The Top Gun Maverick can only begin with an unexpected realization: Joseph Kosinski and his team did a great job, making the perfect sequel 36 years after the cult original with Tom Cruise.
Tony Scott's film, which made history by becoming a fundamental piece not only of American mythology but also of a certain way of narrating the Reaganian United States, finds in its sequel the perfect fulfillment of what is Pete's human and heroic parable " Maverick ”Mitchell. Tom Cruise returns to interpret the top gun who, many years after his first adventure, finds himself exactly where we left him, more or less.
|Top Gun: Maverick|
The plot of Top Gun: Maverick
Became a ship captain (a paltry career advancement for such a gifted pilot), Maverick is a test pilot of ultra-tech secret aircraft and fails to unlock the "admiral level" due to his indomitable character and his need for freedom that, far from hierarchies and obligations, she leads him to do the only thing he really loves: flying. However, an unexpected call from above forces him to return to the body of the Top Gun, to stay on the other side of the fence; this time Maverick will have to teach his young heirs, the best of the best, to carry out a seemingly impossible mission against an unnamed enemy that absolutely must be stopped.
Pete does not feel very much like a teacher or a mentor, however, among the young top guns entrusted to him, there is also Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, son of Goose and whom Maverick tries to protect and "grow" even by intervening in his career. At that point, our hero can no longer refuse the call, but something in him must change to allow young people to learn to fly on their own (literally). Maverick must learn to let go of the past.
A modern and mature blockbuster
Top Gun: Maverick is a modern, mature, intelligent blockbuster. It is to all intents and purposes a nostalgia operation, which evokes all the imagery of the original film, from the photographic cut to the iconic soundtrack, passing through that epic of the man who exceeds his own limits so dear to the cinema of the years' 80 and constitutive of the career of Tom Cruise himself. A work of intelligent and careful recounting, which re-proposes the tropes of the old, transforming them into ideas to update the conversation today. The result is very close to what, again with great surprise, was archived by Ghostbusters: Legacy.
Irony as a narrative tool
The primary tool with which this result is achieved is the skillful use of irony: a world where elite pilots take themselves too seriously, and so the joke, the funny moment, the irony would no longer be appropriate to the times. it intervenes in every moment in which the pathos could take over, in a punctual, precise, extremely balanced, and well-calibrated way.
A case in point is the short but exciting scene in which Tom "Iceman" Kazinsky appears: Maverick's nemesis, who however managed to fit into the system enough to become an admiral and protect, from afar and for all those years, his hothead friend, he is sick, but he asks for a meeting and here he talks to Pete, asking him to embrace the mission for which he was chosen since he is the only one who can do it. And just when the atmosphere becomes too charged with emotion, a joke breaks the tension and makes the spectator and the characters breathe again.
Let go of the past
Also in this scene lies another fundamental point of the film, namely the confrontation with the past, and the ability to let it go. The greatest challenge of the hero in Top Gun: Maverick is precisely to let go of the past, the traumas, the mistakes, the regrets, and to live in the present, while the future, in the form of Goose and the other pilots, unrolls in front of his eyes.
The time between the original film and Top Gun: Maverick can also be quantified in the technical process. The film directed by Kosinski is capable of technical moments of the highest level, and the aerial battles, the adrenaline heart of the story, are a moment of pure entertainment, which justify aloud the need for the room to continue to exist as a place dedicated to that kind of show, to that kind of pure enjoyment for the viewer.
An "old" love story
Totally accessories and "old" is the romantic storyline with the character played by Jennifer Connelly. From the choice of lines for them to recite to how the two lovers are framed, the whole plot of love is just an excuse to tell the protagonist that there is more out of the cockpit of her plane. She serves her purpose, but she does it with laziness, without benefiting from the work of readjusting to the modern language that the whole film is successfully subjected to.
Top Gun: Maverick, or "the cult of personality"
If Top Gun: Maverick has one flaw, it feeds, once again, the myth of superman Tom Cruise. The story serves his character, the stunts help Cruise who has the chance, once again, to spread the wings of his ego and show it to the plethora of his adoring fans. There does not seem to be the passing of the baton as happened with Sylvester Stallone for Creed, but a continuous need for the heroic figure who, despite his human fallacy, never falters on board an airplane and is always, even in the face of the new one that advances, the key to resolving the situation.
At the end of the story, Rooster, Hangman, Phoenix, and the others aren't the future yet, but they're Maverick's second. A cult of the person who overshadows the value of history.