By Ethan Hoffman and Evan Heins-- Eagle Staff Writer
36 years ago, the first Top Gun film, starring a young Tom Cruise, hit the big screen with immediate success. The movie drew in around $350 million at the box office and was considered an instant classic by many.
The first movie's success would not be reattempted until about a year ago when the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick hit theaters.
Maverick drew in more than a billion dollars for Paramount Pictures and has attained some recent buzz around the area. Alongside being added to streaming services, the FCHS History Club held a fundraiser on Friday the 27th, showing the film in the Ramsey Auditorium for students to watch.
With this recent buzz surrounding the franchise of Top Gun, we figured it would be the perfect time to review Top Gun: Maverick.
The original Top Gun film was directed by Tony Scott, who unfortunately passed away in 2012. Tasked with finding a new director for the sequel that had been toyed with for years, it was Joseph Kosinski who received the role.
Kosinksi had previously worked with Top Gun frontman Tom Cruise for the 2012 film Oblivion. It’s believed that it was Cruise who chose Kosinski for the director’s chair, but those rumors have not been confirmed.
Cruise is likely why a sequel hadn’t happened sooner than it did, stating in a rare interview that he was worried that a 2nd film would glorify war. Kosinski believes it was Cruise’s competitiveness and desire to tell a story he relates to as the main reason Cruise changed his mind. “It’s a film about competition and friendship and sacrifice. It was never a film about war … He had the desire to tell an emotive story about a guy in his 50s.” Kosinski told theguardian.com
The movie starts with Cruise’s character Pete “Maverick” Mitchell as a test pilot for the US Navy, 30 years after graduating from Top Gun.
While Maverick is just a test pilot, his rival from the first movie, Tom “Iceman” Kazansky is the Pacific Fleet Commander. Kazansky constantly protects Maverick from being let go as a middle-aged test pilot that is a waste to the military.
Maverick’s passion project, the ‘Darkstar” scramjet program, is threatened to be canceled for investment in new military drones. To impress the higher-ups and keep the “Darkstar” project alive, Maverick pushes past Mach 9 and 10- destroying the prototype and essentially his career alongside.
In a ploy to save his career, Kazansky sends Maverick back to Top Gun Flight School, 30 years after his original stint at the school. Maverick has to deal with the task of saving his career in a day and age where human-controlled aircraft are a rarity in the military.
Maverick’s job at Top Gun is to train a new set of pilots who will take part in a strike against an illegal uranium enrichment plant. The goal is to hit the plant before it gets up and running, but the plant is heavily defended by GPS jammers and older fighter jets.
One of the pilots in the “elite group” of pilots Maverick had to train is the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, Maverick’s fallen best friend. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw is constantly targeted and yelled at by Maverick for being “too safe of a flyer”, whilst Rooster was clearly not a fan of Maverick’s attitude.
Maverick’s 2nd stint at Top Gun is nearly cut short. In the middle of his time at the school, Kazansky shockingly passes away of throat cancer, leaving Maverick’s entire career up in jeopardy.
After an incident where a jet is lost during a lesson, newly appointed commander, Beau “Cyclone” Simpson relives Maverick of his duties as instructor. In protest, Maverick takes an unauthorized flight around the school, showing that the difficult course he created is possible to complete. Maverick is reluctantly re-hired as Cyclone couldn’t find anyone else to teach the class.
The climax of the movie is the final battle scene, where the newly trained groups of pilots alongside Maverick strike the uranium enrichment plant. During the battle, Rooster’s jet runs out of countermeasures for the plants’ attacks. In an attempt to save Rooster, Maverick sacrifices his plane.
Just when it seems over for Maverick, ejected and targeted by an attack helicopter, Rooster defies orders to save Maverick.
Top Gun: Maverick was a massive success for fans and critics, receiving a sizable 96% on the highly respected website, rottentomatoes.com. It seems, as of now, the Top Gun franchise is over with no realistic future plans for a 3rd film.