrosMT, since I feel you’re adressing all of us, I guess it’s okay for me to jump in at this late stage. I don’t know what country you’re from, but it certainly sounds interesting with all the beautiful, fit people and the far left critics. I don’t know how often you’ve visited Vern’s sight either, but you seem to have gotten the impression that it’s here the Hollywood trends are being made. It’s not, but thanks for the vote of confidence.

  56. I was going to bring this up perhaps before doing so became quite so much of what the kids would call “a bad look”, but hasn’t McGillis been fairly open about not liking TOP GUN and/or Cruise himself for the past 30 years? I guess Kilmer has too though, if in a slightly more humorous/self deprecating way more recently. And if Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen can be in the same film recently, well…

    I found this;
    “Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis didn’t get along during or after filming. However, they did briefly reunite in 2010, for the premiere of Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (2010).”


    I don’t think there’s anyone who was as big a star as Meg Ryan was in the 90s* who has disappeared to the same extent, which is to say pretty much completely. I hope that’s at least partly her choice.

    *Although it’s one of those weird things where when you actually look at her filmography, only like three of her films were actually *big* hits, and one of them pretty much coasted on the reputation of one of the other ones.

  57. Also, if I can just add to Pacman 2.0, to the argument of why not bring back Kelly McGillis when you brought back Val Kilmer:

    Makes far more sense to bring back Iceman as it’s more believable that Ice and Maverick would forge a deep lasting friendship from their brief rivalry as ace aviators.

    Some silhouetted lovemaking set to Berlin (with a surprising amount of tongue for a PG-13 movie) did nothing to convince me the Maverick-Charlie hook up was anything more than a more legal version of a student banging his hot teacher.

    Also, McGillis is retired. Also, most ppl remember her from Top Gun, some maybe recall she was the romantic lead in Witness, if I strain real hard I can remember she was in The Accused.

    On the other hand, lest it be forgotten, Mr. Val Freaking Kilmer was one of the biggest stars of the 90s, an A-Lister. The Man was Batman, The Saint, the best Doc Holiday EVER (with apologies to Kirk Douglas and Dennis Quaid), Nick Rivers, Thunderheart, Madmartigan, Alexander The Great’s Dad, Jim Morrison, survived The Island of Dr Moreau, brought his own heat to HEAT and was in between The Ghost And The Darkness. So bringing him back, especially after his real life battle with throat cancer, was a stroke of marketing genius. Not to mention it provided this already extremely watchable movie 2 genuine “lump in the throat” scenes.

  58. Vern off course I read your review, as I always do.

    I feel that however many words I write, in the end somebody is gonna take a couple of them and run with them. We are all guilty of this at some points.

    This movie was tooled by screenwriters / director / cinematographer / star etc and tooled and tooled until it became the money making machine it did.

    It was not made to give roles to EVERYBODY from the original. As somebody already stated, they found a clever way to make Iceman, with his very limited screen time, a very integral part of the PLOT and not just a gimmick.

    Could they have done that with McGillis? Maybe so. But as I think Kaplan already stated, giving cameos to characters from the first movie was not this movies thing, and all the better for it. If you read Kosinskis interviews, he specifically states they did the intro same so as to go to the super-super sonic plane and dramatically change the stakes and tone afterwards.

    To sum up, the mere fact that they COULD have included McGillis or anybody else does not make it so that they SHOULD have for dramatic / pacing etc reasons.

    So to me, it seems very superfluous to cry MISOGYNY on this move. We don’t know of a (better) script with her in it, the movie has a 97 rotten tomatoes score so they did SOMETHING right, and there could easily be 10 reasons why it did not “fit” and the first one isn’t necessarily her looks. Producers had problems with them having chemistry on the first one, creating 2 new scenes after filming wrapped to make the romance worked.

    On the other hand, I have to also say this.
    I talk about this movie a lot to friends etc and 9 out of 10 (my mother included when the movie was starting) asked “is McGillis in it?”.

    That is a testament to the impact the movie had on people. A friend came by the house yesterday and asked the same thing. I said no, Jennifer Connelly is in it and he told me he like McGillis better.

