‘Top Gun: Maverick’ or — I Feel the Need, the Need for Touching Sensitivity?
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ (2022) is a radically simple movie — Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) must train some pilots to recreate the ending of ‘Star Wars’ (1977) by getting them to practice recreating the ending of ‘Star Wars’ (1977) until they can recreate the ending of ‘Star Wars’ (1977). And that’s it. Thank you and good night!
Okay sure, I guess there’s some emotional tension going on because one of the pilots, who is cos-playing as his own dad, is annoyed at Maverick because he blames Maverick for his dad being dead and if Maverick hadn’t done that then this pilot could’ve grown a different moustache instead but, apart from that, it’s about simply recreating ‘Star Wars’ (1977) in order to recreate ‘Star Wars’ (1977).
The politics are simple. So simple in fact that it’s deliberately not clear who the actual enemy is here meaning the film inadvertently portrays America as a psychotic nation that constantly needs to lash out and launch unprovoked attacks on unknown, innocent countries.
The characters themselves are also simple, so simple that we only get to know them by their call signs — Yeastbastard, Toenail, Fud-Boy, Turdblaster and Splank.
Maverick himself is also extraordinarily simple. He’s simple to the point of not being able to comprehend a single instruction anyone gives him and, instead, simply wanders about smiling and doing his own thing in the end regardless whilst giving his pupils the incredibly simple-minded, and potentially dangerous, advice of “Don’t think”.
So here we have a movie that purely consists of not thinking, making America look nut-case insane and recreating the end of ‘Star Wars’ (1977). And it’s surprisingly okay!
The super-streamlined (non-existent) plot of continuously recreating the end of ‘Star Wars’ (1977) on a loop means ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is really easy to follow (you’d have to be a certified idiot to get lost during this movie) and provides plenty of room for the flying sequences, all of which are seriously impressive.
Another bonus is that it’s screamingly obvious that as much of the jingoistic flag-waving, testosterone spraying, alpha-male, Neo-Con bollocks of the original has been dialed WAY back and replaced with a refreshing sensitivity and reasonableness, possibly because the filmmakers knew they were making a movie where America behaves like a compulsive, violent, batshit maniac so had to bend over backwards to counteract all this. Still, the replacement of excessive macho-posturing with this more mature and tender vibe was appreciated.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ has some issues purely by the nature of what it is and about but the crisp and clear cinematography is excellent, the sound design suitably beefy and even Cruise himself is perfectly watchable whilst the clarity of plot, impressive action and obvious attempts to ameliorate as much jingoism as possible means it’s, by far, the more mature, human and touching film compared to the original. It’s like ‘633 Squadron’ (1964) with hugs.