Top Gun it is not just a film, but a precise way of thinking about cinema. Released in 1986, the second feature film by Tony Scott wrote the history of the cult of the Seventh Art, perhaps among the fastest titles to rise to such a status, immediate, reasoned, pressing, full of heart and vision. He cleared the talent of the younger Scott in a difficult and all-encompassing directorial test, forever stealing the heart of the fantastic ’80s generation and growing that of the’ 90s with the myth of beauty and speed, embodied on the big screen by a then very young Tom Cruise . A product aged as well as its protagonist, with legs still strong and a hardened body despite the evident wrinkles of time. A reckless and exciting filmTop Gun, even if the technology of the times and the structural limitations of the project did not allow the director or the actor to really gain altitude with the fantastic F-14s, arranging between studio reconstructions and detailed shots of routine maneuvers and stunts, including the spectacular take-offs from military aircraft carriers.
Now, 36 years after that title that rightfully belongs to the Olympus of the unforgettable, Tom Cruise returns to play the role of the irreducible Pete Mithcell, in a sequel dedicated to precisely that way of thinking about cinema shaped over time by the performer himself, by his stainless temper, by an impressive mix of stubbornness and starpower. And the truth is that Top Gun: Maverick is one of the best “nostalgic” sequels ever to hit theaters so farwith something to tell and a sense of adrenaline to be experienced only and exclusively on the largest of screens possible (it is no coincidence that Top Gun Mavericks was also promoted by Hideo Kojima).
Back to school
It seemed impossible to replicate without imitating step by step the atmospheres and cinematic depth of one of the most beloved cult of all time, yet Paramount Pictures, Joseph Kosinski and of course Cruise have succeeded, creating a feature film that is the son of our times but with an eye to a glorious and alluring past.
In fact, the pilot loses his fur but not his vice, allowing the viewer to instantly recognize the indomitable character of Mitchell, who has become a multi-decorated ship captain and still in love with airplanes and adrenaline. Needless to say, when he disobeys a direct order from his superior, Maverick is forced to return to TOPGUN, the combat school for the best pilots in the US Navy, this time as a teacher. His task is to train and then choose six students for an almost impossible mission, “from two miracles in one”, having to face in the meantime the difficult relationship with Goose’s son, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshawand gradually discovering himself wiser in his unattainable and charismatic temerity.
This is the whole narrative soul of the sequel, partly written (or re-written) by the companion cruisiano McQuarrie, who plays a clear and intelligent concept of reference to the first chapteror, wisely taking its wake, supporting it in the psychological construction of relationships – including the inevitable clichés – and finally overcoming it without any hesitation in cinematic innovation. A merit that goes first to the production control of Cruise, in its far-sighted and clean way, then to the dialogues created by McQuarrie, Ehren Kruger ed Eric Warren Singerand finally to the chosen protagonists, capable of perfectly embodying the roles of the new TOPGUN elite.
Aside from Cruise’s constant presence, Maverick is basically a choral film, a tug of war between character actors to win the audience one scene after another, between the arrogant bully (the Hangman Glen Powell), the only badass woman of the group (“Phoenix”, with the face of Monica Barbaro), the introverted but biting Bob (a credible Lewis Pullman) and Rooster. To step into the shoes of the latter is there congratulations Miles Tellerconceptual and psychological crasis between Goose and Maverick, for physique-du-role and performance.
Also worth mentioning is the role of a sort of alternative “Viper” played by Jon Hamm and Mithcell’s love interest, Penny, embodied by a splendid Jennifer Connelly, partly inspired by the “Charlie“by Kelly McGills, unfortunately absent in the sequel – without particular specific weight on the plot. There are also touching surprises (did someone say Val” Iceman “Kilmer?), as well as fundamental and very exciting are the themes of loss, inheritance and of rebirth, as if it were a therapeutic path for two opposite generations you start from different extremes to rejoin and finally understand each other.
Need for speed
Net of a lot of melancholy goodness and writing, especially for a 1920s blockbuster who desperately wants to dress in Eightiesthe truth is that to elevate above so many industry competitors Top Gun: Maverick is the courage of technical virtuositythe spectacular action and the dynamism of sequences and shots, something truly unique and never experienced before.
Without hiding it, this is the real highlight of the sequel, the ratio principal of existence of a continuation linked by double rope to the technological evolution and madness of a production subjected to the swagger and sine qua non of Cruise. Focusing on the end of the era of dogfight and the beginning of that of drones, both in content and in the visual aspect the film focuses on the irreplaceable nature of pilots and the human element within fighter jets. Thus it opens gracefully to narration in action, literally placing Cruise and his supporting actors inside the cockpits of the F-18s of the Navy, who at the same time become interpreters and directors, having to manage the very cinematographic structure of the action in flight. . It is something tangible and evident, between distorting pressure and gravity and the roar of engines and shattered walls of sound that shatter the room, meanwhile addicted to so much spectacularity. In imitating with extreme respect the initial mood conceived at the time by Tony Scott, Kosinki and Cruise offer a captivating and visually superlative opening sequence, from Mach 10 filmographic, with a penetrating and overwhelming musical crescendo (excellent compositions by Harold Faltermeyer e Hans Zimmer).
In the desire to remember the structure of the first Top Gun is barely repeated, then moving in a much more reckless and exciting direction in an imaginative sense. The training is a succession of reckless maneuvers and teachings at the limits of the plausible, with an amused Tom Cruise and always in part, still perfect, still Maverick in all respects. But it is in the final forty minutes that the film perhaps gives its best, raising the very sense of cinema with dedication and an action storytellig among the best ever seen in the genre, bringing us to live a disarming, tense and extraordinary impact experienceat times unexpected and of sincere excitement, touching passion.
It is astonishing and alienating the emotional and visceral effect that an action in flight conceived and packaged so well can have on the heart and head of the spectator, both cinephile and fan. Something to experience live, indescribable. And net of some extension in the simple intertwining, in an almost standardized repetition of events (where relationships and actions are key to the success of the whole), Top Gun: Maverick manages to repeat the miracle accomplished with modernity, respect and care in 86 by Tony Scott: propose a unique and innovative way of making cinema.