    Of course that’s the McGillis he has in his head. The one he saw in 1986.

    And that McGillis look is preserved for eternity. Do you know for a fact that she herself did not like it that way as well? Are you sure every actor on the planet is happy to come back to a “sex symbol” role of his past 36 years later? Would you?

    This is not a “script leaked, she was in it, they cut her off, MISOGYNY” cut and dried thing is all I’m saying. There are 100 moving parts on a movie and your first responce for an OG cast member missing cannot be cries of bigotry / misogyny etc.

    George Kaplan

    You can’t lump the predator (where maybe nobody aspires to be the predator but many would ALL the other characters) and Top Gun with the godfather. If I was not clear enough, I was talking about popcorn action movies, not serious dramas that broke through.


    I come from Greece. Was not speaking about my country’s peoples in general but about showbiz people all over the world. I even put examples of over 50’s women and men who are NOTHING like their same age “real people”. Nobody seemed to get what I was saying though.
    Our far left critics are relics of a “soviet Russia loving” communist party which somehow still exists in my country and they are not to be confused with progressives / left leaning liberals of yours. Tottaly different thing.
    I come here every day.

  59. Vern, if it wasn’t properly communicated on my part =

    I don’t CONDONE the agism rampant I the showbiz industry at large, nor say I like it in any way.
    I AM saying that it starts and ends on customer / consumer preferences and the music labels / movie studios abide to the general public’s wants and needs.

  60. If you do a Google image search for “top gun 1986 poster,” guess how many pictures of Kelly McGillis you will see? Quite a few. Because she was the other main character. Yes, she was smoking hot in the original movie. She was also an instructor at the school. The fact that the second isn’t enough to warrant a nod in the sequel (where he now has a girlfriend who’s younger than him!) shows how she is valued. So I mentioned it. The end.

  61. I sort of wanted to go on at length about how PetrosMT keeps returning to the same “discussion” against some hypothetical straw-people on this sight who are apparently, allegedly counter-arguing his point.

    But why bother?

    Pegsman already says it better than I ever could:

    “…(Y)ou seem to have gotten the impression that it’s here the Hollywood trends are being made. It’s not, but thanks for the vote of confidence.”

  62. Speaking of fanservice, as we were one civil war ago, I know it was a member berry, but I like TG:M treating Highway To The Danger Zone over footage of jets launching from a carrier like it’s the James Bond gunbarrel sequence. Like they could make twelve Top Gun movies and start them all with Kenny Loggins because that’s just how you open a Top Gun movie. And I’ve gotta give it to ’em–that IS how you open a Top Gun movie!

  63. Franchise Fred

    June 7th, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    FWIW McGillis is not retired. She still works in tv and indie movies that will have her. Her Most recent credit is that Dirty John show, so while it’s not headlining Oscar nominated movies it’s not nothing.

    I met her for some TV movie. She seemed happy to not be letting Hollywood dictate her life, at least I hope my impression is correct. I even suggested the then in development Top Gun 2 could have her as a veteran instructor but she just assumed it wasn’t going to happen and moved on.

  64. Franchise Fred

    June 7th, 2022 at 9:54 pm

    And when I said “that will have her” I didn’t mean it to sound derogatory. I’m sure filmmakers ask for her by name like Jim Mickle did in Stakeland.

  65. Just caught this last night and I think it’s objectively good and way better than we had any right to expect, but there’s just something kinda missing and I think it’s my problem. The same way I know in my heart of hearts Creed is technically a “better” movie than Rocky III or IV but I totally like Rocky III or IV better. Or maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Cobra Kai – because for about 5 minutes when you think the movie is going to be about how Rooster is the new Iceman and Hangman is the new Maverick, that’s the shit that I’m kinda here for, and it sets up expectations and conflicts that it never really follows up on. (Rooster never really clicked for me even though I normally like Miles Teller, and I’m pretty sure Hangman never has a single scene alone with Maverick which is crazy). This is the rare movie I wish was about 5-10 minutes longer to flesh out these new characters that should be iconic but instead are just generally pleasant and un-annoying.

