What else can he be?
I watched Top Gun: Maverick today. I had to. There was no choice.
I belong to the generation that grew up drooling over Maverick. Handsome Tom Cruise with his heart-stopping smile, that bike speeding as the Sun sets, racing against a fighter craft, men in smart uniforms and aviators, what’s not to fall in love?
And that bloody, goose-bumpy Top Gun Anthem. Uff!
I went in with zero expectations. I came out pretty pleased! I went with 5 others and all of us rated it 8 on 10!! That must say something!
Tom Cruise looks old. Luckily I expected that, so I wasn’t that shattered. Also, I told my erratic heart that I have grown old too over the last 30-odd years. Please don’t do any math. I am old. Having grown old alongside Tom Cruise, it is ok for my heart to still flutter when I see him on screen. Oh, and his smile hasn’t changed.
As for the story — there is a target to be destroyed because it contains an unsanctioned uranium plant. Obviously, the mission is fraught with danger and looks like a mission impossible. But we know Tom Cruise is a pro at impossible missions. He is brought back to Top Gun after 30 years to train the top Top Guns to fulfill this mission.
To add a twist, one of the pilots he has to train is the son of his best buddy, Goose who was killed in Top Gun 1. Maverick carries the guilt of Goose’s death. There’s some baggage to be sorted between Maverick and Rooster (Goose’s son). Val Kilmer makes an appearance as Ice from Top Gun 1. It was good to see him. He still has that spark in his eyes!
There is no sign of Kelly McGillis from Top Gun 1. Just as well. I was way too jealous of her. Instead, we have Penny. She looks good. Maybe age has made me mature. I was able to handle Maverick’s apparent affection for Penny.
As expected, Maverick becomes the team leader of the Top Gun squad and brings everyone home safe after a successful mission. That’s the long and short of the plot.
I didn’t watch because I cared about the plot. Give me any plot with the words Top Gun in it and I will still be equally gaga. I went for Maverick. I think we all crave maverick-ism. This movie caters to that hidden need.
I got everything I wanted and more. The opening sequence played Danger Zone. I got my money back.
The Top Gun Anthem played at various times during the movie. That was enough to cause a fresh breakout of goosebumps each time.
I don’t speak the language of planes and fighter aircraft. I can’t tell an F-14 from an F-16 from an XYZ-440! But I can drool at the sexy-looking aircraft. My pulse races when the fire burns out of the back of the place. I was on the edge of the seat when Maverick hit Mach 9. I clapped when he was racing towards Mach 10. I said ‘oh shit’ when he recklessly crossed Mach 10.1.
Well, of course, the film had cliches. But I want those cliches. I paid for the cliches. I want Maverick to be reckless. I want to see good-looking guys with 6-pack abs playing beach volleyball or whatever it is they played, as long as it was shirtless. I want a little insubordination and gallons of indomitable spirit.
I want drama with a touch of reality. I want the adrenalin rush of tense moments knowing full well it will end well. I want romance against the backdrop of missiles, sexy planes, and California sunsets. I like how they chose to show the love angle between Maverick and Penny in a mature way. It was graceful and beautiful.
Maverick checked all the boxes. Well — maybe except one tiny box that I missed a lot. I wish they had somehow worked in Take My Breath Away. That would have made it complete.
Oh dear! I made the mistake of watching the video of Take My Breath Away now, and everything I loved about Top Gun (I mean Tom Cruise, of course) came rushing back. I guess I’ll have to go back and watch part 1 again right away. Gotto go, bye!