Thoughts on Top Gun: Maverick

Is it finally okay to say that Tom Cruise is the best action star of all time? I’ve been waiting this long. I can wait longer. Let me know when everybody finally gets there.

I’ve spoken about the legacy sequel craze before and every time I come into one I always wonder how they’re going to treat the original body of work. There’s a scene in which Tom Cruise’s character Maverick explains that he’s not a guy who is a fighter pilot, he is just a fighter pilot. That’s him all the way down to the double helix. In 1986 that’s all you need from your action star but in 2022, especially in a military movie, there has to be more. Unfortunately, the movie never quite makes it to where I would like it to go (sans one part.) Watching Cruise bounce around in a F-18 and also forcing his co-stars to do the same is just so much fun. The movie is light and breezy, and we never stick with one thing for too long. It’s a great time!

Then, all of a sudden, we get this scene with Val Kilmer. All of this dumb tongue-in-cheek machismo and Raytheon shoutouts melt away and we just see two friends coming to terms with a world that won’t stop changing. It hit me like a ton of bricks and it was completely out of nowhere. They embrace and the text on the computer blinks “You need to let go.” Let go of what exactly? The past or maybe the future. It’s all unclear but you have to try and let go.

An incredibly tender and thoughtful moment that I desperately hope isn’t the last time I see Val Kilmer on screen.

The McGuffin mission is a success and there’s some actually good chemistry between Cruise and Miles Teller in the last half hour of the film that I wish I was able to see more of earlier, but it’s always better late than never.

I don’t have much more to say about this. Fuck Scientology and long live Val Kilmer.

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