    But whatever, this is the practical effects stunt show to end all practical effects stunt shows – I was weirdly reminded of the spirit of Jackass Forever several times, even though in scale and budget this is the polar opposite of Jackass Forever. The whole film has so much amazing action it feels like an embarrassment of riches and I feel guilty for nitpicking the emotional beats that don’t quite land. I guess the best way I can describe this movie is…what if Fury Road had the exact same incredible action sequences and stunts but the emotional hook of Furiosa wasn’t in it? We’d probably all still like it and think fondly of it, but it wouldn’t be the stone-cold classic that it is today.

    Btw, I saw this in 4DX which I’ve never experienced before. I was kinda regretting the decision during the previews which basically felt like I was being shook to death with no rhyme or reason, but it was alot more subtle during the actual movie. (If you can call anything with wind and water blasting you in the face “subtle”, that is). The seat always tilted perfectly in sync with the plane movements, the vibration during the flying sequences added intensity without being overbearing, and by the time my chair was pelting my back and legs with little puffs of air to simulate machine gun fire in the climax, I was basically like “this is sorta dumb but this also might be the greatest movie-going experience I’ve ever had”. I definitely recommend seeing it this way at some point.

  66. Franchise Fred

    June 8th, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    4DX can be really good. It all depends on who designs each film. Baby Driver has been my best experience and San Andreas lent itself well. Fury Road actually wasn’t one of the better ones but F9 was fine. Bad Boys for Life was terrible and Geostorm was the worst (that one was pretty much what you’re afraid 4dx will be). I’m generally a fan tho and find the technicians behind it put real thought into creating an experience to enhance the movie and not distract from it.

  67. I was kinda regretting the decision during the previews which basically felt like I was being shook to death with no rhyme or reason, but it was alot more subtle during the actual movie.

    So basically the same thing as Imax, where the trailers are cut so fast and are so loud they end up being just an incomprehensible blur of light and noise. The best part is that the trailers always end with “See it in Imax!!!” and you’re like “Uh, after that demonstration why would I ever subject myself to that??”

  68. Eh. It was alright. Some very good scenes, a decent climax, a whole shitload of filler. So it’s a TOP GUN movie, alright.

    Cruise was good. New characters forgettable. Drama listless and repetitive, especially anything Rooster-related, but every third or fourth scene would unexpectedly be pretty good. That first hour got to be kind of a chore that way. I’d be into it for a few minutes and then it would go back to being tedious again. I chose to go to the bathroom during the “Great Balls of Fire” part, but started doubting my decision during the sailing sequence and then again during the beach football scene. Too many damn skippable scenes, in my opinion, for a movie about the need for speed, but I guess that’s what the TOP GUN brand is all about. You could have cut Jennifer Connelly out without losing a thing, and that’s something I never thought I’d say.

    Action was adequate, bordering on exciting, but still just a bunch of second unit footage chopped up with actor closeups, just like the first one. I’m sorry, I appreciate the effort to put the cast in the real planes, I really do, but I’m not even looking at the background, I’m looking at the actors. It could have been green screen and it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference.

    But like I said, there are some very good scenes. Kilmer steals the show with a couple of facial expressions. All of a sudden the movie had a heart. Of course, I realize any emotions I may have felt were more about seeing Kilmer, once a golden god, now humbled by time and life, than anything to do with his character or the movie. But at least I felt something. Hardly a guarantee when I go to the movies these days. Something about that big screen just makes me so goddamn critical. I’ve been disappointed in one way or another with every movie I’ve seen in the theater this decade. Granted, that’s only like seven or eight movies, but still. Eother the movies got worse or I did. I legitimately can’t tell which it is.

    Oh well. Maybe next time. MI7 looks pretty good. I’m sure Cruise won’t let me down twice.

  69. Thanks to McQuarrie’s direction I sort of got over my feelings towards Cruise, and enjoyed JACK REACHER and a couple of the later MI’s. But it sure sounds like I still have to skip anything starring Mr. Mapother IV that’s not directed by his handler.

