4.5 out of 5 stars
Top Gun can conjure up different emotions and images for people. For those who grew up in the 80s, this was one of those films that defined an era.
You can still hear one-liners from those adrenaline-filled moments being expressed by fans worldwide. These words have even managed to infiltrate future generations, though they may not completely understand the context or significance. Yet, this film was a phenomenon that has remained in the social conscience for three decades and now returns to see if it can buzz the tower one more time.
After all of the events at the conclusion of the original, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) has remained one of the US Navy’s most decorated pilots over his 30-year career. Still, he has remained a Captain instead of rising through the military ranks like many of his colleagues. This is due to the pilot’s disregard for authority and his desire to be on aeronautics’ cutting edge. Until he pushes the limits one too many times and is set to be pulled from his role as a test pilot. It is at this moment that he gets the call to return to the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) to instruct the next generation of flyers.
Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer) asks his friend to help train a small team that have been earmarked for a special mission behind enemy lines. Even though Maverick does not see himself as a teacher, he reluctantly takes on this new role. Some of his reservations come since one of the students is Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller). This young and talented pilot happens to be Mav’s late best friend “Goose” Bradshaw’s son. He is a confident aviator who has issues with his father’s friend and former flying partner. Along with this challenge, the senior pilot is confronted with another blast from his past, the beautiful bar owner, Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly).
Many will ask from the outset if they need to see the original from director Tony Scott and the answer would be, ‘What do you mean you haven’t seen Top Gun?’ Even though it does highlight everything good and bad that defined 80s cinema, it is a classic that needs to be viewed for this next chapter to make any sense. Since Joseph Kosinski’s version of this franchise leans heavily on the nostalgic elements of this Tom Cruise defining moment with an unapologetic vigor. This aspect will draw the original fans back to theatres by giving a glimpse back to a different era of the world.
Yet, do not think this is merely a flight back in time. For every reflective element, there are multiple references to modern society. Albeit it all exists within the military context, this story shows how the world has changed over the decades and still remains the same, too. They do this by piecing together the whole storyline with some of the best action and flying sequences ever seen in movies. Complemented by an outstanding cast of veterans and young talent, where each of the performances add to the exhilarating action sequences. It is hard to imagine that this film was meant to be released three years ago and was kept from cinemas until now. Instead of going stale, it has managed to ruminate over the past COVID-infused years and come out smelling robustly effervescent.
There was no way to predict what things would occur in the world that would fuel the hype behind this military-driven flight path, but it seems like a tale for the times. As the Second Cold War looms ahead, Top Gun: Maverick has been launched at a perfect time to answer the fears of many. Admittedly, this is a fictional saga with a nameless enemy. Still, it will not be hard for viewers to connect the dots and cheer for this mission to succeed.
REEL DIALOGUE: How far are you willing to go to forgive?
“You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.”
Where is your limit for forgiveness? One would think that the tension between Maverick and Rooster is due to the death of Goose, but it is something else entirely different. Yet, both situations cause a certain level of forgiveness to occur in their relationship.
On-screen relationships begin to show how far people are willing to push to the edges of forgiveness. Two things to consider in this discussion are the limit of forgiveness and why we should forgive. It can be said that resentment only hurts the one that holds onto it. The Bible has much to say on this topic. This might be an excellent place to start when considering forgiveness and film.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15.
Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum & Reel Dialogue.
Feature image: Movie Stills
About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.