Aleasha Hintz — Staff Writer
Sometimes, movies are popular for a reason, and I think Top Gun: Maverick is a prime example of this. This is one film that deserved the hype it got, unlike some other big box movie franchises (I’m looking at you Marvel), but that’s a topic for another day.
I am going to be honest: I did not have high expectations when I went to watch this movie. I had seen the original Top Gun, and while I did enjoy it, it really did not stick out to me. I found it a bit one-dimensional. There’s a shooting scene, followed by “The Volleyball scene,” another shooting scene, a sex scene, and then Goose dies. Unfortunately, this is all I remember from the original Top Gun, it just was not my thing.
Top Gun: Maverick however, managed to keep everything people loved about the original Top Gun, threw in a few nostalgic Easter eggs, raised the stakes, and introduced a slightly more universal plot line. I know I’m going to hurt some purists when I say this: but I believe this sequel was decidedly better than the original.
My favorite Easter egg was the scene that played with the opening credits. I had to pause and think about if I was watching the right movie. It is the same opening scene as in the original — a great artistic choice. It gets the watchers in the right frame of mind for the movie, and it introduces all that sweet, sweet nostalgia. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
After that, we learn Maverick has not changed. He still buzzes the tower, still takes cocky risks, and is still getting in trouble with his superiors. Maverick seems to have pulled his last stunt, but because of an incredibly well-timed call from Iceman, he gets one more chance. He returns to Top Gun, but not doing what he expected. Instead of being asked to fly a mission, he is asked to teach it.
To make things more complicated, Goose’s son Bradley Bradshaw, call sign Rooster, is one of the students called back to Top Gun. This raises complicated feelings for Maverick, who experiences a bit of survivors’ guilt from Goose’s death and protectiveness over Rooster. Rooster feels bitter towards Maverick, who was responsible a four-year delay in his career.
Throughout the film, the relationship between Maverick and Rooster heals and develops until we arrive at an incredibly satisfying, full circle ending. Meanwhile, the plot line of Maverick becoming a teacher, pushing his students, fighting for them, then leading them through mission-impossible provides plenty of action for movie-goers.
On a more personal note, I want to mention that I got a little lost in all the aviation talk of the original Top Gun. It’s great for people who love aviation, but as a civilian watcher, it just didn’t work for me. Introducing the plot with Rooster early in the film helped to ground me in between all the fighter pilot lingo.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and I can see why it appeals to so many people. If you are like me and never got around to seeing the film this summer, make this movie a priority watch. Don’t think. Just do.