02 July 2022 10:00
A grotesque pop culture phenomenon such as Top gun: Maverick?
It seems that everyone is conquered by it. Its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival ended with one standing ovation five minutes. He is breaking box office records. It was enthusiastically received by almost all major film critics. And no doubt it is well on its way to generating an even more military “recruiting boom” than the first Top gun of 1986. Which is not surprising: the Pentagon worked closely with the film’s producers and invested a lot of resources in the two Top gun.
And now show business reporters are dreading the possibility of awarding an Oscar to Top gun: Maverick. It’s not just about nominations for the editing, the sound, the sound effects and the original song, all of which the Top gun 86 had received. Now there is talk of best film and best actor for the eternal star Tom Cruise, or at least an honorary Oscar for his career, probably for saving Hollywood.
Perhaps it is necessary to underline that the first Top gun was it a ridiculous shit? Was it integral to the insane military architecture of the Ronald Reagan administration and the aggressive war policies of the 1980s? Or that in a 1990 interview, pretending to know nothing of the US Navy’s obviously use of the film, Tom Cruise rejected the idea of ever being able to make a sequel? Cruise: Okay, it seemed to some that Top gun was a right-wing film promoting the United States Navy. And many guys loved it. But I want the kids to know that war is not like that, that Top gun it was just an amusement park thing, a fun, no-nonsense movie that didn’t pretend to be reality. For this I stopped and I did not Top gun 2, 3, 4 and 5. It would have been irresponsible ”.
But that was the past, and this is the present: Tom Cruise is about to turn sixty and wants to be a star forever. And so a sequel to Top Gun it seemed like a good idea, not only for him, but for the entire film industry as well, desperate for a way to bring audiences back to theaters en masse. The result is Top gun: Maverickinfamous and idiotic like the first film, but more elegant, better edited, with more compelling action scenes and flooded with tears of nostalgia for the eighties, when Hollywood was booming and “It’s Morning in America” (it’s morning in the United States) was a Reagan-coined slogan that people really believed.
Of course, it wasn’t morning. It was a dark twilight with intense acid rain pouring down. And today is midnight, and here we go again with someone else Top gun. The new film, however, is in some ways even more ridiculous than the first, something I didn’t think was possible.
It looks like Cruise insisted on having Val Kilmer in the sequel, and make a great tearjerking reunion scene possible.
At the center of the story is Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a US Navy test pilot who doesn’t want to abide by the rules, and for that reason never gets promoted, despite his many decorations and superhuman qualities. We first see him in what appears to be his personal hangar as he pats his plane. Then he reaches the living room installed right next to the plane – chairs, table, Turkish carpet and all the furnishings of domestic life – so much so that it seems that he has married his plane to him, or at least that they are living together in a loving relationship and committed.
Then there are the usual problems with naval leaders who can’t stand the fact that Maverick doesn’t follow the rules. Rear Admiral Ed Harris first – hey Ed, weren’t you a leftist or something? – and then Vice Admiral Jon Hamm trying to punish Maverick and stop him from flying. But they can’t put Maverick on the sidelines forever, as long as his friend, Admiral Val Kilmer aka Iceman, protects him.
It appears that Tom Cruise insisted that Val Kilmer be given the chance to return in the sequel, thus making possible a big tearful reunion scene midway through the film with the character of Iceman, who in one of the highlights of the film. Top gun original, adoringly said to Maverick: “You can be my shoulder at any time.” If you have seen the autobiographical documentary Valdo you know that Val Kilmer is in dire shape from throat cancer, and that he has continued to earn money for many years after the pinnacle of his career by attending lectures and events of nostalgic film buffs, endlessly signing old posters of Top gun with the aforementioned phrase that every male admirer asks him to write: “You can be my shoulder at any time”.
Which is heartwarming, but in an entirely different way, because Kilmer was a talented actor, and it’s a shame that he too ended up in the trap of eighties nostalgia, to be remembered mostly in his little vain driver role. Well, at least he’ll get a big paycheck from Top gun: Maverick.
While the vision of Top gun: Maverick it gave me an old tic in my eyes, I wondered if I am the only one, in this era of remakes, to fear the increasing interest in the films of the eighties, beyond the sequels of Uncontrollable paranormal phenomena, Dune, Blade runner, Ghostbusters e Mad Max or of the funeral march of Batman e Star wars. I wondered if there must be a wave of nostalgia for the eighties, after that for the fifties, two of the most disgusting decades in the United States, in which much of our downfall has been decreed.
But, as I wrote, the enthusiasm and applause aimed at Top gun: Maverick they nullify any doubts or objections.
Meanwhile, some other plot elements: Maverick gets into enough trouble to be sent to the training school for “top gun” as a teacher, a job he does not want and for which he is not qualified, but which he manages to perform brilliantly. He must train a team of the best of the best to fly on a mission that is so impossible it is incredibly comical. The mission is to attack a nameless country, detonate its uranium supplies before they can become weapons, and fly away before enemies can strike back. Every aspect of the mission calls for the kind of absurd and supernatural heroism that underlies the image of Tom Cruise. Except that in this movie Tom has a crew of mini-Cruises who all have to follow his example in order to perform miracles themselves.
It goes without saying that no one cares in any way about the geopolitical aspects of the story, the validity or otherwise of intelligence information, the risk of starting a war and so on. The biggest concern is to know who among the young aces of flight stalking like “Hangman”, “Warlock” or “Payback” will be among the few chosen to participate in the mission, and especially if among them there will be “Rooster” (Miles Teller), son of “Goose” (Anthony Edwards) who died saving Maverick in the first Top gun.
As could be expected, Top gun: Maverick wants to satisfy the most ardent admirers, recreating many of the absolutely terrible scenes and moments of the first film. There is the opening scene of the planes illuminated by the sun and treated with reverence by some stout soldiers to the tune of Danger zone. Instead of a homoerotic bond during a beach volleyball game, in the sequel there is a homoerotic bond during a beach soccer game, with two women inserted into the film, but with no connection to the story. Thirty-six years later Maverick still wears his aviator goggles and leather jacket, and rides his Kawasaki Ninja GPZ900R motorcycle to his future girlfriend’s house, only Kelly McGillis is no longer playing her. As McGillis herself noted, “I’m old, fat and look age-appropriate,” and so there was no way she’d be invited to participate.
On the other hand, a lean and glamorous Jennifer Connelly is available to provide the sentimental equivalent. The actress pairs well with Cruise. They both have a skin-tight, gymnastic, freeze-dried look and covered in masses of artificially tousled hair. Both are believable as sexy forties, with artful makeup and good lighting – the conditions in which much of the film takes place. In the final scene, he comes out to hug her, while she is lying next to a silver vintage Porsche, speciously luxurious and never seen before in the film, but which must be there to remind fans of the black vintage Porsche driven by Maverick’s girlfriend. in the first movie. Connelly and Cruise seem to be made to act together in a car commercial.
But let’s leave aside the car commercials, for which director Joseph Kosinski is highly qualified after those of video games Halo 3 e Gears of war. Kosinski proved up to the task, shooting a very long and eventful military recruiting commercial. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to beat the 500 percent increase in the recruitment of Navy Airmen, generated by the first Top gun: “’The movie came out on Friday and we haven’t seen a huge increase yet just because it’s the weekend,’ noted Navy recruiter Lt. Caitlin Bryant. ‘But we can’t wait to find out.’ Bryant says there was a noticeable increase even after the trailer came out. ”
(Translation by Federico Ferrone)