There has been rumblings and rumors regarding a Top Gun sequel going about for a few years now. Finally, like a confirmatory last nail in the coffin, Tom Cruise posted the above photo to his social media accounts with the hashtag “Day1”. Earlier this week Val Kilmer was confirmed to return as Ice Man. The only thing missing from this bundle of amazing news is a flyover of fighter jets. However, a week has passed and I can’t help but to have concerns.
Should we be Excited or Scared?
I can’t even begin to describe the excitement and dread I hold for this long awaited sequel. Top Gun is hands down the best military jock movie of all time. I think it would be a safe bet to assume that countless numbers of Naval and Air Force Aviators were inspired by the original, which came out in 1986. Yes, it was that long ago. You can feel old now, but so what, live it up and rock out to some Kenny Loggins, Cheap Trick, and the Top Gun Anthem.
The excitement comes from the mere fact that the Top Gun was awesome, and, so far, both Tom Cruise (Maverick) and Val Kilmer (Ice Man) are confirmed to return for the sequel. The dread comes from the fear that the modern Hollywood PC politics will water down the jock culture and military brotherhood that added so much insight into what life in the military is really like.
I watched the original Top Gun for what seems like the five hundredth time before writing this. There is definitely a lot of jokes and scenes that might be considered too edgy for the modern audience. I don’t think it is possible to write a GOOD script for a realistic fiction military movie with military life insight if the edginess gets tossed out the window. For that I have two reasons: first, the original showed how the folks in the school, instructors, and the section/team/squad interacted with each other; second, if these interactions are absent, most fans and every former service member, especially those inspired by the original, is going to walk away from the film feeling like there is a giant chunk of substance missing from the film.
The 1986 Top Gun was made at the tail end of the Cold War, and while the theme of the movie was centered around a group of pilots and their navigators training at the United States Navy Striker Fighter Tactics Instructor program (popularly known as Top Gun), the movie begins and ends with US Naval Aviators in conflict with Soviet Russian Aviators. Both the beginning and ending scene conflicts end with US victory, so there is a bit of USA pride thrown in there.
The current events in today’s world still have us seeing some naval tensions between Russia and the United States. Are we going to see these tensions written into the script, or will the new movie solely focus on the fighter pilot school?
All in all, this is just food for thought. Hopefully Top Gun: Maverick lives up to its namesake, and I’m just being a Debbie Downer.