  70. I wouldn’t take my word for it if I were you. I’m me and I barely even take my word for it.

  71. Vince, even if I’ve over the years have been convinced that it must be several people writing under the psevdonym MR MAJESTYK, I think have you pretty much pegged down now. My impression that this movie isn’t for me is an amalgam of all the reviews I’ve read.

  72. Mr. M: Weirdly, I’d argue that, unlike the first TOP GUN, this installment is not about a need for speed, but about a need to slow down. We start with Maverick being the fastest human on the planet– but most of the story focuses on how he has to stick around for his various human relationships, before time runs out.

    Pegs: McQuarrie is essentially Cruise’s personal screenwriter now, and there are parts of MAVERICK which definitely feel like a McQ movie– even if he didn’t direct it.

  73. Pegs: I am actually four or five angry, opinionated little pricks stacked on top of each other wearing a trenchcoat. We take turns being the head, so it’s no wonder there is some inconsistency. I’m surprised nobody has noticed until now.

  74. Bill, let’s hope the next two MI’s are his magnum opus.

    Anonymous Prick, the fact that the one who’s writing now don’t know how many shoulders he’s standing on, could mean that there’s an endless queue behind the one at the bottom, and that we’ve barely scratched the personality surface. I feel strangely excited!

  75. A Norwegian writer who claims to have seen the first TG 75 times had an interesting pitch. He wasn’t as keen on the new one, but said that in his mind when Cruise’s character ejects from his plane, at a speed that definitely would kill him i real life, he actually dies, and the walk through the desert and the meeting with Connelly’s character is a dream or a afterlife what-if. Discuss.

  76. I feel that, as a general rule of thumb, when a movie makes more sense to you if the protagonist dies fives minutes in and the rest of the plot is just a fever dream, that is just not a very good movie.

  77. I’m with Majestyk. Love me some Ambrose Bierce, but at this point people revisiting Owl Creek Bridge better have a something interesting to say with it. Looking to OwlCreekify stuff after the fact… is about as interesting as adding “and then he woke up!” just before the end credits.
    Speaking of which, if anyone is interested in an incredibly inept way of doing something like that, I can’t recommend Come True enough…

  78. So…..is Netflix aggressively pursuing an anti-marketing strategy?

    So they’ve dropped a new movie starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by Joseph Kosinski and how much did I know about it beforehand? ZERO

    Still trying to wrap my head around the thinking behind this: Let’s see we have a new movie, starring a high profile MCU A-Lister, helmed by a director who has a movie out in theatres that’s grossed 500m domestic to date and well on it’s way to clearing a billion dollars worldwide. How do we market this? With all the fanfare of a late Seagal, Keoni Waxman-directed, shot in Eastern Europe El Cheapo.

    Having said that, I gotta say……

    SPIDERHEAD suffers from muddled execution. Kosinski, whose films are frequently epic in scale and gorgeous to look at, seems to have been handed a budget usually accorded to mid-level Jesse V Johnson/Roel Reine type joints and with about 60% of it shaved off for Hemsworth’s salary. The plot, based off a short story (prisoners volunteer to be guinea pigs in an isolated minimum security prison to test out various drugs which can trigger extreme verbosity, rage or a serious case of Horniness) has the makings of a solid, dystopian psychological thriller but is let down by an erratic pace, repetitive scenes and an under-developed supporting cast. Hemsworth, playing a scientist about as convincingly as he played a hacker in BLACKHAT and Miles Teller, in his 3rd Kosinski film, do what they can with they’ve been given, which is precious little.

    In the Battle of The Hemsworths (only on Netflix!), it’s Mrs Hemsworth 1, Mr Hemsworth 0.

    INTERCEPTOR is far less ambitious, but within it’s confines, manages to be far more watchable.

    Still….work on your damn marketing, Netflix!!!!

  79. I fly the Kosinski flag pretty high. He’s like the modern Donner; an exceptional journeyman. However I think I’ll skip this one. Not really a Hemsworth guy which is why I never saw JACK BLACKHAT despite all the praise it always got on here from you respectable lot. I do like Miles Teller but he’s also got The Offer for me to support out there and that seems like more my jam.

  80. With regards to the lack of advertising around Spiderhead, I truly think that Netflix is what you get when a bunch of tech people decide they want to start an entertainment company. They really have no understanding of quality or quality control. They can’t help creators usher in their work because they don’t have the slightest idea of what makes a film or TV show work. And they don’t know anything about advertising, and just assume that the algorithm with provide. There have been some good to great Netflix movies, but that’s largely because they spent years opening a spigot of money, hoping that some of it gets to some really talented people, and by the law of averages, some of it did.

  81. I’ve never heard the theory that techies being behind Netflix is why it’s programming is so sterile before but that actually makes a lot of sense. You’d get more value out of Tubi than you would Netflix and you don’t pay for the former. They don’t really have any other excuses outside of well they just don’t really get it at all. Like I said before in that context it definitely checks out.

  82. Netflix being run by Silicon Valley douchebags whose entire business model is 1. Disrupt paradigm. 2. ???????? 3. Profit! explains literally everything about their decision-making process. They devalued filmed entertainment in order to undercut and usurp their Old Media competition, but once they’d created a world where nobody wants to pay for any individual piece of content, they were shocked–shocked, I tell you!–when their own product became functionally worthless. Now they’re stuck in an arms race with every megacorporation in the world with a media division, and every single one of them has deeper pockets than Netflix. So enjoy the world you made, douchebags. It’s about to move on without you.

  83. That… also kind of tracks with the disproportionate amount of Dungeons and Dragons-style, Demons/monsters/werewolves/witches live amongst us basic nerdnip trash they seem to greenlight. Or, you know, they goldrushed to make everything comic-booky just like everyone else. Still, I like this take a lot!

  84. It’s remarkable how Netflix around 5 years ago had like 100 million subscribers paying $10/month. So 1 billion a month, $12 billion a year. All they had to do was make content for, sat, 10 billion or less. Instead they took out credit to spend $20 billion on content.

    And now they have more than twice as many subscribers worldwide and charge more monthly. Yet they’re still in the red. But people tell me I don’t understand business and should invest in crypto or NFTs or something.

    (The above is completely irrelevant to the point that if you have a big movie premiering on your service you should tell people. Disney doesn’t hide their Obi-Wan/Marvel shows and hope you just discover it.)

  85. And I swear their algorithm is worthless. It recommends things I have zero interest in and then I’ll stumble across something in my wheelhouse totally at random after it’s been out for months.

  86. They would never put Bojack Horseman on my Home Screen no matter how much I watched it.

    I just learned a new Kevin Hart movie drops tomorrow. Not that I’m a fan but that seems like a pretty big deal to have heard nothing about!

  87. Netflix’s biggest mistake was IMO betting all on in-house production and getting rid of most of their catalogue stuff. The big selling point for me was the chance to stream a whole bunch of classic movies. Sadly that never fully materialized in Germany. It was very difficult to find any kind of movie on there, that came out before 1985 and wasn’t on TV all the time anyway. But before they did a really good job with blocking VPNs, their American site had a whole bunch of shit that I always wanted to see and that was really hard to come by in Germany. Shit, they even had more classic German movies than the German site! But the last time I was able to check, which was long before every studio announced their own streamer, their catalogue got more and more replaced with their own productions.

    Sure, it probably would’ve happened anyway, with the streaming service explosion happening a bit later. But maybe…MAYBE…they could’ve convinced most studios to not open their own service and instead release things, especialyl the old catalogue titles exclusively with Netflix. At least that would’ve been my business plan.

    However, just like Fred, I don’t know shit about business either. I realized that when New Line Cinema went bankrupt, because one kids movie bombed just a few years after the motherfucking LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy became the biggest thing of the early 21st century.

  88. Also it’s indeed weird how Netflix stopped advertising their stuff. I used to be informed about all the new releases, just because of simple things like “Their Twitter account tweeted the trailer a few times”. But by now I am as clueless as the rest of you. It was Amazon, who fucked up their marketing with their “We advertise it a lot in the week before its release, then forget that it exists after the first weekend” strategy. But compared to Netflix ’22, this now seems like a brillant way to ruin things.

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